Without Quincy Enunwa, Jets have lengthy list of unproven wide receivers

New York Jets

The New York Jets were the recipients of devastating news on Monday when they learned wide receiver Quincy Enunwa would miss the entire 2017 season after suffering a neck injury during Saturday’s practice. Enunwa, who led the Jets with 857 receiving yards and four touchdowns, leaves the team with a lack of weapons on offense.

Who exactly does Gang Green have at the wide receiver position? Let’s take a look at which players are on the roster and what they’ve done in the NFL.

Tier 1: The frontrunners

Robby Anderson: The 2016 undrafted free agent seems like the most qualified player to line up as New York’s No. 1 wide receiver this season. He has had the most success with the Jets — racking up 42 catches for 587 yards and a pair of scores — the best stats for any player still left on the roster. He also made some highlight-reel catches, both in the preseason and the regular season. The big question regarding Anderson is whether or not he’s ready to take on top cornerbacks as the No. 1 receiver.

Charone Peake: Excluding Enunwa, Peake is one of just three players who has caught a pass as a Jet. That’s why he’s a frontrunner for the No. 2 receiver slot. The 2016 seventh-round pick may not be as talented as the pair of rookies New York drafted, but he has a vital year of NFL experience. Once New York’s playoff aspirations were fully diminished, Peake got an opportunity. Over the final four weeks of the regular season, Peake caught six passes for 77 yards.

Tier 2: The rookies

ArDarius Stewart: The 2017 third-round pick out of Alabama was a bit slow to contribute in training camp due to thumb and groin surgeries. Now that he’s healthy and participating fully, Stewart instantly becomes a candidate to start for Gang Green. His shiftiness and size make him an option in the slot, but he also has the competitive fire as a pass catcher to play on the outside. The biggest questions are his health and the potential learning curve that comes with the jump to the NFL.

Chad Hansen: The 6-foot-2 California product has the size to play on the outside in the NFL and has flashed some of those skills during training camp. He has been prone to growing pains — including a false start and drop during 11-on-11 drills last week — but has as much upside as any wide receiver on the roster. He was a fringe Day 2 prospect that slipped into the fourth round for the Jets’ taking.

Tier 3: The special teamers

Lucky Whitehead: The Jets were lucky to even get Whitehead (pun completely intended) after he was foolishly cut by the Cowboys following a false accusation for theft. Ever since he joined the team at the start of training camp, he has been a staple in punt return drills, where he spent most of his time as a Cowboy. The 25-year-old has returned 44 punts for an average of 6.9 yards and 33 kicks for an average of 25.6 yards.

Jalin Marshall: The biggest knock against Marshall’s chance to earn many reps this year is the four-game suspension he must serve to begin the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He had a decent 2016 season as a receiver and earned a chance as New York’s punt and kick returner. He shined a bit in that realm, even returning a kick 65 yards, but his fumbling issues are a reason for concern.

Frankie Hammond: Hammond is one of the few players who has actually caught a ball in an NFL regular season game. His best chance to make the roster could be as a returner, however. During the Green & White Scrimmage, Hammond and Whitehead alternated returning punts. Hammond never got a chance to show off his return skills; he fair caught each punt he received.

Tier 4: The fringe guys

Chris Harper: A solid training camp, including a 55-yard touchdown reception during the Green & White Scrimmage, could propel Harper toward the top of the list of fringe players. If the Jets elect to keep one special teamer (excluding Marshall, who won’t start the year on the active roster), it opens up at least one roster spot for a fringe player. The third-year pro from Cal may be that guy.

Marquess Wilson: Surprisingly, Wilson has the most experience of any Jets wide receiver. The 2013 seventh-round pick has played four seasons, all with the Chicago Bears, while no other Jet has played more than two seasons in the pros. Still just 24 years old, Wilson has the most catches for any receiver on the roster (56) and the most receiving yards (777), excluding Enunwa.

Myles White: The 27-year-old is one of six Jets on the roster with at least 100 career receiving yards. White played briefly with the Packers (2013) and Giants (2015) in reserve roles, hauling in 16 passes for 154 yards.

Deshon Foxx: The versatile playmaker from Connecticut was an undrafted free agent in 2016 who originally signed with the Seattle Seahawks. With the Huskies, Foxx was a triple threat — returning punts, catching the ball and running the ball — and even played a bit of quarterback.

Gabe Marks: Marks is the all-time Pac-12 leader in receptions, but went undrafted in 2017 apparently because of Washington State’s pass-heavy offense that inflated his numbers. He was held out of the Green & White Scrimmage with a hamstring injury.

About Max Marcilla

Max is a sophomore broadcast journalism major at the University of Maryland. He is the news director for WMUC Sports, a reporter for The Left Bench TV and the co-owner of New York Jet Fuel, a site dedicated to covering the New York Jets. You can contact Max at mmarcilla98@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @MMarcilla98.

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