Former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Keelan Cole’s enticing film suggests he could be more than just a depth piece for the NY Jets.
The full Jet X member-only video is near the bottom of this page and can also be seen on the Blewett's Blitz homepage (if you're a paid member and logged in).
The fifth-year, 27-year-old Keelan Cole was the second wide receiver the New York Jets signed this past offseason (one year, $5.5 million). Adding Cole after already handing out $27 million guaranteed to Corey Davis showed Joe Douglas’ prioritization in placing weapons around his future young quarterback (who turned out to be Zach Wilson).
That sort of prioritized strategy signaled a welcomed change for Jets fans. Past Jets general managers failed to properly build around all of their most recent high draft picks at quarterback: Geno Smith, Christian Hackenberg and Sam Darnold.
Darnold failed for multiple reasons, including many of his own problems, but having games where his primary opinions at wideout included Andre Roberts, Jermaine Kearse, Lawerence Cager, Chris Hogan, and Deontay Burnett, surely didn’t help his development.
Even before the NFL draft, Cole appeared to be a great option as the fourth receiver on the Jets depth chart. With second-round pick Elijah Moore joining the fray via the draft, it now looks like Cole will most likely be the fifth option.
It’s mighty tough to find a better fifth-string wideout in the NFL.
That is if Cole even does turn out to be the Jets’ fifth WR. After turning heads throughout OTAs and mandatory minicamp, he could climb the ladder and push some very talented players down the depth chart.
Cole is a healthy and consistent weapon that proved to be productive last year (55 rec, 642 yards and five touchdowns) while catching passes from the star-studded quarterback trio of Jake Luton, Gardner Minshew and Mike Glennon.
Let’s take a look at some plays showcasing Cole’s major strengths and weaknesses. Below, you will also find a full list of strengths and weaknesses, plus an episode of Blewett’s Blitz digging into Keelan Cole’s film (over an hour and a half long).
Highlighted strength: Route running
Cole (outside slot, bottom No. 2) runs an out versus off-man coverage. The cornerback has outside leverage, which is where Cole wants to go, but he doesn’t want to stem directly at the cornerback, risking further widening.
Cole stems vertically in hope that the corner will open his hips/angle off inside.
As Cole closes ground, he “short strides,” which both threatens a release inside/outside and allows for a quick break. The cornerback angles off inside but Cole knows he must be prepared for hands and have a tight break.
Cole does a good job keeping his hands ready, swiping the outside arm of the cornerback with his outside arm, and then punching over the top with his left arm to finish off the corner’s outside arm.
Cole pairs this with a tight break. Notice how his “drive step” (second step of this break) is directly under his frame, allowing a flat break. He makes the catch on the out. Great route from Cole.