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How complete of a receiver is Quincy Enunwa? Breaking down Enunwa’s numbers by route type

The human Swiss army knife that is Quincy Enunwa

New England Patriots v New York Jets Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Yesterday, I took a dip into the numbers of Robby Anderson’s 2017 season, breaking down his production by route type.

Today, let’s turn the page and break down the route tree of another promising young Jets wide receiver; Quincy Enunwa. Since Enunwa missed the 2017 season, I went back and looked at his surprisingly strong 2016 season. Which routes did Enunwa see the most targets out of, and which routes was he the most efficient with?

Firstly, a synopsis of the route types I broke down. I went with a relatively simple group of categories, and I know some routes have a variety of different names. For the purpose of this study, here are the labels I went with:

First, let’s take a look at Enunwa’s target volume by route. He officially saw 105 targets in 2016, but after removing throwaways and deflections at the line, I brought his total down to 96 legitimate targets. Here is a look at his target breakdown:

The post route was the overwhelming most commonly targeted route for Enunwa; even more of a favorite for him than the go route was for Robby Anderson in 2017. Following the post, the Jets liked to find ways to get Enunwa the ball underneath. Flat routes were his second most targeted, followed by curls (with very short average depth) and screens.

Next, let’s take a look at which routes yielded the most successful receptions for Enunwa. Below is a look at both his total first downs and first down rate (shown next to arrows) by route.

Quincy wasn’t seeing a ton of post routes because Ryan Fitzpatrick and Bryce Petty didn’t feel like turning their heads, it was because Quincy was a darn good weapon running the post. He saw five more first downs running a variety of the post route than any other, maintaining a strong 46% first down rate on those targets. Enunwa was also exceptionally efficient when targeted on the dig (75% first down rate), go (57%), and drag (57%) routes.

First downs are a strong way to evaluate since it removes the bias yardage totals have towards deep routes and deep receivers. However, there is still a lot that can be taken away from looking at yardage totals. Here is how Enunwa fared in terms of yardage.

As I’ll discuss more later on, Quincy took full advantage of his small sample size of go routes. He also maintained superb yardage efficiency on his high volume of post routes. Also take note of the amount of greenery on this chart pointing towards the quarterback’s side. The Jets featured Enunwa far more towards the middle of the field, and for good reason, as he used his superior open-field ability to create big yardage after the catch and post consistently high efficiency on posts and digs especially, in addition to curls and slants.

One topic I often see brought up in regards to Enunwa is his versatility. It’s no doubt a very positive trait of his. You saw above that Enunwa found high levels of success on a variety of routes (three routes with a 57%+ first down rate; Robby Anderson had none). Fans have known Enunwa to be a player capable of lining up outside, inside, and even at H-back. I was curious to see where Enunwa was most effective based on his position. Here is a look at how he fared based on where he lined up.

The majority of Enunwa’s targets came lined up inside the numbers (68%), but it was in his small sample size on the outside where he was most explosive. Enunwa compiled 251 yards on just 16 targets lining up outside the numbers, for ridiculous averages of 15.7 yards per target and 25.1 yards per reception. When lined up outside, Enunwa typically ran downfield routes (including most of his go routes on the year), which he converted excellently. At H-Back, Enunwa’s numbers look mediocre on the surface, but an average of 11.0 yards per reception with 4 of 8 catches going for first downs is impressive for a sample size that includes almost no targets beyond 3 yards or so. Bad quarterback play hit Enunwa hard when at H-back.

Enunwa also saw a distinct difference in his target variety depending on the side of the field he lined up on. On the left, Enunwa saw a much higher diet of underneath throws than on the right, where he lined up for almost all of his downfield action. All in all, his efficiency was similar across each side, but take note of the difference in target depth, screen+flat routes, and post+go routes between the two sides.

Based on the target depth difference, the heavier diet of flats/screens on the left, and the heavier diet for go’s/posts on the right, you can clearly see the preference the Jets had for Enunwa based on the side of the field. Many of those short targets on the left were on snaps in which Enunwa motioned from the right to the left for a flat or screen route. Enunwa’s downfield prowess on the right mostly stemmed from his post route dominance. Enunwa compiled more targets (19), catches (10), yards (233) and first downs (9) on posts specifically originating from the right than he did on any other route from both sides of the field.

A few more notes from me:

  • In my Robby Anderson article, I was a little hard on Anderson for lack of underneath production, but it turns out Anderson’s numbers underneath in 2017 actually were more impressive than Enunwa’s in 2016 based on efficiency. Anderson averaged 8.1 yards per flat/screen reception compared to Enunwa’s 5.2. I think we need to take efficiency levels on underneath routes with a grain of salt. Whether or not those plays are successful hinge much more on circumstance than downfield routes. Enunwa caught 20 of 23 flat/screen routes on the year for over 100 yards and 5 first downs; respectable totals. The first down and yardage rates are low, but that’s because many of those plays had no shot and were blown up immediately.
  • Though in a much smaller sample size, Enunwa was even better on go routes in 2016 than the great Robby Anderson in 2017. He caught 4 of 7 go route targets for 36.8 yards per reception and a 141.1 quarterback rating when targeted.
  • Quincy saw a lot of crazy things happen when running the curl. You might remember a 69-yard catch and run he had in Geno Smith’s lone (and brief) start against the Ravens, inflating his YAC numbers for the route. All four interceptions thrown when targeting Enunwa were on the curl; 2 each by Petty and Fitzpatrick. 3 of them were horrendously terrible decisions by the quarterback, but another was a wide open Enunwa drop that ended up in the hands of the defense.

Enunwa’s numbers in 2016 were good even before removing his high total of thrown away/deflected targets, consistent missed throws by Ryan Fitzpatrick and Bryce Petty (much worse combo than McCown/Petty in 2017 simply due to Fitz), and overall poor situation he was playing in. His official numbers were 857 yards, 58 receptions, 4 touchdowns, and a very good 8.2 yards per target - borderline #2/#1 production in a vacuum.

Enunwa was missed on an unusually high amount of routes in which he got himself open, yet still posted respectable numbers across the board. He was the only receiver in 2016 to place top 10 in both yards per reception and YAC per reception (among the 58 WRs with 50+ catches). He consistently turned routine underneath throws into first downs with elusiveness, toughness, and smart vision in the open field, while at the same time showcasing great acrobatic catching ability downfield. All things considered, Enunwa’s 2016 is in my opinion the best single season under the belt of any receiver on the Jets’ roster; and probably top ten by a Jet in this century.

He needs to bring the blatant drops down, and can do a better job gaining separation against physical coverage. Aside from those two weaknesses, Enunwa is a human Swiss army knife with the capability of making plays on any part of the field, with plus blocking ability to boot. If he comes back from his injury the same to join forces with a developed Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, and the wild cards of Terrelle Pryor and Chad Hansen, the upside is looking really promising for the Jets wide receiver group.


Independent of his surroundings, how good was Quincy Enunwa among wide receivers in 2016?

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