A year ago Jaydon Mickens led the Huskies in receptions with 65, was second in receiving yardage with 688, and second in touchdown receptions with 5. He was a pivotal piece of UW's offense because he was the perfect target for making the Huskies' behind the line of scrimmage passing game as effective as it was. His hands transformed from inconsistent as a freshman to reliable as a sophomore, while his speed and quickness allowed him to avoid defenders and turn quick passes into nice chunks of yardage.
You could make the argument, with Kasen Williams coming off of his devastating leg injury, that Mickens is at this moment the team's best receiver. We'll see exactly how Jonathan Smith and Chris Petersen use Mickens in 2014, but his strength is in his versatility: he can keep the offense moving with his ability to turn a short pass into a first down, he's been a danger stretching defenses deep at times, and he also has the ability to take the ball out of the backfield. The only real way to misuse him is to not use him at all.
Because of the losses to the NFL of Kevin Smith, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and Bishop Sankey, as well as Damore'ea Stringfellow's transfer, the WR corps is without a ton of returning production. Mickens's 2013 production represents nearly 43% of UW's total returning receiving yardage and 48% of the team's total returning receptions from a year ago. There are many reasons to be confident that UW's receivers will be just fine in the coming year, and the fact that Mickens is coming back is a big one. If the receivers are going to produce at the level they'll need to for UW to be a successful Pac-12 offense Jaydon Mickens playing at or above the standard he set as a sophomore is going to be an important factor.