When the 49ers were selected to coach at the Senior Bowl back in 2019, they had some exclusive access to work with a wideout from South Carolina by the name of Deebo Samuel.
A few months later, San Francisco picked Samuel in the second round of the 2019 NFL draft.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh was part of that coaching staff that got a glimpse of Samuel's potential at the Senior Bowl in 2019. Now, leading the Jets to their Senior Bowl coaching opportunity in 2022, could Saleh's team once again come away with a stud at wide receiver?
Saleh and the rest of New York's coaching staff will have a chance to work with the following six wideouts at this year's Senior Bowl:
- Jahan Dotson, Penn State
- Romeo Doubs, Nevada
- Bo Melton, Rutgers
- Alec Pierce, Cincinnati
- Khalil Shakir, Boise State
- Christian Watson, North Dakota State
None of those players are likely to be picked in the first round, but the Jets could certainly use one of their two second-round selections (or a later round selection) on one of them.
Dotson is unquestionably the most highly-touted prospect from this group. He racked up 91 catches, 1,182 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns over a dozen games with Penn State in 2021. Dotson is the sixth-best wide receiver in this year's draft class, per Pro Football Focus (behind Garrett Wilson, Jameson Williams, Drake London, Chris Olave and Treylon Burks).
Doubs and Shakir are the only other receivers from this group to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark this past season. In fact, Doubs has accumulated more yards in his career than any other player listed here (3,322 yards over four years at Nevada).
The Jets seem like a team destined to add a wide receiver this offseason, if not more than one. The real question is whether that comes in the draft, in free agency or via the trade market.
There's still a chance New York can use one of their two top-10 picks on a receiver, or even trade back in the first round for a top option at the position. If one of these six players wow them during the Senior Bowl, they'll have even more preparation entering the draft. With the amount of capital this team has—nine picks in the first five rounds—they have the flexibility to make a move and go get one of these players if they believe he'll shine at the next level.
Like Samuel in San Francisco, the Jets succeeded when drafting Elijah Moore in the beginning of the second round last year. Perhaps one of these six names will come off the board in that spot as well.
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