The hits keep coming for the New York Jets, who went platinum on Friday night with yet another consensus home run of a draft pick. The selection of Ohio State wide receiver Devin Smith in the second round is being hailed as another successful draft pick for first-year general manager Mike Maccagnan.
Smith, a downfield threat who can stretch the field, has good speed as evidenced by his 4.42 time in the 40 during the NFL Combine. He’ll be a downfield threat and someone who will open up things underneath for the recently acquired Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, the prized free agent from the 2014 offseason.
A major question mark concerns his hands but he is a talented wide receiver and a true deep threat. He also has a penchant for the spectacular as his one-handed catch against Miami (Ohio) in 2012 was one of the top plays of that season.
“I’m versatile. You can move me inside, you can move me outside,” Smith said on Friday night. “And I’m really good at special teams. I was gunner on punt coverage teams at Ohio State and I’m very effective on special teams.”
The last time the Jets took a player out of Ohio State was in 2008 when they made defensive end/linebacker Vernon Gholston a first round pick. Gholston lasted three years with the Jets and was considered one of their worst draft selections in franchise history. He is now out of the NFL with a career 42 tackles. Gholston never registered a sack during his career.
The last impact player selected by the Jets at wide receiver came in 2011 under general manager Mike Tannenbaum. In that draft, Tannenbaum took Jeremy Kerley in the fourth round, who has career totals of 166 receptions for 2073 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Kerley was signed to a long-term contract last fall.
His predecessors selected in later drafts combined have not come close to reaching his productivity.
Since the 2012 draft, the Jets have selected five wide receivers who have combined for 47 receptions and 614 receiving yards with the Jets (2012 second round pick Stephen Hill has 45 of those catches and 594 receiving yards as well as four touchdowns with the Jets but he was cut before last season). Kerley’s statistics by himself dwarf those numbers, underscoring just how bad the team’s recent track record with wide receivers.
Smith met with the Jets during the Senior Bowl but did not have a visit with the team leading up to the draft.