Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Beckham, Lee: Receivers on Jets' radar
By Rich Cimini
The hottest wide receiver in the draft not named Sammy Watkins is Odell Beckham Jr., who reportedly has multiple teams (including the New York Jets) trying to trade up for him. A not-so-hot receiver is Marqise Lee, whose disappointing season may have hurt his stock.
There they were Wednesday, standing about 50 feet apart during a pre-draft interview session in Lower Manhattan. They're believed to be on the Jets' target list, along with fellow receiver Brandin Cooks. There's a good chance Lee and Cooks will be available with the 18th pick -- if the Jets keep the 18th pick.
Lee could turn out to be a bargain at 18. Going into the 2013 season, the former USC star was projected as a top-10 pick, coming off a monster year (118 catches for 1,721 yards) in which he won the Biletnikof Award as the top receiver in the country. But he injured his knee, missed three games and was hampered in others.
"I wasn't able to do the things I did in the 2012 season," said Lee, who finished with only 57 receptions for 791 yards. "I was kind of restricted as far as movement-wise. It was something I couldn't control. If I could control it, I'd never be in a situation where people are having that debate, 'Is Marqise as good as he was in 2012?'"
The Jets have done a lot of homework on Lee. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg attended his pro day, and they had him to Florham Park to meet with team officials. As for Beckham, the Jets have plenty of intel on him. His former special-teams coach at LSU -- Thomas McGaughey -- is now the Jets' special teams coach. They got a chance to reminisce on his recent visit to the Jets' facility.
Asked if he expects McGaughey to lobby on his behalf, Beckham smiled. He'd rather stay out of the prediction business.
"Every team seems interested. They all say they're going to take you," he said. "You never really know who's looking at you."
Beckham passed on an opportunity to proclaim himself the best receiver in the draft, as others have done. Scouts are smitten with his NFL-ready skills, his explosiveness and fluidity as a route runner.
"My film speaks for itself," he said. "It's really all about what a team needs and what a team likes."
The Jets need a receiver. And, make no mistake, they like Beckham. A lot.