As was the case with the wide receivers, the New York Jets tight ends in 2020 left a lot to be desired. Chris Herndon and Ryan Griffin did their best, but once again, quarterback play was quite the issue. The offense as a whole was a dumpster fire, and the tight ends were not an exception. However, as with all the other parts of the offense, they look to improve greatly this season under a new offensive coordinator in Mike LaFleur and head coach in Robert Saleh. Here is the New York Jets Position Preview Series #4: Tight Ends.
Is There a Proven Starter?
In 2018, Chris Herndon played pretty well as a rookie. He caught 39 passes for 502 yards and four touchdowns, and the Jets fanbase thought he had a lot of potential as a long term starting tight end. However, in 2019, he regressed. Badly. He only played in two games, starting in one. He finished the season with one catch for seven yards. Injuries and a suspension were largely to blame, but fans were hoping to see him take a jump in his sophomore year. Other than Herndon, the Jets have Ryan Griffin on the roster, who stepped in nicely for Herndon in 2019. Griffin was good for 34 receptions, 304 yards and five touchdowns, but the Jets would like to see more production from him. Hopefully, Herndon can progress this season after a semi-productive 2020, especially at the young age of 25.
Who is Kenny Yeboah?
Kenny Yeboah played at Temple for his redshirt freshman, sophomore and junior years before transferring to Ole Miss for his senior year. He played well in 2020, scoring six touchdowns in eight games before opting to prepare for the NFL Draft. The Jets supposedly had a fourth round grade on him, so they must have been ecstatic to sign him as a UDFA. Yeboah isn’t the type of player to stick his nose in the run game, but he provides immense upside as a pass catcher. He averaged 19.4 yards per reception for Ole Miss in 2020, and should give the Jets another deep threat, something they are in desperate need of. He also gives Zach Wilson a huge target, standing at 6-foot-4. His potential should be so exciting for fans to monitor.
Do They Need to Look Elsewhere?
Currently, the Jets should be content with where they stand at tight end. Outside of the three previously mentioned, the Jets also have Tyler Kroft and Daniel Brown on the depth chart. The Jets signed Kroft this offseason after a decent stint with the Buffalo Bills, and it is probable that neither Kroft nor Brown will ever have big roles in the Jets offense, but they may provide some value in the run game in some capacity. The Jets will likely not need to look at any free agent tight ends, especially after Tim Tebow signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars (LOL).
The Jets currently have a good mix of experience and potential. Chris Herndon and Kenny Yeboah provide the potential, and lots of it, while Tyler Kroft and Ryan Griffin give them nice value as veteran players.