Breaking down current wide receiver corps
By Jack Monaghan
May 23, 2017; Florham Park, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) catches a pass during organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
As the New York Jets are currently in organized team activities, here’s a breakdown of their entire wide receiver corps at this point in time.
The New York Jets will be holding a quarterback competition in training camp to determine their next starter under center. Whether it’s Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, or Josh McCown, one thing is for sure, they have quite the wide receiver corps.
From speedy receivers to experienced veterans, the Jets are looking to make their offense be able to score a plethora of touchdowns this upcoming season. Last year, nothing went right as they were unable to capitalize on long drives and well, seemed flat in the red zone.
This time around, the Jets are in a rebuilding phase looking to showcase their younger talent all across the team. At wide receiver, the Jets have plenty of up and coming talent that could very well surprise many this upcoming season.
Without further ado, here’s a breakdown of the entire wide receiver corps of the Jets.
Next: Robby Anderson
Oct 30, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) runs with the ball after a catch as Cleveland Browns cornerback Tracy Howard (41) defends during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Jets won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
After never hearing his name called in last year’s NFL Draft, Robby Anderson was determined to prove the doubters who passed on him wrong, and he did just that in his rookie campaign. After leading the league in receiving during the regular season, Anderson snagged one of the last roster spots and made the most of his opportunities after an injury to Eric Decker provided Anderson with a chance to make himself known.
Anderson particularly shined when Petty took over as the starting quarterback in mid-November as the two had developed a nice repour during training camp. After catching seven passes from Bryce for 175 yards and 2 scores in the Preseason, Anderson hauled in a 52-yard reception in Petty’s first regular season start against the Rams and caught his two touchdown passes of 40 yards against the Indianapolis Colts and the Miami Dolphins. He also had six catches for 99 yards in the Jets come from behind victory against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 14.
With the departure of Brandon Marshall, and the health of Decker still up in the air, the Jets are hoping Robby Anderson can build off his promising rookie campaign, and stamp himself as a key building block for the franchise moving forward.
Next: Quincy Enunwa
Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) hurdles Buffalo Bills cornerback Ronald Darby (28) for a first down during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
After showing flashes of brilliance during the 2015 season, expectations were high for Quincy Enunwa coming into last season. The third-year pro was solid, however, struggled a bit after two terrific games to start the year against the Cincinnati Bengals (7 rec. 54 yards 1 TD) and the Buffalo Bills (6 rec. 92 yards).
He did finish the season with a few strong performances particularly against the New England Patriots in Week 12 (5 rec. 109 yards 1TDd) and in the season finale against Buffalo (5 rec. 81 yards). Like Anderson, the departure of Marshall means whoever’s under center for the Jets this upcoming season will be leaning heavily on Enunwa.
Again, with the health and future of Decker still up in the air as well, it might not be long before Enunwa becomes the No. 1 receiver on the Jets.
Next: Eric Decker
May 23, 2017; Florham Park, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) runs with the ball during organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
After an incredible 2015 season which saw Decker put up terrific stats (80 rec. 1,027 yards 12 TD), the 2016 season was mostly a mute point for the former golden gopher, as he missed the final 13 games of the season due to hip issues that eventually lead to him needing surgery. With Decker no longer a spring chicken (30 years of age) and the Jets seemingly in a rebuilding mode with a roster that features several young receivers, the Jets may choose to mutually part ways with him sometime this summer.
A legitimate argument could be made that with the Jets likely to give plenty of playing to their young quarterbacks in Petty and Hackenberg that you would want to give them at least one established weapon to play with. However, this isn’t the first time Decker has missed significant time because of a nagging injury.
In his first season with the Jets back in 2014, Decker missed some time due to a hamstring injury that seemed to plague him for much of the season. It will be interesting to see which direction the Jets go in with Decker, who on paper and if healthy, is still the team’s most dynamic wide receiver.
Next: Jalin Marshall
After being hyped up during rookie minicamp, and throughout training camp and the preseason as well last offseason, Jalin Marshall’s first NFL campaign was a disappointing one. At 5’11, a lack of size was one of the main reasons why Marshall went undrafted in 2016.
