One player to watch at New York Jets’ OTAs and minicamp was wide receiver, Keelan Cole.
The former Jacksonville Jaguars rotational piece is entering his fifth season in the NFL, after signing a one-year deal with Joe Douglas and the Jets.
Cole sat down with the Good Morning Football crew on June 19, 2021, and the exclusive with the first-year Jet didn’t disappoint.
Diverse Receiver Room Is ‘Learning From Each Other’
“Be ready for explosive, be ready for excitement, be ready for playmaking,” Cole responded to GMF’s Peter Schrager, but he wasn’t talking about himself. Well, not only himself.
The wide-out was referring to the Jets’ 2021 receiver room, which is becoming extremely diverse with talent. Cole told co-host Nate Burleson that it’s not necessarily about separating yourself from the pack but performing “together as one” for Zach Wilson.
This fits the incredibly unselfish mentality that we have seen all across the board under head coach Robert Saleh. Cole seems ready and willing to do his part and play a role, rather than jump a teammate on the depth chart.
He stressed that their job is to be there for Wilson, saying: “Whether it’s Elijah [Moore] going underneath for the little short throw and taking it [for] 80, or with Corey [Davis] mushing somebody on the short little hitch-and-go, or it’s me running past the defense, or [Denzel] Mims jumping over everybody, you know everybody has their own little thing. We [are] still trying to learn from each other so that way we can all become one room and one receiver room so that way every time he throws the ball we ready.”
This Jets’ WR core certainly went from very little talent and explosiveness in 2020 to loads of it in 2021. Cole continuously describes himself as a player that likes to take the top off a defense, making himself and Vyncint Smith the greatest burner threats on the roster, besides Moore who can do it all.
Then you have the crisp route running and physicality of Davis, the height, length and athleticism of Mims, plus the shifty elusiveness of slot-threats like Jamison Crowder and Braxton Berrios.
That doesn’t even include promising players like Jeff Smith and Manassah Bailey.
So What Will the WR Depth Chart Look Like?
There has been so much talk on Twitter and social media over what the Jets’ wide receiver depth chart may look like this season, but the answer is most likely that it will be fluid.
Davis is the number one guy, for all intents and purposes. He is a tremendous blocker on rushing downs and Douglas dished out some major dough for him to play that role.
Crowder and Berrios should get a lot of usage in the slot, but that doesn’t guarantee that they won’t sometimes take the field together in a spread or bunch look.
Whether Mims is “WR2” or “WR4” probably won’t make all that much of a difference. He’ll be a red zone threat and a mismatch candidate when he’s out there.
Moore sounds like he’ll line up all over the field as an all-around playmaker, with Jeff Smith as his most similar backup should he make the team, and Cole will just look to contribute with more catches like this when the opportunity arises.
This offense should spread the ball around a ton under Mike LaFleur. That may not be great news for fantasy football diehards, but it’s phenomenal news for a rookie quarterback.
Quick Word on Saleh
Pretty much every Jets player that gets interviewed gets asked about Coach Saleh. Co-host Kay Adams was the one to pose the question to Cole.
“Observant,” the wide receiver replied, “just always paying attention, being detailed with stuff even when he’s coaching you.”
Cole noted that Saleh will bring a player to the side mid-practice to try and teach them, rather than wait till afterward. “He wants to see improvement all the time as quick as possible,” the ex-Jaguar added.
GMF’s Kyle Brandt mentioned that Cole’s mantra is the words “pro is the goal.” Hearing Cole speak, he is definitely a pro.
Do you like the idea of a fluid depth chart at wide receiver? Let us know on Facebook @HeavyOnJets, or Twitter @obermuller_nyj and @BoyGreen25.