Quincy Enunwa ahead of schedule, expects to contribute in OTAs

Jets receiver Quincy Enunwa is feeling good after missing all of last season with a neck injury. Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports

For a team that finished 24th in scoring last season, the New York Jets haven't added any dynamic pieces at the skill positions. The top newcomers, Isaiah Crowell and Terrelle Pryor, combined for two touchdowns last season. Truth be told, their best "new" player isn't so new at all.

Quincy Enunwa, wide receiver.

After missing last season because of a preseason neck injury that required surgery, Enunwa's expected return should provide a boost to what appears to be a pedestrian offense -- on paper, anyway. Coming off a 58-catch, 857-yard season in 2016, he was slated to be their No. 1 receiver in 2017. Then came a freakish injury in training camp, which revealed a bulging disk.

Enunwa has been participating in the offseason program, but the next key date is May 22 -- the start of OTA practices. He expects to participate in some fashion.

"It feels good," he said earlier this week at a charity event in New York. "It's as 100 percent as I'm supposed to be. I'm probably ahead of schedule, but I'm doing everything with the guys, running routes, catching the ball. There's really no setbacks right now."

Enunwa has a chance to be a really good player in the Jets' West Coast system, which is predicated on big receivers making yards after the catch. At 6-foot-2, he fits the profile, but there will be some transition.

In 2016, Enunwa thrived in Chan Gailey's spread offense, which employed four wide receivers and often deployed Enunwa in a hybrid role as a tight end/receiver. He did most of his damage in the middle of the field, with 36 of his 58 catches coming out of the slot, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Under new offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates, he might have to adjust to a more traditional receiver role.

The Jets have four starting-caliber receivers with Enunwa, Pryor, Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse, but Enunwa has the most upside because he can do a little of everything. He can work the underneath zones and also has the ability to get deep. In 2016, he posted the highest catch rate (80 percent) on deep targets, per Pro Football Focus -- and he did that with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith and Bryce Petty at quarterback.

The current offense could use an explosive player. In fact, there's only one 1,000-yard season among the 22 veteran runners and pass-catchers on the roster -- a 1,007-yard receiving year by Pryor, who did it for the Cleveland Browns in 2016.

Enunwa won't be rushed back this spring because the goal is to have him ready for training camp. With the nature of his injury, he won't truly be back until he withstands a hit.

"I don't have medical knowledge, but I feel like this injury compared to a knee is a little bit easier to come back from," he said. "The worst part about it is, if you don't heal all the way, then hits are bad. But just in terms of physically being able to play, I've been able to do that for a while.

"As soon as I'm 100 percent, there's no great risk," he continued. "Obviously, I'm a football player, so there's going to be a risk. I can't come into the game and be like, 'I won't ever get hurt again.' But the risk is not ... it's there, but I can play."

He's needed.