Jets counting on Decker to be 'the guy'

In search of a top receiving target this offseason, the Jets think they found their guy in Eric Decker. It remains to be seen whether Gang Green's prized free agent signing can be a legitimate No. 1 option this upcoming season.

As Eric Decker has been deemed the No. 1 option in New York, many are quick to critique the statement that Eric Decker is in fact a top receiver. Most opposing views tend to harp on the fact that much of Decker's success has correlated with the arrival of Peyton Manning.

Decker, coming off an 87 catch, 1,228, 11 touchdown season received a contract this past offseason that places him in the top 15 highest paid wide receivers in football. With a receiving corps that is lacking a true No. 2 option, there is a substantial amount of weight on Decker's shoulders to succeed. Scanning through the Jets other receivers, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone that has even come close to replicating Decker's recent success.

“You’ve got Decker who clearly is the guy, and obvious Jeremy Kerley,” noted Rex Ryan of New York’s wide receiver situation.

“I think the way the receiver situation is now throughout the league, you don’t just have one or two guys anymore. There’s a lot of guys thrown in there. You have a lot more receivers up that are active in today’s game, I think, than you used to.

No matter who was the quarterback behind Decker's success, you can't overlook his talent. Decker is a big, physical receiver, standing at 6-foot-3 with a sculpted frame, his soft hands and ability to use his strength as a weapon has made him a red zone target as well as a first down machine.

Many critics tend to overlook Decker's numbers and claim his success comes from playing with Peyton Manning. However, looking at his former band buddy, Demaryius Thomas, his success didn't come until the arrival of Manning as well. In fact, with Tim Tebow as quarterback before Manning, Thomas only posted a 32 reception season with a mere four touchdowns. Decker, however with Tebow, posted a 44 reception season with eight touchdowns. Decker was the real No. 1 option before Decker came to town, and if he can post eight touchdowns with Tebow at quarterback, a more matured Decker can easily duplicate his success with Geno Smith at the helm.

Most analysts would pencil in Thomas as a top 5 wide reciever with no hesitation. Decker, for whatever reason has often been viewed as the second tier receiver, rather than someone who shared the No. 1 duties with Thomas. Now, Decker will finally have the chance to show the world that he is more than a reality TV star. His veteran leadership and proven track record will help him become a vital part of the Jets' success, and potentially be the best wide reciever the Jets have had since the days of Keyshawn Johnson.


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