It would be very wise of the NY Jets to use one of their 10 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft to select a tight end this year.
The tight end used to be an extra blocker and someone who could catch a few passes every now and then. But in today’s NFL, it’s every team’s secret weapon — that’s not so secretive. Given their size and athleticism, the tight end can be a huge difference-maker in winning or losing.
If you look back to last year’s Super Bowl, it featured two of the best tight ends in NFL history. Travis Kelce and Rob Gronkowski faced off against each other, and the team that had the better tight end performance won the game.
Kelce secured 10 catches for 133 yards, but Gronkowski found the end zone twice, which helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win the game.
Both of those players have been huge factors to Super Bowl victories in the past and are some of the most valuable players in the league, when they’re at their best.
Since they’re so big and have such great hands, it makes it impossible for any opponent to defend them, especially in the red zone.
The Jets aren’t likely to find another Gronkowski or Kelce in the NFL Draft this year, unless they draft Kyle Pitts second overall, but there are still a few good options out there that can help the team.
Protecting the quarterback is the most important objective for New York in this year’s draft, so finding a tight end who can not only catch the ball but block should be high on their to-do list.
Here are three tight end’s that the Jets should target in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Next: 1. Matt Bushman
1. NY Jets draft target: Matt Bushman, TE, BYU
Since the Jets are likely going to draft Zach Wilson with the second overall pick, why not bring in a former teammate of his?
After missing the entire 2020 season due to ruptured Achilles tendon, Matt Bushman is definitely a risky pick. However, since he missed the entire season, there is some upside because he could be flying under the radar, more than he should.
Zach Wilson passing to Matt Bushman: 5-5 for 82 yardsTo all other receivers: 3-8 for 26 yards
— The Fabulous Peltoncast (@peltoncast) September 21, 2019
Prior to his injury, he had a very good 2019 season securing 47 catches for 688 yards and four touchdowns, while turning into a leader for BYU.
The crazy thing to think about with Bushman is that he was continuing to pile up great stats, despite Zach Wilson not being the Zach Wilson we know today.
Wilson’s 2020 season put him on the map and is the reason why he’s being drafted second overall, so if he had that guy as his quarterback in an injury-free year, Bushman could be much higher on people’s draft boards.
There are two issues with Bushman with one of them being his age. At 25-years-old, he’s an old rookie, so it will be harder for him to develop. The second is that he’s not great at run blocking, so in order for him to be effective, he’d have to play in a two tight end set.
Bushman does have very good hands, so he could turn into a very effective red zone target for his old BYU teammate if the Jets take a flier on him in this year’s draft.
Next: 2. Briley Moore
2. NY Jets draft target: Briley Moore, TE, Kansas State
One of the Jets’ biggest needs in the 2021 NFL Draft this year is the offensive line position. The team needs to make sure that Zach Wilson is protected, so that he can develop into the superstar quarterback that many think he can become.
As such, the Jets could be inclined to draft a tight end who can not only catch, but can block in the running game.
The tight end is such an important position because they’re either another offensive linemen or they’re another wide receiver. If that individual can do both, they can turn into the most valuable player on the offense.
Moore isn’t projected to be taken very high in the draft, because he’s not a touchdown scorer. For instance, he set a career-high last year with 22 catches and 338 yards, which is a very low number compared to some of his colleagues.
However, the one place where Moore excelled was run blocking. Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner explained just how effective Moore was against defenders last year saying the following.
“Moore gets after it as a blocker and flashed a rare ability to take defensive ends off the line of scrimmage. He’s a terrific athlete for the position but isn’t much of a natural receiver. You can still see him thinking through his routes and not letting his natural gifts take over just yet.”
As Renner continued to explain, Moore is a working project offensively, but since he’s a terrific blocker, he could be a great use of a draft pick for New York.
The team needs to stack the offensive line as much as possible, so having a tight end who can do that effectively should excite Robert Saleh and Joe Douglas.
Next: 3. Brevin Jordan
3. NY Jets draft target: Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
If the Jets don’t want to wait so long to draft a tight end, they could get Miami’s Brevin Jordan on Day 2.
Jordan is described as “F tight end” which means he’s very versatile. He can be used as a blocker, but can also be effective catching the ball.
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PFF’s Michael Renner mentioned that Jordan would have a “clear path to success in a (Mike) Shanahan/(Gary) Kubiak scheme that runs its tight ends on a lot of drags, flats, and seams where speed and YAC are king.”
This should make Jets fans very excited because newly appointed offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s offense is very influenced by Mike’s son, Kyle Shanahan.
As such, if Jordan was drafted to the Jets, he should be able to excel in LaFleur’s system and could be a dangerous player in New York.
During his last season in Miami, Jordan caught 38 passes for 576 yards and scored seven touchdowns. At 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, he has great speed and athleticism for his size. Also, it’s not rare to see him juke out a defender en route to a touchdown.
A tight end is incredibly important to a team’s offense, so let’s hope that the Jets value that position high on their draft board and grab one of these three players by the end of the 2021 NFL Draft.