By Alexander C. Lawrence
Jet fans were devastated to learn that New York’s top wide receiver, Quincy Enunwa, will miss the upcoming 2017 season due to neck surgery. It makes the Jets roster look even worse than it already was and may speed up the cheers, or jeers, of “Stink for Sam?” It’s pretty obvious the Jets will miss their top WR since they decided to part ways with Brandon Marshall (NYG) and Eric Decker (TEN) this past offseason. That leaves the Jets with little experience at the WR position.
The big question is who will step up and replace Enunwa in the offense? The simple answer to that is no one. No one possess Enunwa’s combination of experience and talent and expecting one of the young Wideouts to replace him is unreasonable. There are some candidates who may surprise fans this season though.
Robby Anderson is the most likely option to shine, being as most of the rest of the receiving corps is comprised of rookies. His talent level and potential seems to put him at the top of the WR Depth Chart and set him up for a lion’s share of passing targets. Right now, aside from Anderson, the best options Gang Green has are Jalin Marshall and Charone Peake. Jordan Leggett is still getting used to life as the soon-to-be every day tight end going forward. ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen could wind up being nice surprises for the team and believe me there won’t be many bright spots on this team overall.
Robby Anderson doesn’t believe they’ll miss Enunwa too much, but he’ll be eating those words after a few weeks; however it is a big opportunity for Anderson and Co. to make their presence known as to why they should be around for the rebuild long-term. He spent the offseason putting on weight and working out with former teammate Brandon Marshall. It’s time for him to show off his hard work and dedication he put in all offseason.
As for Stewart and Hansen their impact is very much up in the air due to their lack of experience. Hopefully for the Jets at least one will be a quick learner and provide a spark to the offense. Stewart could provide a deep, vertical threat and don’t forget is from Alabama; he was well coached prior to joining the Jets.
Chad Hansen, from California, has always been a good fundamental wide receiver and it was easy for scouts to like him as a complementary receiver in the future, but it looks like he will compete right away for snaps as a number 3 or 4 WR on the depth chart. His route running refinement and excellent hands could even make him a safety valve for whatever Quarterback is at the helm.
Charone Peake says the team may have multiple 1,000 yard WRs on the team in 2017 and, while most people would disagree, credit the man for having confidence despite the loss of Enunwa. That quarterback situation is nothing short of a circus and that doesn’t usually lead to multiple average receivers suddenly breaking-out in and having 1,000 yard seasons. This may be the worst offense in the league; New York would be lucky to see one receiver break the thousand mark, much less several. Peake himself does have upside to be a nice asset in terms of a possession WR this season as the Jets have struggled with dropped passes in the not so distant past.
It will be a tough season, but it will be key for the Jets to find the guys who will produce through the tough season ahead. They will have a solid defense to back them up and keep them in games early on, but wins won’t be an often occurrence in 2017. The expectation should be to see what the Jets have in many of their young, unproven players, especially those at the Wide Receiver position.