The New York Jets barely used tight ends last season as receiving options as much won’t change heading into the regular season.
Let’s face it, tight end might be the weakest unit on the roster of the New York Jets. Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey rarely uses the position and when he does, it’s primarily for blocking purposes.
Quincy Enunwa is listed as a wide receiver, although he was basically Gang Green’s starting tight end in 2015. The Nebraska product has established himself as a solid blocker and given his size (6’2, 225), he can make plays through the air.
Tight end Jace Amaro will be back in 2016, but who knows what he’ll do coming off of season-ending shoulder surgery. If he’s 100%, Enunwa will more likely than not make the switch back to wide receiver opposed to the “hybrid” wide receiver/tight end role.
Amaro at full strength is a huge addition to the Jets’ offense especially because of how much he has to prove. Former general manager John Idzik took him in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, so it’s about time he lives up to expectations as one of the top tight ends off the board.
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Tight end Zach Sudfeld is essentially in the same boat as Amaro.
One year removed from a torn ACL, the ex-Patriot has quite the hill to climb since he hasn’t played a snap since 2014.
When healthy, he can be an asset as the No. 3 and sometimes even the No. 2 tight end in packages where the offensive line is stacked up.
In many of these looks, New York shows run and the defense loads the box, opening up play-action.
Sudfeld is right behind Amaro as the best receiving tight end on the team which makes those situations ideal for him. Back in 2013 when Geno Smith was under center, the Jets rolled him out often and Sudfeld was the primary target if Kellen Winslow Jr. was on the sideline. You can expect to see that again in 2016 if he fully recovers from the knee injury.
The rest of the tight ends are question marks and it’ll be very interesting to see who else makes the 53-man roster. Kellen Davis we know can block, however, suspect pass catching can doom him in training camp. Wes Saxton is extremely similar to Davis, but he’s eight years younger and 30 pounds lighter. Not to mention, he’s clearly more athletic.
Brandon Bostick and Jason Vander Laan are the other two currently on the team. Bostick is well-known for his blunder in the 2014 NFC Championship game vs. the Seattle Seahawks and it’s a shame because he shouldn’t have even been on the field in that scenario. He’s a blocker and it’s head-scratching that a blocker is on the hands team. Vander Laan is a rookie out of Ferris State and we don’t know what he can do in the NFL just yet.
For now, you’d have to assume that Vander Laan is on the outside looking in, Saxton will be on the practice squad again, and the battle will be between Bostick and Davis. Amaro and Sudfeld have to be locks to make the roster simply due to their ability to catch the ball. Nonetheless, it’s hard to see the Jets keeping four tight ends.
Overall, the position is weak, but luckily New York doesn’t utilize it often. All Gang Green needs from their tight ends is consistent run/pass blocking and no bad drops. They should without a doubt be able to get that with this group.