The Jets have lacked a true standout receiver for years now. Even back to the days of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, the two weren’t around for more than a few years. New York needs to get help for Sam Darnold, and fast. The wide receiver core needs a boost in the worst way. A certain prospect out of Penn State could be just what they need.
Standing at 5’8 178 pounds, K.J. Hamler is your typical speed burning wide receiver, something the Jets need after the departure of Robby Anderson. Don’t let his size and weight fool you, however. Hamler was a reliable receiver for Trace McSorley and current Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford. Not only can he burn defensive backs for long plays and scores, but he can take a hit and keep the play moving as well. Take his play against Maryland this past season. On the play, Hamler takes a hit to the legs. He keeps his balance and uses his incredible footwork to embarrass defenders downfield on his way to the endzone.
Strengths and Weaknesses
K.J. has also shown his incredible acceleration and speed against top-notch talent. Take his 2018 play against Ohio State. A simple slant route against the Buckeyes took him 93 yards for a score. His health has also not been much of a question mark either. Though he had a torn ACL in high school that led to being red-shirted, he’s started in all 13 games in both 2018 and 2019. Hamler has also exercised his talents as a kick returner, though the Jets may opt to keep him off of special teams.
His main concerns lie in his hands and longevity. While the term “reliable” was used earlier, that comes from his mistakes being teachable and fixable. When the ball is secured in his hands, Hamler can be one of the most explosive players on the field. However, there is a slight concern in getting it there. His ball skills can be somewhat questionable. A worrisome drop rate of 17.8% is a red flag but is a flaw that can be fixed. His size and weight bring his longevity in the NFL into question.
Hamler is small, for sure. His big-play ability, however, has the potential to make up for that and more. KJ is not a boom or bust player, as if he has the right coaching, he will be one of the best deep threats the Jets have ever seen. Stretching the field for Darnold would help immensely.
In conclusion, KJ Hamler is cited as a second-round pick. The Jets, regardless of which order they decide to go, must take an offensive lineman and a wide receiver with their first two picks. Should the Jets take Hamler in the second round if he’s available? Absolutely. On top of being a player with a huge upside, he’s a tremendous character for a young team. Seeing him in green and white for years to come would be the right move for years to come.