Tantalizing prospects like Garrett Wilson, Drake London, Treylon Burks, Jameson Williams and Chris Olave are all in play but this wide receiver class goes much deeper than that. The Jets could go after Jahan Dotson in the second round or Christian Watson sometime after that.
Let me throw another name into the mix, Boise State product Khalil Shakir, who team reporter Ethan Greenberg highlighted as a draft prospect that “improved [his] stock” at the Senior Bowl.
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Shakir Poised to Follow Senior Bowl Legends
During a recent article on the Jets’ official website, Greenberg listed Shakir as part of an exclusive group of impressive standouts from the Reese’s Senior Bowl. He wrote:
It feels like every year midround receivers who perform well as [NFL] rookies have been Senior Bowl products, for example Ravens’ Devin Duvernay, Rams’ and Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp, Commanders’ Terry McLaurin, and Raiders’ Hunter Renfrow.
Even if Greenberg is talking more about a recent NFL trend than a direct comparison, this is some tremendous company for Shakir. Kupp just won Offensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl MVP in 2021. McLaurin and Renfrow were both 1,000-yard receivers as well that led their respective rosters in production.
The one outlier is Duvernay, but he’s also the youngest of the group and had a respectable 322 scrimmage yards in 2021.
These weren’t “first-round talents,” despite surpassing many top prospects at the professional level. In fact, none of these players were drafted higher than round three and Renfrow went to Las Vegas in the fifth.
After noting the play of the aforementioned Watson and another potential sleeper in Jalen Tolbert, Greenberg told readers that NFL Network draft expert “[Daniel] Jeremiah likes the fit of Shakir with the Green & White.”
The team reporter quoted Jeremiah: “Not the biggest guy, but he caught everything out here. I think with what the Jets like to do with those guys to play all of the spots, learn all those spots and move around, I think he fits quite well there.”
Shakir had 77 catches for 1,117 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2021. Over his final three seasons at Boise State, he averaged 902.7 yards with 22 total touchdowns — three rushing. The playmaker added 114.7 rush yards per season during that span.
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Shakir Joins ‘Conveyor Belt of Playmakers’
While scouting the Boise State product, Ian Cummings of Pro Football Network discussed how wide receiver draft classes seem to get deeper and deeper every year. “It’s a virtual conveyor belt of playmakers,” he voiced, “and the next wave appears just as strong as previous classes.”
Cummings described the 6-foot wide-out as an “underrated receiver” that makes up for his size with “dynamic athleticism.” Continuing: “Shakir possesses the explosiveness to gear up quickly after catches and cuts. He has great twitch and suddenness as an athlete. Moreover, the Boise State WR also has more than enough speed to threaten defensive backs in space and stretch the field. Shakir possesses good change-of-direction ability, as well as exceptional hip sink capacity.”
To sum all that up, the PFN analyst labeled the former Bronco as a “slippery runner” both with and without the football. It’s no wonder Jeremiah likes him as a match for Mike LaFleur’s offense, which predicates upon dynamic route-runners and players who can gain yards after the catch.
Best of all, Shakir has hands, which was a key issue for Zach Wilson and his receivers in 2021. “There are not many instances of him dropping passes,” scouted Drae Harris of The Draft Network.
Cummings added that “at the catch, Shakir shows off absurd instincts,” including ball-tracking, the ability to “make challenging adjustments,” body control, and “near-elite coordination.”
Both draft analysts agreed that Shakir should reach day three of the draft, although PFN’s Cummings wagered that his “skill set is worth a Day 2” pick in the third round. The Jets have one third-round selection in 2022 (No. 69), two fourth-rounders (Nos. 108 and 114), and two fifths (Nos. 144 and 148).