How Braylon Edwards completes Jets' offense
October, 7, 2009
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
The New York Jets went into 2009 with one of the NFL's best offensive lines, two Pro Bowlers in their backfield, a dangerous tight end and a potential star at quarterback.
The only missing element was the big-play receiver.
The Jets finally snagged him Wednesday morning, swinging a deal with the Cleveland Browns to acquire Braylon Edwards for receiver Chansi Stuckey, special-teamer Jason Trusnik and two undisclosed picks.
I phoned Scouts Inc. analyst Matt Williamson to ask what he thought adding Edwards would do for the Jets' offense. Williamson was amazed by the trade.
"That offense is now complete," Williamson said, "and for the long haul, too."
|Rex Brown/Getty Images|
|The addition of Braylon Edwards fills a void in the Jets' offense.|
The addition of Edwards will impact every facet of the Jets' offense. You think coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is smiling?
Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez now has a go-to guy when he needs to stretch the field or for jump balls in the end zone. He puts Jerricho Cotchery in a more natural No. 2 receiver role. He backs off the safeties to give tight end Dustin Keller more room to get open. With fewer defenders near the line of scrimmage, running backs Thomas Jones and Leon Washington will get some space, too.
"That was the one hole in this offense," Williamson said. "That was the best way they could go out to fill it."
We don't yet know what draft picks the Jets will part with, but even if one of them was their first-round pick for next year, Williamson thinks the Jets won this trade hands down.
Given the Jets' promising 3-1 start, they probably won't be drafting in the top 10 next spring.
"If they were to use a first-round pick on a receiver -- let's say it's No. 25 overall -- it wouldn't be an elite prospect," Williamson pointed out. "It would be a B-type guy, not an A-type guy. And rookie receivers don't do well. It usually takes them a while.
"Now you get the guy immediately. You're a contender. The defense is there. The running game should be there. The peripheral receiving options look really strong between Cotchery and Washington and Keller. That's a lot to throw at people, and I think Sanchez can digest it all and make his progression even smoother."
Edwards, however, has been erratic. He had a monster 2007 campaign: 80 receptions for 1,289 yards and 16 touchdowns.
But for the past couple of years he has been plagued by dropped passes and off-the-field incorrigibility that made Browns fans shake their heads in disgust.
Elias Sports Bureau counted 14 drops for Edwards last year with 55 catches, an outlandish drops-to-receptions ratio of 1 to 4.
"Coming off that 2007 season, I was about ready to anoint him," Williamson said. "He has it in him. He needs to cut down on the drops. He needs to be more consistent. There's no doubt about that.
"But his supporting cast hasn't helped him. There's not many guys out there you look at physically and producing in this league I would say 'He can be No. 1,' but Braylon's one of them. From that regard, it's a tremendous move.
"The Jets are a contender. It's early enough in the year that it might take him a month to get acclimated, but so what? You have him for the stretch run. You have him for the playoffs, where he's clicking with everybody."
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