With OTA’s set to start this week, the New York Jets have a total of six tight ends ready to compete and battle it out for a spot on the team’s final roster. Here’s a breakdown of everyone competing and who might come out on top.
The New York Jets are looking for a replacement to last year’s number one tight end, Austin Seferian-Jenkins. As the two sides failed to come to an agreement on a deal this offseason. While Jets management stood firm on their final offer of a two-year $8 million contract. ASJ wound up signing a two-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars worth $10.5 million.
Jenkins finished his 2017 season as the team’s third-leading receiver. Subsequently hauling in 50 receptions for 357 yards, including three touchdowns. As a result of Jenkins departure, these six players, Jordan Leggett, Clive Walford, Chris Herndon, Eric Tomlinson, Neal Sterling, and Bucky Hodges, will be challenging each other for the starting tight end spot. Some will also be competing for a spot on the depth chart as well.
Newly obtained tight ends this year include Jets fourth-round draft pick, Chris Herndon. Former Oakland Raiders tight end Clive Walford, whom the Jets claimed off waivers. As well as Bucky Hodges, who signed after being released by the Minnesota Vikings.
Unfortunately, Hodges suffered a severe concussion in the final preseason game last season and has never played in a regular season game. Out of the new additions, only Walford has seen action in the NFL. He played in a total of 44 games with the Raiders and now enters his fourth NFL season.
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Barring injury, all six are set to battle it out for a spot to make the teams final roster once OTA’s start this upcoming week.
In 2017, the Jets carried a total of three tight ends on their roster. Seferian-Jenkins, Tomlinson, and Sterling. As a result, some of these players have had past injury issues. I would expect them to once again carry a total of three tight ends on their final roster just to make sure they have enough quality depth.
While there is no clear visible favorite, the battle for the Jets tight end spot will be without a doubt one of the most interesting positions to keep an eye on during training camp. Ideally, if none of these tight ends had past injuries, the two most talented players on the roster, are Leggett and Herndon.
Leggett, last year’s fifth-round draft choice, missed all of last season with a knee injury. Herndon is coming off a torn MCL injury and is expected to see limited action this spring.
In conclusion, with regards to who is most likely to capture a spot on the Jets final 2018 roster at tight end, look for Walford to secure one of those spots as he has the most NFL experience. More importantly, let’s hope Leggett and Herndon can remain injury free so they can showcase their tremendous talent this spring. With the notion that either one ultimately becomes the Jets starting tight end.