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Grading the 2017 wide receiver situation

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 23: Quincy Enunwa #81 of the New York Jets runs for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium on October 23, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 23: Quincy Enunwa #81 of the New York Jets runs for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium on October 23, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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The New York Jets have one of the league’s weakest offenses. The receiving corps happens to be a major contributor to that.

The New York Jets purged their roster over the course of the offseason and the position that obviously took the biggest hit was wide receiver. General manager Mike Maccagnan parted ways with all-pro Brandon Marshall in early March and Eric Decker in June. The second move is a complete head-scratcher.

It makes sense to cut him if you’re looking to tank for a top pick, but why in June? According to multiple reports, the decision seems to be one made by owner Woody Johnson . Most fans are not fond of Johnson, so the releasing of Decker and David Harris only added fuel to their fire. Let’s take a look at what he left over.

Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Charone Peake, ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen seem to be locks to make the roster. The only problem is none of them are older than 25 and experience is minimal. We assume Maccagnan will keep six or seven spots, meaning veterans Marquess Wilson, Devin Street, and Myles White will battle it out in camp and the preseason. Wilson has trouble staying healthy while Street, Harper, and White didn’t pan out for their respective teams.

The rest of the unit is incredibly weak. Jalin Marshall is in line to be back, however, he has to serve a four-game suspension. KD Cannon, Deshon Foxx, Frankie Hammond and Gabe Marks are the other four wideouts. Cannon is an undrafted free agent, Foxx is a sophomore out of Connecticut, Hammond was a practice squad man in Kansas City and Marks is a rookie out of Washington State.

The Jets would be kidding themselves if they expect to survive with this core. Better yet, their quarterback may have the toughest time surviving. Therefore, don’t expect big numbers out of this group in the fall. The goal here should be player development and at least Gang Green will get plenty of that. Some of these guys do have hope in the NFL based on their track records in previous seasons and in their college careers.

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Enunwa at first looked like another disappointment in the infamous “Idzik 12,” but he strung together underrated 2015 and 2016 campaigns to put himself at the top of the depth chart.

He totaled 1,172 yards and four touchdowns on 80 catches in those two years. Anderson, on the other hand, scratched and clawed his way onto the team last summer. He earned significant snaps as the weeks went on and finished with 42 receptions for 587 yards and two touchdowns.

Stewart and Hansen can, of course, thrive in this league as well. Stewart balled out in his junior season at Alabama, racking up 864 yards and eight touchdowns on 54 catches. Hansen was even more impressive. His conference (Pac-12) isn’t known for its defense, although he posted video game numbers. The California Bear had 92 receptions for 1,249 yards and 11 touchdowns. If he gets coached up the correct way by new offensive coordinator John Morton, he could be looked back as one of the biggest steals in the 2017 NFL Draft.

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The bottom line is that we see what some of these players are capable of and how much mileage they have, but there’s simply too much inexperience. Everyone knows this bunch isn’t going to win the Jets many games. The more important result is the progress made from the season’s start to New Year’s Day.

Grade: D

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