With the New York Jets opening the season in just a few weeks, we will break down the depth charts of each position in order to look at how the Jets stack up as they prepare for the 2016 NFL season. First up, wide receiver.
Starters: Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker
Situational: Kenbrell Thompkins, Quincy Enunwa,
Backups / Special Teamers*: Kyle Williams, Chandler Worthy, Jalin Marshall*, Jeremy Ross*, Robby Anderson, Devin Smith (PUP candidate), Charone Peake
Overall Analysis: There's no question that Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker were the engines that drove this offense in 2015. Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey knows what he has in Decker and Marshall, but as the emergence of Bilal Powell showed at the end of last season, adding a viable third target to the offense unlocked so much more for this team. So, Gailey must know he can confidently distribute the ball a little more evenly this year thanks to the addition of Matt Forte along with the younger situational and backup players on this roster. Expect Marshall and Decker to still see the lion's share of targets this year, but expect them to be used with a little more versatility this season. And should one of the players need to take a game or series off, the team won't be bogged down into a one-man-band situation like Decker had to deal with in 2014.
Mushy Middle: When Chan Gailey started rolling out his depth chart last summer we were surprised to see how little room he had for smaller receiver Jeremy Kerley. This year, prospective special teamer Jalin Marshall might be the only receiver under six feet left on the roster after cutdowns.
Thanks to the emergence of Quincy Enunwa and Kenbrell Thompkins since last summer, the roster looks in a much better spot at receiver in terms of depth. There's still room for improvement, but a lot of that will come down to how Enunwa and Thompkins play. Last year Enunwa was used extensively as an extra blocker due to Jace Amaro's season-ending injury. This year he might build on that role as a receiver if Amaro can effectively take over some of those snaps while Enunwa's physical style begins to translate from his workhorse days as a Cornhusker.
While Thompkins has been quiet in camp he, not Enunwa, is the one listed on the depth chart behind Brandon Marshall. While Thompkins might be best remembered from last season for some unfortunately timed mental mistakes, he had some clutch catches at the end of last season and might be the one called to take on more targets if one of the starters has to miss a game.
Name to Watch: How about I give you two names? Jalin Marshall has been lighting up practices and seems poised to take a special teams return role this fall. Seventh round draft pick Charone Peake was a surprise addition to the roster and is a raw talent. Given the health concerns of Devin Smith, Peake could be an interesting early season substitute version of Smith until the 2015 second rounder gets back to full health and football form.