New York Jets: Can Eric Decker Represent a No. 1 Wide Receiver?
Sep 15, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) jumps to make a catch while being defended by Buffalo Bills cornerback Ronald Darby (28) during the second half at New Era Field. The Jets beat the Bills 37 to 31. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

With Brandon Marshall now wearing blue, we ponder whether or not Eric Decker can represent the New York Jets No. 1 wide receiver.

The debate about whether or not Eric Decker can be a true number one receiver is nothing new. But with Brandon Marshall being released and signing with the New York Giants. The New York Jets will need Decker to be their number one wideout this season.

That’s if the Jets still have Decker on the roster for next season, of course

While with the Denver Broncos, Decker put up some monstrous numbers. In four seasons in Denver, Decker racked up 222 receptions for 3,070 yards. Furthermore, he was no stranger to the end zone as he hauled in 33 touchdown receptions.

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Why am I bringing up his numbers with the Broncos? Well, to show he had great success but he was not the team’s number one receiver. The Broncos employed Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas. Having that many weapons certainly gives you more one-on-one opportunities, which Decker is, obviously, able to take advantage of when presented.

It also helps when you have the great Payton Manning throwing the pigskin to you.

Just look at his success in the year 2013. Decker had 1,288 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns. Once again, cannot stress enough the important factor of having other weapons working with him like he had with the Broncos that year.

Just look at the difference in his production the next year in 2014 when he joined the New York Jets. He was the team’s number one receiver and didn’t have the weapons around him like he had in Denver. He finished under the 1,000-yard mark (962 to be exact) and only five touchdowns.

His numbers easily could have been worse if it wasn’t for the colossal performance against the Miami Dolphins in week 17 of that year. He had 10 receptions for 221 yards and a touchdown in that game, which made his numbers appear better than they were for that season.

For the 2015 season look what happened to his numbers when the New York Jets made the trade for Brandon Marshall. Decker instantly became the team’s number two receiver and with Marshall attracting so much attention, his numbers soared. Decker had 80 receptions for 1027 yards and 12 touchdowns.

The sample size of Decker being the number one receiver on a team is small. But 2017 will be another chance to prove those wrong that don’t believe he is a number one guy.

Personally, I don’t believe that Decker is a true number one wideout. That’s not saying he is not a productive receiver because he is. But when you think of number one guys you think of players like Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Mike Evans, OBJ or even Marshall.

When you think of these guys you know they are players that can produce even when they are going against the opposing teams best defensive backs or being double teamed. Decker has not proved he can do this.

And not to mention that Decker is coming off of two surgeries. One is to fix his torn rotator cuff and the other to fix his bum hip. Who knows how he is going to be able to recover from these surgeries.

The New York Jets need Decker to put up number one receiver stats. But that is most likely not going to happen unless perhaps players like Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson can become bigger threats to take less attention away from Decker.

So can Decker be a true number one receiver? Time will only tell and all eyes will certainly be on him this season.

Originally from Long Island, Matt grew up as a die heart Yankees, Jets, Knicks, and Rangers fan. Matt moved to South Carolina when he was 13, but this did not stop him from watching his favorite teams. He graduated with a Bachelor degree in Mass Communications from the University of South Carolina Upstate. Other than a contributor for Elite Sports NY, Matt was a former writer for Skyscrapersports and currently is a writer and co-host for The Assist Podcast. He is also a sports reporter for Greer Today.