Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hill could be Edwards-type WR Jets lacked last year


Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez had a good rapport with receiver Braylon Edwards during the 2009 and 2010 seasons, but Gang Green didn't bring back Edwards last year, instead opting to give Santonio Holmes more money and pick up over-the-hill veterans Derrick Mason and Plaxico Burress.

Burress took the place of Edwards across the field from Holmes, but he didn't serve the same role Edwards did. Burress was a downgrade in many ways, especially in two obvious spots -- the will to go after the tough catch and downfield run blocking.

Edwards played with something to prove, and that, combined with his size, was a great combination for in-traffic catches. He always appeared to put 100 percent into getting after the up-for-grabs footballs. And if he couldn't get to it, he did what he could to make sure the defensive back covering him couldn't, either.

But Burress was a little different. Instead of turning back to defend a pass that was interception-bound, Burress would sort of just stop in his tracks and watch the play happen. Edwards never did that, and it's probably an ego thing. Burress came across as if he was enough of a veteran to not have to do that type of dirty work.

Now, neither player is a Jet, but New York did its best to plug in a guy to fill that Edwards-type role.

The Jets drafted Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill (pictured) in the second round. Hill has a lot of similarities to Edwards. He's a very solid run-blocker (an underrated skill of Edwards) and has the obvious big-play ability. He's a big body that isn't afraid to go up for the jump ball.

Sanchez and Hill already reportedly looked to be on the same level during OTAs in late-May, as Hill was lining up as the No. 2 receiver during practice.

Since the Jets are planning to run the football more this season under new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, they'll probably want to have Hill on the field as much as possible.

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