In recent years, Penn State University has had some great players enter into the NFL draft. Allen Robinson, prior to his injury early in the 2017 season, was a solid number one receiver for Jacksonville. NaVarro Bowman needs no introduction, as he has been a force to reckon with on the 49ers, and now on the Oakland Raiders. Then there’s Saquon Barkley, maybe you have heard the name. He has some experts predicting he will be the first overall pick in the 2018 draft. Penn State’s recent success can be thanks in most for the exceptional running back talents of Barkley, but the offense as a whole has been playing stellar football.
Especially one wide receiver who will be entering the draft this year.
Daesean Hamilton has been up and down his entire career. He struggled with drops, but has since improved to be a very reliable number one option. Hamilton is Penn State’s All-Time leader in receptions, even over names like Allen Robinson and Bobby Engram. Playing four years with the school, Hamilton was involved with the quick turnaround of the program. Playing with them through the Hackenberg years, winning an exciting Pinstripe Bowl over Boston College and ending it with a Fiesta Bowl victory over Washington. Hamilton was also playing lights out during the 2016 Big Ten Championship victory over Wisconsin. In that game, Hamilton had eight catches for 118 yards.
2017 was a bit disappointing for the team overall, but it was good one for Hamilton, who bounced back from a down year. After experiencing career lows in all major receiving categories (34 receptions 506 yards 1 touchdown), Hamilton was able to show off his ability to transform into Penn State’s leading receiver. On the season, he had 53 catches for 857 yards, along with nine touchdowns (along with three in one game against Indiana). Following the 35-28 victory over Washington in the Fiesta Bowl, Daesean Hamilton announced his intent to play football in the NFL, and will enter the 2018 NFL Draft.
Could Hamilton Be a Fit for the Jets?
The Jets offense could certainly use any sort of help they can get. With a glaring need at quarterback, and the possibility of some help being brought in with the recent trade of Alex Smith to Washington (allowing Kirk Cousins to become a huge target), the wide receiver position has been overlooked.
It isn’t like the Jets are necessarily struggling at the wide receiver position. However, they aren’t excelling either. Quincy Enunwa and Jermaine Kearse are set to be a solid receiving duo for whoever comes in. But after those two, depth falls off considerably.
Robby Anderson’s recent arrest leaves the wideout’s future uncertain. The Jets brought in a few wide receivers to help them out in 2017. Former Jet Jeremy Kerley returned for a while, but following a suspension for performance enhancing drugs, was released from the team. Two rookies were drafted in the forms of Chad Hansen and Ardarius Stewart. Neither had a 100 yard game and neither caught a touchdown.
Chad Hansen has just under 100 yards on the season, with nine catches for 94 yards. That would be a decent game, but for an entire season is more than just underwhelming. He had a season and career high in receptions in two games. Three receptions in losses against Tampa Bay and New Orleans, with 33 yards in the former and 21 yards in the latter. He had long plays in each game, with longs of 24, 17, 15, and 13 yards in each game that he caught a pass.
Ardarius Stewart was even more of a disappointment in terms of production. Six receptions for 82 yards was all the receiver produced, with 46 yards coming on one play against the Patriots in week 17. The third round pick was expected to help the offense, but did little to meet expectations.
How and When Could the Jets Get Hamilton?
Daesean Hamilton should definitely be a mid-round target. Some have the wide receiver labeled as a day two, third round pick up. His size provides him with a boost to be a big bodied slot receiver. Measuring at six foot one, 202 pounds, he has a ton of potential to provide nothing but positives for New York. He still struggles a bit with drops, but in the days leading up to the Senior Bowl, he shined. Running a 4.55 40-yard dash, he won’t be burning any defensive backs. However, his footwork is praisable, creating separation between him and the defense.
New York took a chance in the third round last year, but Ardarius Stewart hasn’t met early expectations. Whoever is under center in 2018, they are going to want somebody they can rely on to get open. Daesean Hamilton could be the one to fit the bill.