The New York Jets drafted both Jalen Saunders and Shaq Evans in the fourth round in order to deepen a subpar receiving corps. With the additions of Eric Decker and Jacoby Ford, the depth chart already looks 10 times better than last year.
However, the Jets and the fanbase want a receiver who is homegrown and can come through to stand out as a top receiver in the league. The New York Giants found that receiver a few years ago when they came across a diamond in the rough in Victor Cruz during preseason, and he ultimately made his way to a top 15 receiver in the league. New York found Saunders and Evans in this year’s draft, hoping that one, if not both of them could stand out and become solid receivers for the Jets for years to come. So far, neither has shined in preseason.
Saunders, a 5-foot-7, 165-pound speed demon, has the potential to be an excellent slot receiver and a real offensive weapon in this league. Saunders could be living in Jeremy Kerley‘s shadow, who is a pretty good slot receiver himself. Evans, a 6-foot, solid outside receiver out of UCLA, was once touted as one of the best receivers in college football. He has been plagued by a few drops in training camp but has a ton of upside and athleticism to be an excellent possession receiver on the outside for years to come.
It is the coaching staff’s hope that one of these two emerges out of training camp showing some promise. New York and general manager John Idzik were chastised for not drafting a receiver in the first round, such as Brandin Cooks of the New Orleans Saints. Idzik and the Jets were confident in Jace Amaro (tight end, second round pick), Evans and Saunders to be future offensive weapons for the gang green. So far, none have been impressive, and if none of them do emerge as a starter in the next year or so, it’ll be back to the drawing board to improve their receiving corps next year.