New York Jets third-year wide receiver Stephen Hill was tabbed as the best player at minicamp after two beyond awful seasons to start his career, so there’s hope he can be a breakout third-year player and part of a more dynamic Jets offense. Veteran David Nelson was also highlighted as a minicamp standout, but this is the first time I’ve read plenty of praise lofted on rookie Jalen Saunders, who was a steal on the third day of the draft. And honestly, I’m not surprised to hear that Sanders had a big minicamp.
ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini stated in today’s mailbag, that Saunders stood out at minicamp when asked if any rookie wideout did, and he even said “without a doubt”. Saunders has an incredible amount of agility, and his short-area quickness will make him a big weapon in the slot and in intermediate zones. This is a guy who can own the intermediate zones and generate large yards after the catch, and he certainly showed it while starring at Fresno State and Oklahoma.
Although Cimini stated that fellow third-day WR pick Shaq Evans struggled at minicam with drops and “looked lost”, he also noted that Evans could not attend OTA’s due to “school obligations” at UCLA. The drops are worrisome, but Evans is one of the smartest WRs in the catch and should catch on quickly (not like Hill as a rookie).
Saunders looks more and more like a steal, and I’m excited for what he can do in the NFL around Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley, Nelson, and perhaps Hill. If Saunders and Hill can continue their offseason performances (I actually have more faith in the rookie), then Geno Smith is in very good hands after having the worst pass-catchers in the NFL last season (only Kerley stood out).