Without knowing what free agency holds, it is safe to assume that at this point in time the New York Jets will be targeting a wide receiver in the first round of the draft. Sammy Watkins, Marqise Lee and Mike Evans are the clear top three prospects at the position, but there is a very real possibility that all of those players will be gone by the time the Jets pick at No. 18. Luckily, there is a very deep and talented second tier of receivers, with as many as seven receivers who could go by the end of the second round. The first of those we will evaluate is Fresno State star Davante Adams.
Adams decided to enter the NFL draft after two wildly productive seasons in Fresno State’s pass heavy offense. Adams caught 102 passes for 1,312 yards and 14 TDs as a redshirt freshman, then followed that up with a ridiculous sophomore year that saw him record 131 receptions for 1,718 yards and 24 TDs. Obviously Adams’ production needs to be taken with a grain of salt because of the offense he played in, but you don’t score 24 touchdowns by accident or luck.
Adams has good size at 6’2″, 212 lbs, and he uses it well to box out defenders and make plays in the air. Adams is a good route runner, but he will need some time to polish his precision at the NFL level. Adams has good quickness in and out of cuts, and his physical style helps him create separation. Adams also has very good hands, and he never had a problem with drops despite the absurd number of targets he received in college.
If there is one knock on Adams, it’s his speed. Adams has average at best speed for an NFL receiver, and his 40 time at the combine will have a huge impact on his draft status. 40 time is wildly overrated as an evaluation tool, but NFL teams still want to see if Adams has the straight line speed to make plays down the field in the pros. If he can run in the high 4.4 range, Adams should be a solid late first round pick.
If the top receivers are off the board, Adams could be someone the Jets are very interested in. His route running and hands make him a good fit for the Jets, as they need a No. 1 receiver Geno Smith can rely on. The Jets might try to trade down and target Adams in that scenario, or they could just take him at No. 18. Adams could develop into a Marques Colston type player at the next level, and that would easily give the Jets the best player they’ve had a receiver in a long time. The Jets are not going to target Adams ahead of the top three receivers, but he would be an excellent backup plan.