Denzel Mims, NY Jets
Denzel Mims, New York Jets, Getty Images

The New York Jets’ final receiver spot may be an open competition

The New York Jets‘ record of drafting second-round wide receivers is downright ugly. Other than Wesley Walker’s 1977 selection, the likes of Ralph Clayton, Reggie Rembert, Ryan Yarborough, Alex Van Dyke, Stephen Hill, and Devin Smith have crossed the horizon only to become complete busts. Elijah Moore is the most recent product of this curse, although he may well live up to his potential in Cleveland.

That leaves a different second-round receiver as the remaining disappointment on the Jets’ roster: 2020 59th overall pick Denzel Mims. By now, all Jets fans know the sorry tale: a big, physical receiver who showed the promise of a WR2 before Covid, food poisoning, and Mike LaFleur did him in (if you subscribe to that narrative).

There are those who still believe that Mims will prove the doubters wrong or at least that he can if given the chance. Based on what Mims has put on film over the last two seasons, there is little evidence that this can be the case. It was not the way he was used; it was the six penalties on 548 offensive snaps and four drops vs. 19 total receptions (21.1% drop rate).

Now, the Jets have five receivers on their roster who are all but assured spots: Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Corey Davis, Mecole Hardman, and Randall Cobb. There are rumors that teams still want to trade for Davis, but barring the acquisition of a WR2-caliber player, Davis will be a Jet this season.

In 2022, the Jets carried six receivers on their roster, and Mims was the sixth. This season, there are several players vying for that final receiver spot. Who will prevail in the end? Let’s go through the possibilities.

No one

It’s possible, albeit unlikely, that the Jets choose to carry just five receivers. In 2022, they carried Mims but kept him inactive until Davis got hurt. Even their fifth receiver, Jeff Smith, was primarily a special teamer. Maybe they’ll choose to get their special teams from elsewhere and carry only five wideouts. In that case, several of the players mentioned below would likely end up on the practice squad just in case.


We have to discuss Mims simply because he’s still here and he’s the incumbent. Robert Saleh commented that Mims has “a chance” to make the roster, which is the first time he has ever made such a concession. Robby Sabo said he did not see Mims at OTAs and would be shocked if he’s on the Jets’ roster this year.

Mims requested a trade prior to last season. His role is not going to be bigger now. There were rumors that he did not get off to a good start with the new Jets offensive coaching staff (whether that means Nathaniel Hackett, receivers coach Zach Azzanni, or both).

Perhaps the Jets can unload Mims for a seventh-round pick. It’s more likely that he simply gets cut.

Irvin Charles

Irvin Charles played college ball at Penn State for three years as a four-star recruit. However, over his three years there, he had just 561 total snaps and was primarily a special teamer. He did make seven special teams tackles in 2017 and garnered an 84.1 Pro Football Focus grade on special teams.

In 2019, following his redshirt sophomore season, Charles chose to transfer to Indiana University-Pennsylvania. Academic issues and the pandemic kept him off the field until 2021. During that season, he caught 39 balls for 791 yards and 12 touchdowns. He then went undrafted and joined the Jets as a free agent. He spent the 2022 season on their practice squad as a developmental player.

Charles has been making some noise this offseason. Aaron Rodgers mentioned him as a player who had a good final OTA. His 6-foot-4, 219-pound frame could be appealing to the Jets as possible Davis insurance. His special teams experience definitely gives him a shot.

However, Charles’ 4.66 speed, 2.63 20-yard split, 1.56 10-yard split, and 4.30 short shuttle demonstrate his general deficit of movement skills. With two big receivers in Lazard and Davis, perhaps they would want more speed on their roster. Furthermore, at 26 years old, Charles may have less upside than some of the younger players.

Jerome Kapp

Of the Jets’ undrafted free agents, Jerome Kapp seems to have the inside track on a roster spot. He came to rookie minicamp as a tryout player and impressed the Jets enough to sign him to a contract. Robby and others have commented on the plays that he made during OTAs.

Kapp was a small-school college player at Kutztown University after spending a redshirt year at Seton Hall in 2018. In 2019, he caught 32 balls for 462 yards and five touchdowns. After the 2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic, Kapp had 43 receptions for 812 yards and eight touchdowns in 2021. That increased to 47 catches for 916 yards and nine scores in 2022.

Kapp is listed at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds on the Jets website, but he measured 6-foot-1 1/2 and 191 pounds at the NFL Combine. He had a 7.43 Relative Athletic Score, and his only areas where he performed fairly well were the broad jump (10-foot-5) and three-cone drill (6.79). His 4.57 speed is nothing to write home about.

Ultimately, Kapp’s ability to make the team might come down to whether he can play special teams. Charles already has that advantage coming in, but it appears that Kapp has turned more heads so far this offseason.

Jason Brownlee

Jason Brownlee was another undrafted free agent signed by the Jets this offseason. He was singled out by Rodgers for an impressive showing at OTAs.

Brownlee played for Southern Miss from 2020-22 after two years at a community college. In his freshman season, he caught 34 balls for 610 yards and five scores in nine games. That increased to 46 catches, 643 yards, and eight touchdowns in his sophomore year.

As a junior, Brownlee caught 55 balls for 891 yards and eight touchdowns. However, there were eight interceptions thrown on balls in his direction, resulting in a 64.5 targeted quarterback rating. His 2.31 yards per route run mark was in the 60th percentile among receivers, and his 5.5% drop rate was roughly average.

