Wide receiving core of the Jets has bright future
By Michael Henken
Heading into the 2017 NFL season, a multitude of questions surrounded the New York Jets young offense, specifically around the team’s receiving core, but with only four games remaining this year, it’s clear that the group has a bright future.
Upon the start of the 2017 season, the New York Jets had no clear-cut No. 1 receiver after parting ways with both Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, although Quincy Enunwa, who had a strong 2016 season, was expected to fulfill a larger role for the team
An alumnus of the University of Nebraska, the now 25-year-old Enuwa, who was drafted by the Jets in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, appeared in only one game in his rookie season. He was then suspended for four games in the 2015 season after violating the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy.
After being re-activated following his suspension, Enunwa appeared in 12 games, but only recorded 315 receiving yards. 2016, however, proved to be a breakout year for him, as he finished the season with 58 catches, 857 yards, and four touchdowns.
Given his performance last year, Enunwa was expected to fill a glaring void for the Jets this season, but he was unfortunately placed on injured reserve this past August with a neck injury. It was then revealed that he would miss the entirety of the 2017 season.
With Enunwa sidelined, the Jets had an even bigger hole to fill, and fortunately for the team, more than one receiver has stepped up. In fact, both Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse have established themselves as legitimate threats.
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Anderson, a 24-year-old alum of Temple University, was signed by the Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2016. Although he was a bit overshadowed in his rookie season, he performed well, totaling 42 receptions, 587 yards, and two touchdowns during 16 appearances and eight starts.
This year, however, he’s performed tremendously. Currently, he’s appeared in 12 games, bringing in 49 receptions, while totaling 821 yards and scoring seven touchdowns. Given his age, he has a ton of upside as well.
Kearse, on the other hand, was acquired by the Jets this past September in a deal that sent Sheldon Richardson to the Seattle Seahawks. Like Anderson, Kearse, a 27-year-old alum of the University of Washington, has had a strong season as well. Thus far, he leads the team in receptions with 51. He’s also totaled 677 yards while scoring five touchdowns.
Given the spark that both Anderson and Kearse have provided, it’s clear that the Jets receivers have a bright future, and upon Enunwa’s return, the team will only have more threats and more depth to work with.
In addition, the team’s receiving core along with a young and improving backfield led by Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire provide the Jets with excitement on the offensive side of the ball moving forward.
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Obviously more questions, specifically regarding the quarterback position and the offensive line, need to be answered. At this point in time, the Jets have the building blocks in place to form a young, powerful, and playoff-caliber offense in the years to come.