There will be a lot of competition amongst the New York Jets wide receivers in training camp. This group offers a lot of depth and upside for the 2018 season. Here’s a closer look at what makes the positional group special.
The New York Jets wide receiver corps provided production that came to the surprise of many during last season. After an injury sidelined Quincy Enunwa for the entire season, and a suspension kept Jeremy Kerley off the field, opportunities were presented to younger players.
In just his second year in the NFL, Robby Anderson had himself a very impressive season. He finished the year with 63 receptions for 941 yards and 7 touchdowns. After a trade with the Seattle Seahawks, Jermaine Kearse saw his role expand with Gang Green. Kearse became a reliable target for both Josh McCown and Bryce Petty in 2017, finishing the year with a career-best 65 catches for 810 yards and five touchdowns.
While Kearse and Anderson led the way in 2017, doors were opened for 3rd round pick Ardarius Stewart, and 4th round pick Chad Hansen. Both rookie receivers saw the field for a plethora of snaps in year one of their careers, providing them experience for the future. Here is a closer look at what the Jets receivers could look like in 2018.
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During the free agent process, the Jets were able to add a former teammate of McCown in Terrelle Pryor. In 2016, Pryor was a 1,000-yard receiver, proving that he has the ability to have an impact in the league.
After a gruesome injury kept him sidelined for a majority of 2017, Pryor will look to bounce back with the Jets. His size, athleticism, and skillset offer the Jets another threat that can line up outside and be a big target in the red zone. A healthy Pryor in 2018 could be extremely valuable.
Quincy Enunwa will also be returning from injury this season after neck surgery kept him out of action in 2017. Enunwa was expected to be the Jets primary target last year and was poised for a breakout season. His ability to makes plays after the catch in the open field presents plenty of mismatches.
Many analysts have compared Enunwa’s previous roles with the Jets as a modified tight end. His flexibility allows the team to utilize him in the slot, or even flexed outside the numbers if needed. Enunwa will definitely have an important role in the 2018 offense, and if healthy, can provide the team with plenty of production.
Anderson and Kearse will look to build off their impressive 2017 campaigns. Anderson’s elite speed has made him one of the best big-play threats in the entire league. His ability to run efficient routes has also given cornerbacks extreme difficulty. That has resulted in them having to play soft coverage. A great example came from the Jets 2017 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs, weary of Anderson’s vertical threat, gave him a cushion that allowed Anderson to break off routes underneath, resulting in first downs. If he continues to improve at this rate, the Jets may have found their #1 receiver for years to come.
Kearse offered the Jets a reliable veteran wide receiver in 2017. General manager Mike Maccagnan was able to pull off a trade right before the season, and it paid dividends for the Jets offense. While the wide receiver room will be more crowded this season, Kearse should still be able to offer the Jets reliability and production.
Hansen and Stewart will look to progress in their second years in the league. As mentioned earlier, the duo saw plenty of snaps for their rookie seasons. That experience should play a big role in helping them feel more comfortable in the offensive system. Reports have been going around that Hansen has been extremely impressive during organized team activities for the Jets. Being 3rd and 4th round picks in 2017, the front office definitely sees talent in these two players. The opportunities should be there, it now will be up to them to provide the production.
The Jets receiving corps may not have the flashiest of players, but it certainly has a lot of depth. There is plenty of talent in this group, and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates will find ways to get them all involved. For an offense that many analysts have not been high on, they can surprise a lot of people.