One of the New York Jets‘ many early 2022 free agent signings was Tyler Conklin. The team needed a reliable veteran pass-catcher at tight end and Conklin provides just that. He signed with the Jets on a three-year deal. Conklin is entering year five of his career in the NFL and turns 27 later this month.
Brief review of 2021:
Conklin is coming off a breakout career year. It was his first time as a featured receiver in the passing game. Over the first three years of his NFL career, Conklin had 43 targets. In 2021, he had more than double that amount with 87. He caught 61 of those passes for 593 yards and three touchdowns. His catch rate was impressive (70.1%).
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Conklin provides adequate height at 6-foot-3 and has a big frame at 254 pounds. He offers the Jets offense with versatility as both a receiver and blocker. Conklin can block in both the run and pass game which is a luxury. As a receiver, Conklin has very reliable hands, as shown by his 71.5% career catch rate. Another one of Conklin’s top traits as a receiver is his route running. He can consistently create separation at the top of his breaks. He can make an impact in the red zone as well, where all four of his career touchdowns have been scored.
Conklin is coming from a similar type of offensive system with the Minnesota Vikings. Expect him to be a three-down player in both one and two tight ends sets. Ultimately, anticipate him playing the most out of the Jets’ three new tight ends. As stated, he can help in-line as both a run and pass blocker. In three wide receiver sets, expect Conklin to be the main tight end for the Jets, especially on third down. He can provide a reliable presence over the middle for Zach Wilson. Week to week, Conklin will be a consistent focal point in the Jets’ passing game as a receiver. Last season, he averaged 5.1 targets per game. Expect something similar to that in 2022. Conklin should average five to six targets a game.
2022 stat projection:
Conklin should have 90 targets for the Jets this year. There will be some games where he is involved in a big way with seven to eight targets. Expect him to catch about 60 passes for roughly 650 yards. He should catch three or four touchdowns as well. As mentioned, he can score touchdowns inside the 20-yard line.
Final preview thoughts:
Conklin is going to provide a big upgrade for Wilson and Mike LaFleur. He looks to be entering his prime with his breakout from last year and his still relatively young age. He will contribute in both the run and pass game. Conklin has a chance to give the Jets some of the best receiving production from a tight end in quite some time. Conklin will have a productive first year in 2022 with the Jets.