The NFL has seen rookie wide receivers have an immediate impact in the last few years.
Justin Jefferson of the Vikings set an NFL rookie record with 1,400 receiving yards in 2020. That record lasted one year because the Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase broke it in 2021 with 1,455 yards.
The Jets now have a rookie receiver of their own who believes he can have an impact similar to the ones Jefferson and Chase had.
“I’m very confident,” Garrett Wilson said Saturday after the second day of the Jets’ rookie minicamp. “I think I can have that impact. I want to do everything it takes to have an impact. ”
The Jets do not need Wilson to set records. They just need him to give their offense a spark and quarterback Zach Wilson a target to throw to. The Jets have not had a 1,000-yard receiver since 2015 when both Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker did it.
The Jets selected Wilson with the No. 10 overall pick with the hope he can team up with Elijah Moore to give the Jets a young receiving tandem they have not had since the days of Keyshawn Johnson and Wayne Chrebet.
“Aside from mental makeup, he’s got tremendous body control, range, great route-running ability,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said of Wilson. “He’s got great versatility. He can win those one-on-ones that we talked about yesterday in man coverage when teams are out there in press. Obviously, there’s going to be things he has to work on like every rookie does. I’m really excited to have him and the versatility that he’ll provide. ”
Wilson was the second receiver drafted last month after USC’s Drake London, who was taken by the Falcons. It was a loaded draft for receivers with four more being taken in the eight picks following Wilson.
The Jets rave about Wilson’s body control and his ability to win in the air. Wilson credits his basketball background for that strength of his game. He played AAU basketball and averaged 21 points per game as a junior in high school. His father, Kenny, played in the NBA for the Nuggets.
“Basketball I feel like translates really well to football,” Wilson said. “The constant jumping and getting up and down the floor. It’s so unpredictable. It’s not planned out. You kind of are reacting a lot of the time in basketball. It’s not like running a route where you know where you are going to break. ”
Wilson was born in Ohio and lived there until his family moved to Texas when he was in sixth grade. He watched Lake Travis High School football games and their quarterback Baker Mayfield and began to feel the tug of football over basketball.
“[In Ohio] the football games had a good turnout, the basketball games had a good turnout, but the whole city shutdown when I got down to Lake Travis on a Friday, “Wilson said.” It was just totally different, the support behind the team. It’s really good to grow up there and be an athlete really no matter what sport you’re playing. ”
Wilson had offers to play college basketball but chose to play football for Ohio State, where he became a star in the Buckeyes’ high-powered offense.
At 5-foot-11, 183 pounds, Wilson is not the biggest receiver you will see. He played inside and outside at Ohio State and the Jets value his versatility.
“They came in all shapes and sizes,” Saleh said. “A lot it has to do with that mental makeup. A lot of guys play bigger than they are, a lot of guys play smaller than they are. What I think separates him is he does have tremendous body control and range with regards to his length and all that stuff. He plays bigger than his measured size. ”