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Jets' Corey Davis welcomes pressure of being No. 1 receiver

Jets wide receiver Corey Davis during training camp

Jets wide receiver Corey Davis during training camp at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, N.J. on Aug. 11. Credit: Noah K. Murray

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Corey Davis wants the ball, wants to be a No. 1 receiver and he is prepared for everything that comes with it.

The Jets signed Davis to a three-year $37.5 million contract to be their go-to guy at critical times. Davis, who makes his Jets debut Sunday in Carolina, plans to prove that the franchise made a very good investment.

"I’m real excited," Davis said. "I believe … I know that I’m a No. 1 receiver in this league. It’s great that they saw that during free agency. But I’m ready for it."

Davis, 26, caught 207 passes for 2,851 yards and 11 touchdowns in four seasons with the Titans. The No. 5 pick in the 2017 draft out of Western Michigan, he never had a 1,000-yard season and was Tennessee’s leading receiver just once.

The Titans have a workhorse back that they feed in Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown was their clear-cut No. 1 the past two seasons.

There’s no doubt Davis is the Jets’ No. 1 now.

"I’ve always thought of myself as a No. 1 receiver," he said. "I just got to go out there and prove it to the league."

The Jets haven’t had a 1,000-yard receiver since Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker surpassed that total in 2015.

Their offense under new coordinator Mike LaFleur is expected to be run-heavy. They don’t want to put too much on rookie quarterback Zach Wilson’s plate too soon. But they plan to use the run to open up play-action passes.

Davis is a nice security blanket for Wilson, but the receiver has shown he’s much more than that to the Jets.

"I can gush for the next five minutes," coach Robert Saleh said about Davis. "From a coach’s standpoint, when you draw up a player you can’t draw it up better than him with his mindset, the way he prepares every day, the way he goes about his business, the way he talks to his teammates, the way he takes care of himself, just all of it.

"He’s been everything we expected as a free-agent pickup. They don’t always work out that way. Knock on wood, he’s been awesome."

Wilson said Jets players look up to Davis for the way he handles and carries himself.

"He never complains about anything," Wilson said. "You’re never calling on him in meetings for not giving enough effort on a play. Guys see that and everyone is just like, ‘Geez, look at Corey, this guy’s always doing the right thing.’ I think he’s bringing guys along with him.

"What makes him a No. 1 receiver is just that, he’s physically blessed. He’s got good size on him, he catches the ball well, he knows how to run routes."

Davis is the unquestioned leader of a young receiver group. The players voted him a captain this week, an honor that Davis called "amazing." He said he made a conscious effort of becoming more of a leader with his new team.

"Definitely, I wanted to evolve as a person and as player as well," Davis said. "Being a leader is part of that. We have a young team, a young wideout corps. A lot of these guys lean on me. That’s something that I want. I want that pressure. I’m ready for it."

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