A year ago at this time Quincy Enunwa was just a former sixth-round pick with modest credentials who had been used mostly as a pseudo-tight end in the Jets' offense. He hadn't had his breakout season yet. And he was very deep in the shadow of some talented veterans on his team.
One year later, he's essentially the elder statesman and potentially the Jets' No. 1 receiver.
"Yeah I know," he said. "It's crazy."
Perhaps. But unless Eric Decker can make a full recovery from hip and shoulder surgery, and as the Jets embark on a full-scale rebuilding project, it's also the truth.
The 24-year-old Enunwa wasn't ready to anoint himself as the Jets' top receiver when he spoke prior to being honored as a Hometown Hero at the United Way's Gridiron Gala in Manhattan Tuesday night. But he did believe he'd be able to improve on his excellent 2016 season. He caught 58 passes for 857 yards and four touchdowns as Decker and Brandon Marshall battled injuries last season.
Now, with a new offensive coordinator (John Morton) and new offensive scheme, Enunwa believes he's able to do even more.
"This year I think I'm going to have an opportunity to a lot more than I was able to do last year," he said. "Last year, I was kind of put in almost a box. I wouldn't be able to do the stuff everyone else was doing because we had guys who were capable of doing it. So now everybody's on a level field. I can go out there and compete and show myself the X position, and hope that I can do more this year."
Some of that will depend on the availability of Decker. But Enunwa may also get a push from behind from a young receiving corps. The Jets already had a stable of what they believe are talented and promising receivers in Robby Anderson, Charone Peake and Jalin Marshall. They also drafted receivers in the third and fourth rounds (Alabama's ArDarius Stewart and Cal's Chad Hansen).
And then there's the question of how much any of them will be able to do with the Jets' unstable quarterback situation. Josh McCown, a 37-year-old journeyman, will likely be their Opening Day starter. But at some point, last year's second-round pick Christian Hackenberg figures to get a shot.
For now, though, Enunwa's not worried about any of that.
"I'm soaking up the offense well and I'm hoping I can improve on last year," he said. "The sky's the limit for me, in my opinion. I just want to go out there and do the best I can."
And if that means doing it as the Jets' No. 1 receiver, that's fine with him. He's just not ready to call himself that yet.
"I just kind of want to go out there and do my job," he said. "Last year I didn't want to come out and say I was going to be the No. 3. This year I don't want to come out and say I'm being the No. 1. I really just want to go out and compete and be a playmaker any way that I can. That's my goal."