Many thought that it would have benefited his draft stock if he returned to school for his senior year, where he would have been one of the Buckeye’s main receiving threats. Marshall has always had great speed as he ran a 4.6 at the 2017 NFL Combine. The Jets were hopeful that Marshall could use his raw speed to help on special teams, and eventually develop into a solid slot receiver.
After starting the season off well as the team’s punt and kick returner, Marshall began to struggle with fumbles and lost his job after an awful Week 10 performance against the Los Angeles Rams. In his limited reps as a receiver, Marshall failed to impress, and after getting tagged with a suspension for the first four games of the upcoming season, and the Jets drafting wide receivers in both the 3rd and 4th round of this year’s draft, Marshall’s roster spot could be in jeopardy.
It will take an impressive training and pre-season for the Jets hierarchy to overlook Marshall’s suspension and find him a spot on the 53 man roster. As of now, it appears that Gang Green has soured on the second year wideout.
Next: Charone Peake
Jan 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Charone Peake (17) runs past Buffalo Bills safety Corey Graham (20) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Buried behind a depth chart his first few years at Clemson that included Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins, and Martavis Bryant, Peake finally had a breakout year his senior season totaling 50 rec. for 716 yards and three scores.
Still a late round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Peake spent much of his rookie season as the team’s 4th receiver, and even missed a period of time with a concussion.
Even with injuries to Decker and 2015 second round pick Devin Smith, Peake couldn’t get enough first team reps in practice to earn enough playing time his rookie year where he could have made an impact. However, with guys like Enunwa, Anderson, and for now Decker slated ahead of him on the depth chart, Peake will have to turn some shoulders in camp this in order to stick on the Jets roster this upcoming season.
Next: Ardarius Stewart
Nov 26, 2016; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver ArDarius Stewart (13) gets away from Auburn Tigers defensive back Carlton Davis (6) at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Tide defeats the Tigers 30-12. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
After appearing in only six games his freshman season, Ardarius Stewart developed into a star his sophomore and junior campaigns for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. He totaled 12 touchdowns and 1,564 yards receiving and became one of the main targets on offense.
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Stewart also has value on special teams as both a punt and kick returner. His 40 time of 4.50 proves he has the speed to translate into a versatile NFL player.
With Jalin Marshall faltering last year as the team’s primary kick and punt returner, and no other solidified starter at the position currently on the team, Stewart will certainly be given every opportunity to cement himself as the Jets starting punt and kick returner.
Although as mentioned earlier, with Brandon Marshall gone, Devin Smith out for the year with a torn ACL, and the status of Decker still to be determined, Stewart should have plenty of chances to prove his worth as a receiver as well.
Alabama has produced some terrific NFL wideouts over the last several years, with Julio Jones and Amari Cooper. While Stewart is not rated nearly as high of a prospect as Cooper, and Jones were coming out of college, the Jets can only hope that Stewart follows their footsteps, and becomes at least a quality receiver at the next level.
Next: Chad Hansen
May 23, 2017; Florham Park, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen (6) runs with the ball during organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
After playing his freshman at Idaho State, Chad Hansen is quite a feel good story as he became one of college football’s most prolific playmakers this past season. This after receiving little playing time during his first year at Cal with 2016 first round pick Jared Goff as the Golden Bears signal caller.
When senior Davis Webb transferred to Cal from Texas Tech, he took over the reigns as the team’s signal caller and immediately formed an immediate connection with the 6’1 receiver from Fillmore California. Accumulating well over a thousand yards and hauling in double-digit touchdown passes, it catapulted Hansen onto draft boards with many saying he could be a real hidden gem.
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One of the biggest strengths Hansen flashed last year at Cal was his ability to take the top off the defense with his raw speed, but a slow 49 time at the combine caused scouts to raise a few a eyebrows. The Jets could certainly use a deep threat to contemplate Anderson, and their hoping Hansen’s senior season at Cal wasn’t just a flash in the pan.