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USC's Marqise Lee likes potential fit with the New York Jets

USC wide receiver Marqise Lee will be in New York for the first round of the draft Thursday. There's a chance he could end up making the city his home.

Wide receiver is a big need for the New York Jets in this draft, and Lee could appeal to the Jets, who pick 18th in the first round. So, what if the Jets pick him?

"I wouldn't mind," Lee told the New York Post. "If they do, I'll go there and play my butt off."

Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg met with Lee privately before and after his pro-day workout, and Lee visited the Jets' facility. Presumably, one of the things that was talked about was Lee's 2013 season.

Lee (6-foot, 192 pounds) saw his catch total drop from 118 (for 1,712 yards and 14 TDs) in 2012 to 57 (for 791 yards and four TDs) in 2013, when Lee played through injuries. He said injuries were a big reason for his drop in production.

"Unfortunately I had an injury (knee) that I couldn't control," Lee told the Post. "That caused me to miss (three) games and didn't let me perform to my potential. That's really about it."

While he lacks elite speed (he ran the 40 in 4.52 seconds at the combine), Lee is athletic (38-inch vertical jump, a broad jump of 10 feet, 7 inches) and fluid. He also is elusive and did an excellent job as the Trojans' main kick returner in 2012.

Clemson's Sammy Watkins and Texas A&M's Mike Evans are the top two receivers in this draft, and Lee is in the second tier. Some of those second-tier guys are going to go in the first round Thursday night.

"I feel like I'm one of the top guys as far as receivers goes," Lee told the Post. "I know we've got a lot of great receivers that are going to produce in the league. I feel like I'm up there at the top."

He said he is aware that his stature has waxed and waned during the run-up to the draft, and some analysts question whether he can be a No. 1 receiver.

"The more and more I see myself as far as people talking about me, the more and more I get bent back further and further as 'not a good receiver.' But that's just life in general," Lee told USA Today. "I feel like I am the caliber to be that No. 1 receiver. That's my goal: to come in immediately and get it going."

Lee ranks 22nd on NFL Media senior draft analyst Gil Brandt's list of the top 100 prospects, and analyst Daniel Jeremiah has Lee going 26th in the first round, to the Cleveland Browns, in his final mock draft.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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