QB Geno Smith‘s lack of weapons in 2013 fueled the New York Jets‘ approach to loading up on offensive targets during the NFL Draft last weekend. There were three receivers and a tight end drafted by GM John Idzik, but the rookie being talked about the least has the best opportunity to shine.
Quincy Enunwa, the Jets’ sixth-round selection out of Nebraska, was chosen after New York already added three receivers earlier in the draft. TE Jace Amaro, WR Jalen Saunders and WR Shaq Evans all were snagged as targets for New York’s evolving offense.
Amaro is the big-bodied receiving TE out of Texas Tech who is capable of dominating the middle of the field in a Jimmy Graham kind of way. Saunders is an undersized, yet confident receiver out of Oklahoma who plays larger than his height would indicate. Evans is a well-rounded receiver from UCLA who many think will thrive in the West Coast offense that the Jets utilize.
In steps Enunwa, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound chiseled and dominating receiver.
The kid evokes Anquan Boldin comparisons, and who wouldn’t want that kind of player lining up outside at the Z-position for a young quarterback? Enunwa blazed a 4.45 40-time at the combine and sports a ridiculously muscular frame that enables him to wall off would-be defenders.
Additionally, Enunwa is a beast with the rock in his hands after the catch. He will never be confused for a burner, but his speed does allow him to separate from pursuit and go the distance in the open field. He has a good vertical too, which will make him a serious red zone target for Smith.
Enunwa will have a tough ladder to climb during training camp as the Jets have several players competing for a couple of receiver slots. Not being blessed with the surest of hands or being a threat on special teams won’t help Enunwa’s cause. He often catches with his body rather than his hands, which lead to a lot of catchable balls being dropped.
While at Nebraska, Enunwa was a steady force and eventual captain of the 2013 squad. He was able to pull in 12 TDs last season in an offensive scheme that is run-based and option-heavy. This system is not the kind of scheme that allows receivers to dominate and put their skills on display.
However, when given the chance, Enunwa did add to the highlight reel, as shown by his 99-yard reception against Georgia in the 2014 Gator Bowl. Nebraska’s offense did enable Enunwa to become a strong blocker, which is an added bonus seeing as the Jets want to run more. Enunwa’s football IQ is very high, and his non-stop motor will have him battling every play in order to move the chains.
Again, images of Boldin can’t help but surface when seeing him in action. If Boldin doesn’t do it for Jet fans, then how about Braylon Edwards sans attitude issues?
Eric Decker has one outside receiver position locked down and Jeremy Kerley is a beast in the slot, but the Jets still need that receiver opposite Decker on the outside. The jury is still out on Stephen Hill, and there is a chance the third-year receiver could be a victim of the numbers game. Greg Salas was thrust into games out of necessity and lack of options in 2013. David Nelson is the most promising of the three, as his size and hands helped him carve out a niche last season.
Enunwa is staring up at the previous mentioned crop of receivers looking to capitalize where he can. The other two rookies are smaller and a little more shifty, whereas the veterans are similar in skillset to Enunwa, so the competition will be fierce. Fortunately, Enunwa is also a natural leader with an outstanding work ethic.
This work ethic will need to be practiced at all times for Enunwa to earn a spot on the 53-man roster. Fortunately, he enters the mix at a time when there are two spots up for grabs, and lots of question marks with current veterans Hill and Salas. Enunwa might not have been the name that was most spoken about during the draft, but he is definitely a name that will be popular as camp rolls through the summer.
Don’t be surprised when No. 18 is lining up against the Oakland Raiders on September 7.