Greg Peshek of Rotoworld.com has been putting out metrics for each position that helps people understand what are the important traits of that position and how the top draft eligible prospects performed in those metrics. Previously I analyzed his articles on the wide receiver position which is a position of need for the Jets. You can read that here. Peshek has penned another terrific piece this time about another Jets position of need, tight end. You can read that here. With Kellen Winslow and Jeff Cumberland both free agents the Jets will need to add at least two tight ends to go along with Zach Sudfeld and there are a few in the draft that would fit the bill. Although Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News is reporting that the Jets are “bullish” on Cumberland and are negotiating to bring him back the Jets will still need a game breaker at the position.
Peshek compares Jace Amaro of Texas Tech, Eric Ebron of North Carolina, Austin Seferian-Jenkins of Washington, Richard Rodgers of California and Troy Niklas of Notre Dame. C.J. Fiedorowicz of Iowa is not included because he was used primarily as a blocker but his Combine and Pro Day workouts will show whether the athletic ability he has can translate into a greater receiving role.
The first metric measured is how far downfield do they catch the ball. Getting free down the seam and exploiting mismatches are a must for the tight ends today who are so much more athletic than their predecessors. They also need to be the quarterback’s safety valve, able to make the tough catch for the first down. The player with the most interesting chart is one that is known more for his blocking, Troy Niklas of Notre Dame. Nearly 72% of his passes are caught between 6-20 yards. No other player had more than 50% of his passes caught in that area. The best deep threat was Seferian-Jenkins who had nearly 43% of his passes caught 11 yards or more down the field with the highest amount of passes over 20 yards at 5.7%. Amaro caught 46% of his passes between 1-5 yards showing he can get open in tight spaces but only 23% of his passes were over 11 yards, the lowest of the tight ends measured. Ebron caught the ball both underneath with 32% of his passes caught between 1-5 yards down the field but also did well on longer routes with 33% caught between 11-20 yards downfield. Rodgers caught no balls over 20 yards and 50% of his passes between 1-5 yards.
Next, a combination of the yards down the field where they caught it is added to their yards after the catch. That is a total measure of the yardage they create every time they catch the ball. Despite having the lowest yards downfield, Eric Ebron led the field with a combined number of 15.76 yards thanks to his group leading 8.84 yards after the catch. Ebron was put in position to catch the ball and turn up the field and make things happen and he did. Troy Niklas was just behind him at 15.5 combined yards using his group leading 9.09 yards down the field to go with 6.41 yards after the catch. The 6.41 yards after the catch were 3rd only behind Ebron and Rodgers. The most surprising number was Seferian-Jenkins who had only 3.4 yards after the catch despite his athleticism and the fact that 25% of his catches were on screens.