Jets 2024 Position Breakdown: Can Garrett Wilson become a Pro Bowler with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback?

Heading into the 2024 season, the Jets have made a series of moves to improve the state of their roster and overall depth, but are they ready to compete for a playoff spot?

In this series, we’ll break down the depth chart for every position group. This time, we’ll go in-depth at the wide receiver position…

Projected depth chart

Starter: Garrett Wilson, Mike Williams, Malachi Corley (slot)

Backups: Allen Lazard, Xavier Gipson, Jason Brownlee, Irv Charles

Key additions/losses: Signed Williams, drafted Corley.

Top Performer in 2023: Wilson 95 catches, 1,042 yards and three touchdowns.

2023 ranking via PFF: Wilson was 65th of 179 qualifying receivers.

What Jets’ wide receivers have going for them

Wilson’s career is off to a spectacular start with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons despite the Jets’ offensive woes. His route running, hands and abilities after the catch make him one of the best all-round receivers in the league but he could still achieve even more production. If Aaron Rodgers can stay healthy this year, the sky is the limit for Wilson in his third season.

The new additions should also bring different dimensions to the offense this year. Williams brings a veteran presence with outstanding size and the ability to be the red zone threat that the Jets have lacked over the past few seasons. The rookie Corley, on the other hand, is renowned for his abilities with the ball in his hands, so the Jets will be keen to get him involved from the outset.

Key concern for 2023: Depth

Bringing in Williams and Corley addresses the depth in the receiver room, but Williams is coming off a serious injury and Corley is just a rookie, so the Jets might not be able to rely on them both as much as they’d like to early in the season.

Beyond these two, someone will need to step up. Gipson and Brownlee displayed promise as undrafted rookies, but it might be a stretch to expect either of them to step up into a major role on a potential contender. Lazard could play a significant role early, but he needs to bounce back from a rough first year with the team.

If this is an issue that starts to become a problem a few weeks into the season, it wouldn’t be altogether surprising to see the Jets explore the trade market.

Player who must step up in 2024: Lazard

As noted, Lazard had a difficult 2023 season and reports indicate that he’s also struggling to make an impact during the offseason program. He fell out of favor down the stretch and was benched, ending the season with just 23 receptions and one touchdown. If he didn’t have a guaranteed salary of $10 million for 2024, Lazard might already have been released.

Lazard was one of Rodgers’ favorite targets in Green Bay, so the hope is that he’ll rekindle that connection with the pro bowler and perform much better in 2024. However, his confidence seems low, as does the confidence of the coaching staff and fanbase in him.

Biggest camp battle: Corley vs. Gipson to be the starting slot receiver

Corley will be keen to make an impact as a rookie, whether that will be as a player with a special package of plays or just in a more conventional slot receiver role. Either way, he’ll have to beat out Gipson, who showed some potential in his rookie year.

Gipson had just one catch in the first seven games, but his role increased in the second half, and he caught 20 passes in the last 10 games. He ended the season with just under 300 yards from scrimmage and scored two touchdowns, one on a run and the other on a punt return. Will he get a chance to build on that in 2024?

Overall 2024 outlook

If Williams is healthy and can produce like he has in the past, this unit has the potential to be much better than last year’s receiver group. That’s even before you account for the fact that Rodgers’ return is naturally going to elevate everybody.

While some of the other youngsters will play a role, it will be most exciting to see what Wilson can produce in a Rodgers-led offense. 2024 could see him make his first pro bowl and, if he does, will that be the first of many? A big year for Wilson could elevate the Jets’ offense to another level and will probably also set up a big contract negotiation at the end of the season.

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