BY NICK ST. DENIS
Jeremy Kerley has emerged as Geno Smith's most reliable target, and in doing that, he's emerged as one of the best third-down receivers in the NFL.
Kerley, who leads the New York Jets in receptions with 24, receiving yards with 319 and receiving first downs with 19, is coming off one of the most impactful games of his career.
The third-year slot receiver hauled in eight receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown in Gang Green's victory over the New England Patriots. More importantly, six of his receptions were third-down conversions.
"Jeremy was just finding ways to get open," Smith said earlier this week, via TheJetsBlog. "… I believe he’s a really good slot [receiver] and he always finds ways to get open. He makes yards after the catch and he’s one of those guys you can depend on.”
With Kerley's half dozen third-down conversion catches tacked onto his total, he now is tied for second in the NFL in that category with 12.
Vincent Jackson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is the only receiver with more first down catches on third down, totaling 13 of that kind so far this year, according to STATS.com. Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown, like Kerley, has a dozen to his name.
Last season, Indianapolis Colts wideout Reggie Wayne led the league in third-down conversion receptions with 29.
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