Despite having a promising group of wide receivers heading into the 2017 NFL Draft, the New York Jets were looking to add more to the unit. With their third round pick, the Jets selected wide receiver ArDarius Stewart out of Alabama, and most thought that would be their only selection of a receiver. However, one round later, the team saw too much value in California wide receiver, Chad Hansen, to pass up.
After receiving only one collegiate scholarship offer, Hansen went to play at Idaho State for the 2013 season. He put up solid numbers there before deciding to transfer to Cal a year later. Unfortunately, he had to sit out for the 2014 season because of his transfer. In his first season at Cal, Hansen was nothing more than a role player, but things would soon change. Hansen had an absolute breakout 2016 season earning second team all-conference honors in the PAC-12. He caught 92 passes for 1,249 yards and 11 touchdowns despite missing two games with an ankle injury. His stellar 2016 season put him right in the middle of the day two conversation for the draft. Fortunately for New York, the twenty two year old slipped to the fourth round where the Jets added him to their already talented receiving core. Let’s take a further look at some of the intricacies of Hansen’s game.
Quite good size at 6’2” 202 lbs
Overall good speed and athleticism, deceptively good acceleration
Has tremendous, strong hands and natural pass catcher
A master in jump-ball situations, does an excellent job tracking the ball in the air
Has a great catch radius
Shows good ability to get a step on DB with quick, initial moves as soon as he comes off the line of scrimmage. Good footwork.
Ran a relatively basic route tree at Cal
Needs to expand upon his route running ability
His blocking will need to improve
Lacks pure strength
Gets manipulated by DB’s too often and has to improve separation
Almost solely lined up on the perimeter of the right side at California
What will his role be with the Jets: For a receiving prospect as dynamic as Hansen, there are several spots where he could’ve landed that he’d be guaranteed some type of role. Due to the depth of the Jets’ receiving corps though, he’ll have to earn a spot towards the top of the depth chart. Training camp should be an all out battle between this feisty group of receivers. Expect Hansen to enter camp towards the bottom part of the depth chart while he finds his role.
Grading The Pick: A
As I mentioned earlier, Hansen was widely expected to be a day two pick, so the Jets were understandably thrilled when he fell to them in the fourth round. Hansen’s a big, dynamic target with the tools to be a very good perimeter receiver at some point. He’s outstanding in jump-ball situations as he has a large catch radius, great hands, and he is great at tracking and adjusting to the football. He has some things to work on technically, but all in all, this was a great value pick for the Jets.