Enunwa trying to earn roster spot as Jets' hybrid receiver
The second-year wide receiver has lined up on the outside, in the slot and even in the backfield as an H-back, mostly with the starting offense. Enunwa has become a jack-of-all-trades receiver - a hybrid who's competing for a roster spot.
''I'm still a receiver,'' he said. ''I go out there and do receiver jobs. The position I'm in is one where I might help out a little bit inside. That's not to say I'm the only one doing that position. There's other guys behind me who can do it as well, but it's all about who can do it the best.
''I'm trying to be that person.''
Enunwa's emergence has been one of the surprises of Jets training camp. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker have the first two wide receiver spots locked down, and it was generally assumed Jeremy Kerley was the No. 3.
Instead, Enunwa has been getting an extended look with the starters - while Kerley was curiously working almost exclusively with the backups before a concussion sidelined in the second preseason game.
''He's kind of a tweener,'' coach Todd Bowles said of the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Enunwa, who can block smaller defenders and outrun bigger ones. ''He's a kind of interesting guy that can do both, so we're trying to maximize all of the use we can get out of his talents.''
When Enunwa got to camp, he was part of a crowded receiving group that was 14-deep at one point. There are eight left heading into the team's preseason finale Thursday against Philadelphia. Marshall, Decker, Kerley and second-rounder Devin Smith figure to have holds on spots. That leaves Enunwa, Shaq Evans, Chris Owusu and Walt Powell competing for maybe two jobs.
''It's just another opportunity to make some more plays, turn some more heads,'' Enunwa said. ''Hopefully I can make enough plays to end up on the roster, and then from there, just keep working.''
Enunwa was drafted by the Jets in the sixth round out of Nebraska last year after breaking Johnny Rodgers' school record for single-season touchdown catches with 12 and being selected the Gator Bowl MVP as a senior. He made the Jets' initial 53-man roster out of training camp, but was released two days later when New York signed cornerback Phillip Adams.
He was signed to the practice squad a day later, and promoted to the active roster before the season finale in December. Enunwa finished the season with no catches in what turned out to be a lost rookie year.
''There was a lot of stuff behind the scenes that kind of stopped me, I guess you could say, from seeing the field,'' Enunwa said. ''So, I would just kind of do what I could do under my control, and learned as much as I could.''
When pressed on what some of that ''stuff'' might have been, Enunwa declined comment.
''Nothing I could really share right now,'' he said.
Enunwa dealt with a headline-making incident off the field when he was charged with domestic violence on Aug. 31, 2014. Florham Park police said Enunwa pulled a woman off a bed in a hotel and she injured her head and finger. But the woman decided to not pursue the case, which was conditionally dismissed in court last October.
Enunwa has long since moved forward, and would like to put all that in the past in the minds of others, too.
''That's what I'm hoping for,'' he said, ''that I can make some more plays and hopefully get out of the realm of being a disturbance and more of somebody that helps this team.''
Enunwa was brought in by the previous regime, including general manager John Idzik and coach Rex Ryan. When Bowles and GM Mike Maccagnan were hired, they let the players already in the building know that they were pressing reset on everyone, with no preconceived notions or opinions.
''When you see all these new guys come in, a lot of guys kind of get discouraged, thinking that, `Oh, I had an in with the last group,''' Enunwa said. ''For me, it was kind of like just saying, `Hey, the last group still liked me, but now I get an opportunity to show these new people what the last group liked.' I just kind of took it that way, another opportunity.''
NOTES: TE Jace Amaro posted a post-surgery photo on Instagram on Wednesday after having the torn labrum in his left shoulder repaired. He wrote: ''Surgery was a success! Thanks for everyone's prayers! Now let's go have a great season.'' Amaro was placed on season-ending injured reserve on Tuesday.
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