FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The pick: Jalen Saunders, WR, Oklahoma
My take: The Jets finally jumped into what experts have called the deepest wide-receiver pool in recent history, taking one of the smallest players in the draft. Saunders is a shade under 5-foot-9 and weighs 175 pounds -- yes, really. Obviously, he projects as a slot receiver. Why take a slot receiver when they have Jeremy Kerley on the roster? Kerley is entering the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent, so Saunders provides Kerley insurance. Saunders' greatest value might be as a punt returner. He averaged 15.4 yards on punt returns last season, including two touchdowns.
Saunders is an interesting prospect because of his background. He began his career at Fresno State, playing with QB Derek Carr. He recorded a 1,065-yard season in 2011, but transferred to Oklahoma. He caught 61 passes for 729 yards and eight touchdowns last season. Saunders has good speed (ran the 40 in 4.44 at the combine), and that's a good thing because, at his size, he has to run away from as many people as possible. This pick was acquired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Darrelle Revis trade.
Change-of-pace receiver: Saunders could get lost in the Jets' receiver room, which includes Eric Decker (6-3), Stephen Hill (6-4) and David Nelson (6-5). Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has proven he can integrate small receivers into his offense. He did it with DeSean Jackson in Philadelphia, and his leading receiver last season was Kerley.