Jalen Saunders Q&A: Small in size, big in stature
With their first pick in the fourth round, the Jets took a wide receiver who was certainly a playmaker in college.
Jalen Sauders may be just 5-foot-9 but he is fast and elusive and reminds some of current Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley, who led the team in receptions and receiving yards last season.
The knock on Saunders is his size, but when he gets the ball in his hands he can be tough to catch. How the Jets utilize him — whether in the slot, coming around on reverses and end arounds or on special teams — remains to be seen. But he can be a weapon and offer the Jets another look as they try to show more multiple formations on offense this year.
During his senior season at Oklahoma, he had 61 catches for 729 yards with eight touchdowns. He also had two touchdowns as a returner on special teams.
Metro New York had the chance to catch up with Saunders during rookie minicamp last week.
You do offer versatility, but do the Jets see you in the slot this year or perhaps on the opposite side?
I really don’t know, really can’t tell you that. I’m just going to go out there, work hard and try to showcase my abilities.
It’s known what you can potentially bring at wide receiver and also on special teams as part of the return game. What did the coaching staff say to you about why they drafted you?
They liked my versatility; they liked my toughness. I love playing tough on the field, no matter what my size is. I will just come in and play hard every play. That’s one thing I love, just playing the game of football.
You are not the biggest receiver but it is clear from watching tape you like to bring some physicality to the position. Is that something you pride yourself on?
A lot of people say they want to be a complete receiver. To me, that means you have to be good at blocking, you have to be good at your route running. It is more than just catching the ball. You have to be able to do everything, especially at this level.
There had to be some jitters here with it being your first day as a pro, now finally in the NFL.
A little bit, I kind of expected it. I think it was good, it was great being around the team. It was good to be around the coaches, learn about them. It’s been great all around.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.