Sophomore Watch : Jeremy Kerley

Drafted : Fifth Round (153rd overall)
Position : Wide Receiver
Height : 5’9”
Weight : 188 pounds

2011 stats : 14 games played, 1 game started, 29 receptions, 314 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown

2011 Season Review :
Receiver, punt returner, and occasional wildcat quarterback, Jeremy Kerley did a little bit of everything for the Jets as a rookie. His first major vote of confidence came in week five when he was played as the #3 receiver over Derrick Mason and retained that spot for the rest of the year following Mason’s trade to the Texans. Operating out of the slot Kerley did some positive things. He was the most reliable of Jets receivers in terms of target efficiency(caught 65.9% of passes thrown to him) and showed a knack for making drive sustaining grabs, having more of his yards and receptions on third down than any other down. Kerley also featured as a punt returner, showing off his explosiveness and some breakaway ability. However Kerley also did struggle at times to hold on to the ball, fumbling three times and losing one of those to the opposition.

2012 Outlook :
Kerley’s the odds-on favorite to retain punt return duties, and he should be a bigger part of the Jets offense on a more consistent basis in 2012 as well. Outside of Santonio Holmes, Kerley could end up being the Jets’ most targeted wide receiver this upcoming season barring a monster rookie season from Stephen Hill. Much like how Sanchez gravitates towards Dustin Keller, Kerley could benefit from being a young and homegrown target that Sanchez can take under his wing and build strong chemistry with. Though the Jets signed Chaz Schilens this offseason, Kerley should see little competition for the slot and it shouldn’t be a surprise if he outdoes his receiving production as a rookie considerably. In addition to his role within the conventional parts of the offense, Kerley is one player whose versatility will make him an attractive option to have on the field when the Jets utilize Tim Tebow as an option quarterback. Expect Kerley to bring a bit of trickiness and explosiveness to the Jets offense that was completely missing last season.

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