After a disappointing year with the Oakland Raiders, tight end Clive Walford is ready to bounce back and prove he is still capable of producing in the NFL. Here’s his full profile as he prepares for his first training camp with the New York Jets.
During the offseason, the New York Jets parted ways with Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who eventually signed a two-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars. This move made Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan claim Clive Walford off waivers from the Oakland Raiders. Right now, the Jets starting tight end position is up for grabs and Walford is my current pick to win the job. Examining Walford’s three-year career with the Raiders it becomes difficult to predict what kind of production the Jets should expect from him this season.
Kicking off his NFL career with a successful rookie campaign, he almost derailed his career after a knee injury in an ATV accident in May 2016. This mishap forced him to miss spring workouts and the beginning of training camp. Luckily, he recovered and put together an almost replica of his rookie season. As for last year, the Miami product saw his role drop significantly after the Oakland Raiders signed Jared Cook, who had a stellar year with the club.
Let’s be honest, this is probably Walford’s last chance to prove he deserves a big contract as he enters the last year of his rookie deal. Here’s his full profile heading into training camp.
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2017 SEASON REVIEW
2017 was by far the worst season in Walford’s young career. He posted career lows of nine catches for 80 yards. Even though he saw his playing time drop drastically with the arrival of Cook, he still managed to keep being a reliable player when targeted catching 69.2 percent of the passes thrown to him.
His best performance came in Week 12 against the New York Giants in a 24-17 win. He recorded 57 yards catching four of his four targets.
2018 SEASON OUTLOOK
In his sophomore year in the league, Walford hauled 359 yards in 33 receptions. That is good news for the Jets because it matches Seferian-Jenkins production from last year. Although these are not numbers that pop into fans eyes, the former Jet was still a respectable target during last season.
More of a vertical threat than Seferian-Jenkins, Walford can be lined up as a wide receiver and still produce quality routes as he is a very fluid runner regardless of being 258 pounds. Nevertheless, the main concern about the 2015 third-round pick prior to his draft was his blocking ability.
It does not seem that he has improved in that department. What can be said is that he is a willing blocker but lacks technique. Jets fans should expect good things from Walford as the competition for the starting job with Chris Herndon and Jordan Leggett will be fierce.
TRAINING CAMP PREDICTION
The Jets have a lot of depth in the tight end position heading into training camp. Herndon and Leggett probably have a bigger upside than Walford but the former Raider already proved himself as a respectful receiver in the NFL. If nothing unexpected happens, Walford will surely make the final roster. As for the starting tight end position, we will have to wait and see.