One thing to note, though, was that Brownlee’s 48.1% catch rate in 2022 ranked second-to-last among 137 FBS receivers with at least 70 targets. That could be attributed largely to quarterbacks who completed 57.1% and 53.4% of their passes, respectively, as well as a 14.5 average depth of target that was the 17th-deepest among 137 qualified receivers.

Brownlee played some special teams in his college career, primarily on punt returns. His Pro Football Focus special teams grades were 67.2, 42.5, and 70.2 in his three college seasons.

Brownlee’s 8.96 RAS is based primarily on a 39 1/2-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-11 broad jump. His 4.59 40-yard dash is also slow for the position, though. Still, he did catch 10 of 25 deep targets for 296 yards and four touchdowns in 2022, including 6-for-9 on contested targets. That is something the Jets might like, especially coupled with his special teams experience.

Xavier Gipson

Unlike the other receivers listed until now, Xavier Gipson played almost exclusively in the slot in college and has a corresponding body type. At 5-foot-9 and 189 pounds, he is known as an after-the-catch receiver.

Gipson played at Stephen F. Austin in college, catching 52 passes for 934 yards and seven touchdowns as a freshman, during which he was named second-team All-Southland Conference. As a sophomore, he was named first-team All-Southland after catching 52 balls for 841 yards and nine touchdowns.

In 2021, Gipson was named the Offensive Player of the Year of the Western Athletic Conference (where Stephen F. Austin had moved) after hauling in 74 receptions for 1,367 yards and 14 touchdowns. He won the award again as a senior in 2022 when he caught 65 passes for 1,163 yards and another seven scores.

One aspect that Gipson brings to the table is in the return game. He averaged 25.4 yards per punt return on 11 attempts in 2022, including two scores. He did also have a muffed punt. He had 21.3 yards per kickoff return on three attempts. Overall in college, he had four punt return touchdowns and two muffed punts. This is something that might intrigue the Jets, as they do not have a surefire punt returner on the roster (though both Cobb and Hardman have previously returned punts). Gipson did not play much in kick or punt coverage, though.

Gipson possesses the more prototypical speed that a team would seek in a slot receiver at 4.42. His 1.46 10-yard split was elite, but his 7.93 overall RAS was subpar. His profile states that while he has a lot of shiftiness after the catch (11.1 YAC per reception in college), he is a very poor route runner and terrible with contested catches.

Gipson sounds rather like a very poor man’s version of Hardman. It’s uncertain if the Jets would want to carry a guy like that, but perhaps they value short-area speed.

T.J. Luther

T.J. Luther was another undrafted free agent, although we didn’t really hear his name during OTAs. He played his college ball at Gardner-Webb, where he didn’t see much playing time until his junior season and did not play in all the team’s games until 2022 as a senior. In his final college season, Luther recorded 63 receptions on 111 targets (56.8%) for 1,168 yards (18.5 per reception) and eight touchdowns. He also had 10 drops at an abysmal 13.7% rate, which partially explains his poor catch rate. Overall in his college career, Luther had a 16.8% drop rate.

At 5-foot-11 1/4 and 189 pounds, Luther was nevertheless primarily an outside receiver in college. He was not much of a contested catch receiver, going 10-for-31 (32.3%) in that area. He is also decidedly not athletic, posting a 5.85 RAS that generally won’t make it in the NFL. Despite his solid 20-yard split of 2.53, his 10-yard split, short shuttle, and three-cone drill were all among the worst put up at the combine. For a receiver, that lack of athleticism likely precludes an NFL career.

To top it all off, Luther barely played on special teams in his college career besides eight kick returns in 2021, including a long of 70 yards. His chances of making the team are slim.

Malik Taylor & Diontae Spencer

Since the pair are listed at receiver on the Jets’ depth chart, it’s worth mentioning Malik Taylor and Diontae Spencer. The pair are both career special-teamers who have rarely seen action in the NFL. Both are practice squad candidates, but neither one has much of a shot to make the Jets’ roster, especially since some of the other receivers have both special teams and receiving capabilities.


Though Saleh pretty much slammed the door on a possible DeAndre Hopkins pursuit (in contrast to his comments about Dalvin Cook, which left the door open to possibly signing him), anything is possible until Hopkins signs elsewhere. There is absolutely no indication that either party is interested, though.

Could the team still make a trade for a receiver or bring in someone else? Anything is possible, but short of Hopkins it’s highly unlikely. They seem ready to roll with their top five and one other receiver.

Who has the edge?

Based on OTAs alone, Kapp seems to have the inside track toward the position. He was the most active on the field. After him, Charles and Brownlee are the two next-most likely candidates due to their special teams experience. There is very little chance Mims will be on the roster. Gipson is a possibility, but his profile as more of a gadget player than a true receiver puts him slightly behind.

Ultimately, it will come down to a camp competition. If I had to guess who the Jets will go with, I maintain that Charles has the inside track because it’s his second year with the team. His experience on special teams and powerful frame give him an edge despite his advanced age relative to the other undrafted free agents.

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Rivka Boord has followed the Jets since the age of five. She is known locally for her in-depth knowledge of football. She hopes to empower young women to follow their dreams and join the sports conversation. Boord's background in analytics infuses her articles with unique insights into the state of the Jets' franchise and the NFL as a whole.
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