New York Jets position group evaluations: Tight Ends

New York Jets, Chris Herndon

As the season looms, I decided to take a deep dive into each New York Jets position group within the organization and grade each group. Today’s group is one of the most encouraging groups on the roster. That is the tight end room. From a highly anticipated bounce back tight end to a standout veteran, to a potential diamond in the rough, this group is one of the best on the roster. So let’s get into it.

TE 1: Chris Herndon

Without a doubt, the most anticipated return on this roster is Chris Herndon. Last season, Herndon entered the year with very high hopes. After a suspension and an upper buddy injury, Herndon’s sophomore season was a bust. Now, he’s back, and he’s been a star of camp. Reporters have been consistent across the board in their lauding of how he will be the critical piece to Sam Darnold’s success. With the lack of receiver depth, Herndon will be counted on to play a significant role. As I previously wrote, Herndon will either be the X-Factor of the offense and the key reason Darnold takes the next step or the reason Darnold has nobody to turn to when the play breaks down.

TE 2: Ryan Griffin

Last season, without Herndon, many analysts wondered who’d step up at tight end. Those questions were quickly dispelled with the impressive play of Griffin. With 34 catches for 320 yards and five touchdowns, Griffin proved to be a huge red zone threat. If Herndon can be the dynamic threat over the top and outside (when need be), then Griffin will be able to play a huge role in red zone success. As long as both guys can stay healthy when the Jets put out two tight end sets, they could be a force to be reckoned with. Griffin does tend to struggle with consistency, though, so as long as he doesn’t become a non-factor, he’ll be a great piece of the offense.

TE 3: Trevon Wesco

The West Virginia product was a curious selection by the former front office regime when he was picked in the fourth round of the 2019 draft. Wesco wouldn’t have been a controversial pick if he was known as a dynamic threat in the red zone or over the middle like the two other tight ends in the room, but he was traditionally known as a blocking tight end. Then, this offseason, he became a much more well-rounded athlete as Adam Gase has stated, and he’s found a real rhythm in camp reportedly. If Wesco can show in-game that he can be a weapon, that would only make the offense all the better.

Grade: A-

This group is FAR from a proven group. With that said, the way Douglas and Gase have built this group, they have potential to complement each other very nicely. Not only that but with the lack of depth at receiver, these guys will be counted on to step up. I truly believe this group has potential to shock some people this year and mask some of the Jets offensive inadequacies. 

The New York Jets have en extremely underrated tight ends corps

New York Jets, Chris Herndon

The New York Jets feature several quality tight ends that will contribute in 2020.

One of the more underrated units for the New York Jets is their tight ends corps, featuring Ryan Griffin, Chris Herndon, and Trevon Wesco. The trio failed to play together regularly in 2019 after Herndon was placed on injured reserve after fracturing his ribs against the New York Giants in week 10. Griffen was then thrust into a starting role, where he thrived.

After spending six years with the Houston Texans, Griffen found his way to the Jets. He received a three-year extension worth $10.8 million with Gang Green, cementing himself in the offensive unit and guaranteeing his participation on a growing team.

Finding his way to a starting role after Herndon went down was what Griffen needed to prove his worth — posting 34 receptions for 320 yards and five touchdowns before an ankle injury halted his campaign in week 14.

However, his red-zone production was stellar, making him an essential piece on offense and a safety-net for Sam Darnold in the passing game. With Griffen and Herndon capable of producing at a high level, the Jets and Adam Gase could use more 12-personnel to get both tight ends on the field to diversify their scheme.

Another tight end on the roster is Wesco, who played in all 16 games last season, starting in just one. He hauled in three-receptions for 47-yards on the year, a seldom number but a start to his professional tenure.

At 6-3, 267-pounds, Wesco is a big body who can serve as a quality blocker in the running game as he develops his route running and speed off the line of scrimmage. While I don’t picture him having a significant impact in 2020, it’s always a positive thing to have a serviceable backup, especially with Herndon’s injury, previous injury, and troubles.

 

New York Jets: Jets vs Giants Preseason Week 1 Preview

New York Jets

The wait is over, New York Jets football is finally back. The Jets finally play their first opponent of the 2019 NFL season. Sure, it may just be preseason but it’s nice to see the Jets get on the field against people who are not wearing green and white. The New York Giants will be hosting the Jets in the annual “Snoopy Bowl” this year at MetLife Stadium this Thursday to see who will have bragging rights until week 10 when both teams meet again for round 2. Obviously, neither team will have their stars out, but it is a very good opportunity for players who aren’t guaranteed a spot on the roster a chance to shine. What better way for the New York Jets to start their new era of football by beating their bigger brother for a chance to finally reign supreme. Here are some things to look out for this Thursday night.

What to expect from Adam Gase?

Adam Gase got a second chance to be a head coach in this league and he doesn’t intend on messing it up. There are many reasons Gase wasn’t successful in Miami but probably the biggest reason was the fact he didn’t know how to call plays. Adam Gase has a history of doing very short yardage throws on second and long and third and long. This can’t happen here in New York. Adam Gase has gone on record before stating that he wants to be more aggressive in his play-calling, and what better way to experiment than in the preseason against a young, up and coming Giants secondary. If Adam Gase wants to avoid being a failure in New York, he must do the opposite of everything he did in Miami.

