Which players exceeded expectations in 2015 for the Jets? This is subjective. Part of it has to do with your expectations entering the season. If you expected somebody to do well, it is difficult for them to be a pleasant surprise. Here are the five players who most exceeded my expectations.
5. Marcus Williams
I thought Williams was treading water at best in 2014. Given how big of a role the Jets gave Williams as an undrafted rookie, treading water was not necessarily terrible. I think he took a step forward in 2015, though. He had a limited role. He did not play many snaps. His assignments were generally favorable. Williams had success, though. Depth in the NFL is having players who can succeed in situational roles. Williams showed enough to potentially earn a promotion for 2016. The Jets cannot keep Antonio Cromartie at anything resembling his current salary. Given the other needs on the roster and limited cap space, a top three cornerback who does not cost much like Williams would come in handy.
4. Quincy Enunwa
Enunwa got his chance because of Jace Amaro's injury. Even though the Jets officially list him as a wide receiver, he really was used as a tight end. It flew under the radar, but Enunwa was a help as a run blocker. His mobility frequently helped the Jets disguise their blocking schemes. They could line Quincy up on one side of the formation and have him get to the other side after the snap to throw a key block. Enunwa also started to flash playmaking ability as a receiver near the end of the season.
3. James Carpenter
I will admit that I was not a huge fan of this signing. I viewed him as a consolation prize after the Jets struck out on the big fish at guard in free agency. Carpenter seemed to take to the Jets' scheme, though. He stayed healthy and looked motivated. From start to finish, he was probably the most consistent lineman the team had.
2. Calvin Pryor
I feel like every year I hear the same thing about a disappointing rookie. People tell me the guy is going to get better with a season under his belt. In recent years, things have almost never played out this way. Finally Pryor made the prophesy come true this season. He showed a lot of growth from year one to year two. Gone was the guy who kept taking bad angles leading to long touchdowns. Instead there was an important piece who constantly prevented catastrophe as the last line of defense bailing out teammates out who were beaten .
1. Ryan Fitzpatrick
You can go back a few years in this site's archives to see how little I thought of Fitzpatrick when he was in Buffalo. When the Jets traded for him, I certainly was not doing backflips. Before the season, I predicted that whichever quarterback started between Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith would not be effective enough to keep the job for the full sixteen game season. I said that if the Jets had a good year it would be despite the quarterback. I did not see Fitzpatrick setting franchise records and developing the type of chemistry he did with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. The Jets didn't win ten games in spite of the quarterback. The quarterback was part of the machine.