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Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Kiper mock 1.0 reaction: Jets

By Rich Cimini

Mock draft season is upon us, with ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. serving up his 1.0 version Insider. His projection for the New York Jets at No. 18: USC wide receiver Marqise Lee.

I can almost hear the cheers among Jets fans at Radio City. I can also hear some boos.

Without a doubt, Lee would address the team's No. 1 need. After finishing 31st in passing offense, the Jets absolutely need a dynamic playmaker on the perimeter. Could Lee be that guy? Based on his 2012 performance, yes. It was a monster year, as he finished with 118 catches, 1,721 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns and became the first receiver in school history to win the Biletnikoff Award. But his numbers dropped significantly in an injury-plagued 2013: 57 catches, 791 yards and four touchdowns.

There is also a stigma attached to former USC receivers. For whatever reason, they struggle in the NFL. From all indications, Lee has the heart and work ethic to succeed at the next level. A player in his position -- a disappointing final season -- needs to wow talent evaluators in the pre-draft process. Get ready for four months of Lee-to-the-Jets speculation.