Rookie quarterback Geno Smith and the New York Jets‘ offense have struggled mightily this season. Texas A&M sophomore wide receiver Mike Evans could help Smith play better next season.
The Jets offense ranks 30th and 31st this season in yards and passing yards, respectively. Smith has been a major reason why the offense has been so abysmal. He has thrown for 2,642 yards, 10 touchdowns and 21 interceptions; only New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has thrown more interception than Smith has this season with 25.
Smith’s receiving corps is not set-up for him to thrive. His most consistent option this season has been slot receiver Jeremy Kerley. Kerley has a team-high 33 catches for a team-high 413 yards and three touchdowns — the team’s top two wide receivers have performed terribly this season.
The team’s projected number one wide receiver, Santonio Holmes, has been injury-plagued, which led to him playing only 13 games out of 31 possible games. Holmes used to be a very good receiver, but the numerous injuries he has sustained have diminished his playing ability. Holmes is 29 years old, so the team hoped that Stephen Hill could someday replace Holmes as their number one wide receiver, but Hill has not proven that he can be the team’s bona-fide number one wide receiver in his second year with the team.
What’s the problem with Hill? He’s been very inconsistent.
Hill has been able to make some ‘tough’ catches. However, he has been unable to make some ‘easy’ catches that 75 percent of wide receivers typically make. This, plus several other drops, has contributed to Smith performing terribly this season — on Sunday, Smith threw for 167 yards, one touchdown and one interception in a 30-20 defeat to the Carolina Panthers.
But drafting Mike Evans could potentially change Smith’s fortune next season.
The Jets were hoping to draft one of Smith’s receiving options from West Virginia in the 2013 NFL Draft. However, the St. Louis Rams drafted Mountaineers’ wide receiver Tavon Austin with the eighth overall pick.
The Jets had the ninth overall pick in that draft. They were unable to pair Smith up with a receiver with great potential in that draft, but that could change in 2014.
Evans is a redshirt sophomore wide receiver from Texas A&M. He is six-foot-five and weighs 225 pounds, according to his ESPN.com player page.
He has not received a lot of notoriety because he plays on the same team as Johnny Manziel, but Evans has the potential to excel at the next level, according to TFY Draft Insider Tony Pauline.
‘Large, game impacting receiver that physically beats defenders in the middle of the field or outraces opponents down the flanks’ Pauline writes. ‘Has all the necessary talents to be a big time number one wide out in the NFL.’”
Evans has a tremendous vertical and very good speed, which makes it tough for defenders to try to prevent him from catching the football. This season, he has 65 catches for 1,322 yards and 12 touchdowns — two of his best performances this season were against top three teams.
On Sept. 14, Evans caught seven passes for 279 yards and scored once against then top-ranked Alabama. The Dec. 8 Bowl Championship Series, BCS, Standings listed the Crimson Tide third-best team.
On Oct. 19, he had 11 catches for 287 yards and four touchdowns against then 24th-ranked Auburn. The Tigers are ranked second in the Dec. 8 BCS Standings.
Smith has shown that he can throw deep passes, but he does not have a consistent deep threat. Evans could make those difficult catches for Smith.
It is unknown if Evans will forgo his Junior season at Texas A&M. If the season ended on Monday, the Jets would have the 13th overall selection, according to ESPN.com, and in order for Smith to excel in the NFL, he needs a consistent threat in his receiving corps. If the Jets are able to draft him, then Evans could be a consistent threat for Smith.