Quincy Enunwa is nice receiver with decent size (6-2, 225) who can make tough catches. And his production last season as the Jets' No. 2 receiver after Eric Decker got hurt was unexpectedly good.
But he's never been thought of as one of the players the Jets could least afford to lose. He's never been considered irreplaceable.
And yet he might be exactly that.
It will not be easy for the Jets to replace the 25-year-old Enunwa, who is out for the season with a bulging disc in his neck. But that's less about Enunwa and more about what he left behind on the roster.
Enunwa was the Jets' No. 1 receiver by default after the Jets released both Decker and Brandon Marshall during the offseason. He was really more of a good No. 3 or an adequate No. 2.
But he was No. 1 because the rest of the Jets' receiving corps was a jumble of untested, mediocre, or longshot receivers. The Jets' strategy for building a receiving corps behind Enunwa seemed to be to acquire as many young players as possible, toss them on the field, and see what shakes out.
The result? With Enunwa out, there is no clear No. 1, 2 or 3 receiver on the roster. It's a jumbled mess or a wide-open competition, depending on your perspective.
So here's a quick look at the contenders for the top pass-catching jobs on what might just turn out to be one of the worst offenses of all time.
Robby Anderson (Age: 24, 2nd season, 42 catches, 587 yards, 2 touchdowns) - He's probably the favorite to be the No. 1 receiver now. He had some decent games as the No. 2 receiver last season, including a six-catch, 99-yard performance at San Francisco. The former undrafted free agent needs to add more bulk (he's 6-3, but only 190) and avoid the drops that have plagued him this summer. It's also worth noting he was arrested in the offseason for shoving a police officer. He's due back in court on Sept. 11.
ArDarius Stewart (Age: 23, rookie) - The third-round pick has the power and burst to be a real good NFL receiver eventually. His two biggest issues: 1) there are some who think he's more suited to being a slot receiver, which isn't usually the top receiver's role, and 2) he had thumb and groin surgery in June and missed most of the organized team activities and minicamp, so he's playing catch-up.
Chad Hansen (Age: 22, rookie) - The Jets really seem to like this fourth-rounder who has the size (6-2, 202) and skills to eventually be their No. 1 receiver. But the Jets always viewed him as a bit of a long-range project, and that was before a leg injury shortened his spring. He's just not ready for the top spot right now.
Charone Peake (Age: 24, 2nd season, 19-186-0) - He had one decent game last season (5-43-0 in Week 6 at Arizona, and that was it. The athletic potential of this 6-2 209-pounder has always exceeded his actual production. He looks like a No. 1 receiver, but likely will remain a No. 3 or 4.
Chris Harper (Age: 23, 3rd season, 14-139-0) - On his third team in three years, he's caught some eyes at training camp this summer, including with a 55-yard touchdown in the Green & White scrimmage (albeit when cornerback Buster Skrine fell in coverage). He's small (5-11, 185). Given this roster, they could do worse at the No. 3 spot.
Jalin Marshall (Age: 22, 2nd season, 14-162-2) - He almost certainly cost himself a spot in the top receiving groups (if not a job) when he was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL's policy on performance enhancing drugs. If he's going to stick around, he's more likely to do it as a kick returner at this point.
Marquess Wilson (Age: 24, 5th season, 56-777-3) - He's a longshot, but he is the most accomplished receiver left on the Jets' roster. The 6-0, 206-pounder spent four seasons in Chicago, but he was plagued by injuries including a thrice-broken foot. If he's healthy, he could be a factor. But he's also playing catch-up since he only signed in late June.
Other in-house candidates - The Giants saw some potential in Myles White in 2015 when he caught seven passes for 88 yards and a touchdown, but he's been mostly a practice squadder with four different teams in four NFL seasons. … Cowboys castoff Lucky Whitehead had only nine catches in his first two seasons and was plagued by immaturity in Dallas. … Frankie Hammond spent most of his three seasons in Kansas City on the practice squad. … The Jets already cut Deshon Foxx in May, but re-signed him two weeks later when Devin Smith was placed on IR. … And while undrafted free agent Gabe Marks caught more passes (316) than anyone in Pac 12 history, the 5-11, 189-pounder has a long way to go just to make the Jets roster.
The (free agent) field - Don't get excited and first ask yourself: Why are these guys still free agents one month before the opener? For example, both Vincent Jackson and Stevie Johnson would be nice additions if this were four years ago. Now, they are attempting to return from knee injuries while in their 30s. Eddie Royal is in basically the same boat, coming off foot surgery. Maybe their best hope would be to take a chance on a troubled-but-talented player like Dorial Green-Beckham. He's 6-5, 237, he's only 24, but there's a lot of on- and off-field baggage there. As for the rest of the options on the open market? Believe it or not, the Jets might be better off with what they already have.