- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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In his latest mock draft, ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. projects a wide receiver for the New York Jets -- hardly a surprise. As for the actual player, Kiper strays from the pack of draft prognosticators, giving them LSU's Odell Beckham Jr.
In this version, Kiper believes Clemson's Sammy Watkins, Texas A&M's Mike Evans and Oregon State's Brandin Cooks will be off the board by the time the Jets are picking at No. 18. With a choice between Beckham and USC's Marqise Lee, he goes with the speedster from LSU.
If this is how it plays out on draft day, it would be a fascinating choice for the Jets -- assuming they still want to pick a receiver in that spot. Beckham and Lee are almost identical in terms of size (both 5-foot-11, listed in the 190s), but Beckham is faster than Lee. In fact, Lee ran a somewhat disappointing 4.52 at the scouting combine, yet chose not to run Wednesday at the USC pro day. He told reporters he's willing to stand on the 4.52.
With a big receiver like Eric Decker (6-3) in the fold, the Jets feel that complementing him with a speed element is the way to go. In that case, Beckham over Lee would be understandable. But Lee is regarded as a more polished receiver than Beckham and, as we all know, 40 times don't always equate to success in the NFL.