Florham Park, N.J. – From week one of the 2015 NFL season to leading up to week one of the 2016 NFL season, the New York Jets wide receiver group looks much different. The constants being Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Quincy Enunwa, and Devin Smith. Only this time, Smith begins his season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. With the additions of rookies Robby Anderson, Jalin Marshall, and Charone Peake, along with Myles White on the practice squad, the New York Jets should compete for one of the top passing offenses in the league.
Last season, the receiving core consisted of Marshall, Decker, Enunwa, Smith, Kenbrell Thompkins, Jeremy Kerley, and Chris Owusu. Marshall and Decker combined for 26 touchdowns, the most among NFL receiving duos. Kerley and Smith were the only other receivers with touchdowns, combining for three. The team released Kerley and Owusu after last season. Thompkins was waived to cut down to the 53-man roster after the teams last preseason game while Smith was placed on the PUP list. The team had as many as 11 wide receivers and cut the list down to six.
Brandon Marshall: Cleary is the best receiver the New York Jets have. The 11-year vet had a rejuvenating 2015 season, hauling 109 balls for 1,502 yards and 14 touchdowns. Those numbers are all-time Jets records. With the 109 catches, Marshall registered his sixth 100-reception season in his career, becoming the only player in NFL history to do so. Not only that, he became the third player in NFL history to have at lease 100 catches and 1,500 yards at the age of 31 or older.
Marshall also led the team last year in total points with 84. He was one of two non-kickers last year to lead his team in that category. This record-breaking season got him named to his sixth Pro Bowl and being named by his teammates as the Curtis Martin Team MVP.
“I think Brandon Marshall, when it’s all said and done, is definitely going to be a Hall of Famer,” said Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin told nyjets.com Eric Allen.
Eric Decker: Just as talented as Marshall, but when put together are the most dangerous duo in the game. Decker’s 80 catches, 1,027 yards, and 12 touchdowns were all second behind Marshall. Fellow wide out Anderson said that Decker “is just a smooth receiver, he’s smart.”
Decker is one of the most dangerous red zone receivers, catching 10 of his 12 touchdowns there, tied for third most in the league. Since 2012, Decker is second in the NFL with 31 touchdowns in the red zone, only behind teammate Marshall who has 32. Decker clearly benefits when having another top-tier option for his quarterback to throw to. His numbers increased greatly when Demaryius Thomas broke out in 2012 and also when Marshall was traded to the team last year.
Quincy Enunwa: “[Quincy Enunwa is] a jack of all trades. He’s like the Dennis Rodman on our team. He gets the rebounds, he dives on the floor for loose balls, he does a bunch of things. He can be a wideout, he can be an H-back, he blocks, he catches, he runs deep, he runs short,” head coach Todd Bowles said. Enunwa has proven that he is a jack of all trades. Last season in limited time, he had 22 catches for 315 yards and came up in clutch situations. He proved that this preseason hauling in two catches for 69 yards on a drive against the Jacksonville Jaguars that led to a touchdown.
Enunwa is not only involved in the passing game, but he’s involved in special teams as well. He has a big frame, coming in at 6’2” and weighing 225 lbs. He can make big hits and can make big plays. This is his year to shine, as defensive backs know what Marshall and Decker can do; they don’t know what Enunwa can do.
Robby Anderson: Anderson is one of the more intriguing players to make the team. He went from going undrafted out of Temple to now being a potential No. 4 receiver for New York. That’s because of the unbelievable preseason he had. Anderson had 13 catches for 264 yards, leading all players in receiving yards this preseason. Also, his three touchdowns (two of 40+ yards), were tied for the most in the league.
“Whatever my role is I’m going to embrace it and go all out to accomplish that.”
At Temple, Anderson caught 114 balls for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns. One of the taller receivers on the team (6’3”) he can not only be a danger in the red zone, but has the speed to be a deep-ball threat.
Jalin Marshall: Jalin is another rookie wide receiver that went undrafted in this past NFL Draft. He was always impressive throughout the summer; during rookie minicamp, OTAs, minicamp, and training camp. He lined up on the outside, in the slot, took kick and punt returns. Jalin took plenty of reps with the first team, putting him in a spot to be the No. 4 receiver behind Brandon, Decker, and Enunwa.
Jalin is a bred winner coming from Ohio State. In two years in Columbus, he totaled 1,151 yards from scrimmage as not only a receiver, but as a back. He averaged 13.5 yards per punt return his final year. Jalin was apart of an Ohio State team that won a nation championship in 2014, in which he played a big role. In the preseason, he had 9 catches for 94 yards. On special teams, he returned 6 punts for 21 yards and 2 kickoffs for 116 yards, longest being an 84-yard return.
“[Jalin is] asking questions, he’s answering them, he’s on top of it and I love when a young guy comes in, and is a sponge of the game, wants to learn everything and figure out what his craft is,” said Decker.
Charone Peake: Only rookie receiver to be drafted in the seventh round by the Jets. Peake comes in from Clemson where he played alongside star wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins. He finished his collegiate career with 99 receptions for 1,172 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Peake broke out on to the scene preseason game one against the Jacksonville Jaguars, having four catches for 45 yards and the teams lone receiving touchdown that gave New York the go-ahead in the 2nd quarter. After that, he fizzled a little bit, only catching 6 balls for 58 yards.
Devin Smith: Smith was supposed to be the next big wide receiver for the Jets. He came out of Ohio State with 121 catches for 2,503 yards and 30 touchdowns in four years. Smith has big play explosiveness. Injuries derailed his season early, and he was only able to have nine catches for 115 yards and one touchdown before tearing his ACL. Smith still hasn’t recovered, and is starting the season on the PUP list.
Myles White: White is the lone receiver on the practice squad for New York. He went undrafted and signed with the Green Bay Packers in 2013. He played in seven games and has nine catches for 66 yards. He had a brief stint last year with the New York Giants before signing with the Jets three days ago.