For far too long, the tight end position for the New York Jets has lacked a reliable player with great potential. Heading into this offseason, as Zach Wilson enters year two and a step in his progress is expected, the group of tight ends had to be bolstered.
General manager Joe Douglas did all he could signing two tight ends in free agency and spending a third-round pick on another. Let’s access the expectations and potential of this group.
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The top three
The first tight end signed by Douglas in free agency was C.J. Uzomah. He is coming off the best year of his career and signed a three-year deal with the Jets. Shortly after Uzomah, it was a nice surprise when Tyler Conklin was also added on a three-year contract. Conklin just had his best season as well and should be entering his prime heading into his fifth NFL season. Then, in the third round of the draft, Douglas completed the overhaul with the selection of Jeremy Ruckert.
All three players bring the ability to block in both the run and pass game. In the passing game, they all compliment one another nicely. Conklin runs great routes and has the sure hands. Uzomah helps with his size, speed, and yards after the catch ability. Ruckert is a tough player with good athletic ability and can help in the red zone.
Overall, having this group of three for Mike LaFleur and Wilson in year two together could be instrumental to their development. Conklin and Uzomah are under contract through the 2024 season and Ruckert 2025. The potential to grow together and become a top group is a reasonable expectation. They can all take reps as blockers and help each other stay fresh in that regard. Knowing that they all provide different strengths as receivers and can be utilized in different ways is a luxury for the offense as a whole.
This group rounds out with Trevon Wesco, Kenny Yeboah, and Lawrence Cager. Wesco has been with the Jets since 2019 and offers great blocking ability. Yeboah was a successful pass-catcher in his last year of college and has receiving skills. Cager is intriguing to watch as he makes the position change from wide receiver. It will be interesting to see if one of these players does enough to make the roster as a fourth tight end.