A week after checking out Drake London, New York Jets legend Wayne Chrebet lauds Garrett Wilson as the 2022 NFL draft looms.
The lauded metropolitan receiver returned to the internet’s airwaves with Sabo for the 15th edition of The Underdog Jets Podcast to discuss Gang Green’s coming visits to the NFL draft’s newest podium in Las Vegas. Though Chrebet’s NFL entry wasn’t heralded by hearing his name called at the 1995 NFL draft, he was one of several vital offensive contributors that helped end a six-year playoff drought in 1998.
And although the days of his on-field contributions have passed, he and Sabo conjured a blueprint for Sin City in their latest recording.
The pair were particularly intrigued by the prospects available in Chrebet’s wheelhouse at receiver, whose incoming class is among the 2022 draft’s deepest categories. The Jets own two picks within the opening ten (No. 4 and No. 10), putting them in a prime position to land such a big-play target. New York has not had a drafted receiver reach 1,000 yards since Jerricho Cotchery in 2007.
Drawing the most attention was Garrett Wilson, a consensus first-round pick out of Ohio State coming off a 1,058-yard, 12-touchdown season in Columbus. The two embarked on an extensive study of Wilson’s game film from his 2021 campaign, with Chrebet likening the Buckeye to Justin Jefferson and Stefon Diggs.
Chrebet was particularly impressed by Wilson’s ability to create separation.
“He’s got an outbreak in (the) route, but he attacks the inside blind spot,” Chrebet said, using a baseball term to describe a successful move Wilson made to earn a catch against Tulsa last September. “That makes it tough on the defender, the fact that he released outside, and then straighten back up, leaned back in, (the defender’s) dead … the way (Wilson) dropped his weight, that’s, that’s really, really impressive.”
Sabo had a more familiar Wilson comparison for Jets fans, likening him to early 2010s staple Santonio Holmes for reasons far beyond their shared Ohio State connection.
“Just the way his feet are, he’s sometimes a long strider,” Sabo noted as he and Chrebet watched Wilson make an athletic grab against Oregon. The Holmes-like athleticism helped Wilson’s case for Sabo, who favorably compared him to classmate Drake London from USC. “London is more polished in terms of reading defenses, I think, but Wilson’s route running is better. Wilson’s feet are really good and I think his potential might be higher.”
Mock drafts across the country have penciled a receiver into one of the Jets’ opening draft slots on April 28. Others potentially available in the fourth and 10th slots include Treylon Burls (Arkansas), Jameson Williams (Alabama), George Pickens (Georgia), and Wilson’s fellow former Buckeye Chris Olave.
The conversations surrounding Chrebet’s receiving brethren weren’t limited to rookies. Though Sabo and Chrebet’s latest conversation came before multi-faceted offensive threat Deebo Samuel’s loudest request to be removed from the San Francisco 49ers’ roster, they nonetheless acknowledged the possibility of the All-Pro donning green.
While some have wondered if Samuel could similar success in New York, Chrebet reasoned that his prior collaboration with Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur (previously the 49ers’ receivers coach and passing game coordinator) could create a smoother transition.
“Certainly, they could use them the right way,” Chrebet remarked.
Trapped in an 11-year playoff drought, their longest in franchise history since the six-year dubious streak prior to Chrebet’s arrival, the Jets have a golden opportunity to address both sides of the ball. The secondary and pass rush were of particular interest, with Chrebet labeling polarizing Oregon quarterback attacker Kayvon Thibodeaux “as solid as they come.”
Chrebet hinted that his Michigan counterpart Aidan Hutchinson could be gone by the time the Jets hit the clock, but he mentioned that “great weapons” like Derek Stingley (LSU) and Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner (Cincinnati) would be around in the top ten.
“We haven’t had that in a while, to where we can rush the quarterback and get hands-on him without a heavy blitz package. If they can get a front four (man), an edge rusher like that, they’d certainly be a lot better than last year,” Chrebet said of the Jets defense. He was confident that Stingley would be available to the Jets at 10th overall, calling him the “more polished” selection thanks to his experience against SEC competition compared to the AAC film that Gardner had to offer.
Jets X-Factor is proud to offer virtual meet-and-greet opportunities with Chrebet, the next such event staged for May 30 at 7 p.m. ET. For more information and to register, click here.