Position battles to look for

The preseason is the best way to test for players who are battling for a starting or backup role on the roster. The New York Jets certainly do not have a shortage of battles going on and these are some to keep an eye out for.

Tight end

The Jets are pretty set at tight end this year but with Chris Herndon missing the first four weeks due to suspension the Jets will have to see which one of their young tight ends can fill in and be a reliable target for Sam Darnold. The two main competitors are Daniel Brown and Trevon Wesco. Wesco seems to have the upper hand against Brown because he’s had a very good training camp with the team.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wesco listed as the starting tight end at the beginning of the year.

QB No. 3

The Jets have another QB battle going on this year, thankfully not for the starting spot. The Jets are looking for someone to groom into a backup for Sam Darnold the next couple of years. Luke Falk and Davis Webb are the two guys the Jets are looking at. Falk has had a history with Adam Gase being the third-string QB in Miami last year until he landed on the IR October 5th. Davis Webb, on the other hand, has no relation to Adam Gase but he does have a pedigree that Falk doesn’t. Webb was a third-round pick for the Giants back in 2017 and shows potential. Webb Hoists a howitzer for an arm but doesn’t have the accuracy to match up with it. It’ll be interesting to see which QB will edge out because as of right now there isn’t a clear front runner.

Kicker

The Jets currently have just one kicker on the roster, Chandler Catanzaro. So, who is Catanzaro competing with you might ask? The answer is Catanzaro is competing with himself. Catanzaro is having one of the worst camps this year missing a lot of kicks. The Jets have had a hole at kicker ever since Nick Folk left the team back in 2016. The Jets have lucked out with their kicker situation the past couple of years getting castoffs like Jason Meyers and Catanzaro to have good years, but this might be the end of that little streak. If Catanzaro continues to struggle don’t be surprised to see Joe Douglas seek another kicker when cuts are being made. A couple of names to watch are players like Mason Crosby and the training camp favorite from 2016 and 2017 Ross Martin.

Potential diamonds in the rough

The Jets have had their fair share of training camp standouts this year and they’ll finally get to show off what they can really do against the actual competition. This is where you find players like Robby Anderson who a couple of years ago was in the same position as many of the young players grinding for a spot on the 53. A couple of names to watch are players like Tim White, Kyron Brown, Blake Cashman and Derrick Jones.

 

 

New York Jets: Who is Ryan Griffin and What Does he Bring?

New York Jets sign Ryan Griffin.

The New York Jets have signed former Houston Texans tight end Ryan Griffin. Griffin, a former 6th round pick in 2013, has been a perennial backup his entire career only amassing 136 receptions and 1,491 receiving yards over the span of his 6-year career. Griffin’s best year came in 2016 where he logged 50 receptions for 442 yards and 2 touchdowns.

What to expect from Griffin?

Griffin comes on to the team with a legitimate chance to secure a roster spot. Due to Chris Herndon’s 4 game suspension, Griffin could find himself starting if 4th round pick Trevon Wesco doesn’t impress in camp. Griffin provides veteran insurance in a tight end room whose most experienced player is Eric Tomlinson.

The Jets offense will surely struggle without their top tight end option helping in the passing attack, but Griffin is capable and can fill in while Herndon serves his suspension. He won’t light up the field in any specific way, but he’s a serviceable backup for the time being.

Hopefully, quarterback Sam Darnold can utilize his new weapons in Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder to mask the loss at TE.

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Projected New York Jets starting tight ends: Chris Herndon (4 game suspension), Trevon Wesco (rookie), Daniel Brown, Ryan Griffin.

The New York Jets need potential draft steal Trevon Wesco to make an impact

New York Jets, Trevon Wesco

The suspension of rising tight end Chris Herndon for the first four games of the season will put a dent in the offense for the New York Jets. His pass-catching ability and blocking skills will be missed, but the Jets did draft a potential draft steal in Trevon Wesco.

With the 121st overall pick in the fourth round, the Jets drafted who NFL analyst Brian Baldinger calls, “BabyGronk.”

While this is certainly an optimistic statement, Wesco is a mountain of a man, standing at 6’3″ and roughly 270 pounds. Using his size to be a three-position player (Y,F, and H), he can be an impact player on a Jets team that will miss Herndon during his suspension.

The offense doesn’t have a proven backup and it will hurt the play-calls Sam Darnold can run, but Wesco might be able to open the playbook back up.

The New York Jets need their rookie TE to develop quickly:

Wesco is behind on the depth chart — he will need to beat out Eric Tomlinson and Ryan Griffin to earn reps, but his size might be enticing enough to get him on the field. Tomlinson has been known for missed assignments and drive-killing penalties.

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The West Virginia product was a great option for Will Grier last season, hauling in 26 passes for 366 yards in 10 games (Sports-Reference). His frame could make for a solid red zone target for Darnold in the passing game. The Jets’ quarterback doesn’t have a true red-zone target, but I imagine they will look to utilize Le’Veon Bell early and often in those situations.

Trevon is sneaky off the line of scrimmage. He’s a primary blocker which only helps his unpredictability in the passing game. Averaging 14.1 yards per reception attests to his ability to expose the seam and make plays over the middle. That’s how the Jets and Adam Gase should look to extract the most value out of the rookie.