4 forgotten NY Jets players who can make a difference in 2023

NY Jets, Michael Carter
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1. Jeremy Ruckert, TE, NY Jets

For all of the love that the exalted 2022 NY Jets draft class gets for their very quick production in year one, that same admiration cannot be shared with third-round draftee Jeremy Ruckert.

He is the only 2022 draftee to be a healthy scratch for more than one game and the only draftee to play less than 200 snaps this past season (101). To put Ruckert's 101 snaps last season into perspective, Breece Hall played 233 snaps in the seven games he played before tearing his Achilles.

A sound argument can be made that Ruckert was the most forgotten man on the whole roster last season, largely in part to the two veterans that the Jets signed in the same offseason to play the same position.

While Tyler Conklin played rather well during the season, C.J. Uzomah was used mostly as a blocker. Uzomah's skill set is most suited in the passing game, which we perhaps saw come to fruition toward the end of last season. The offensive line was ravaged by injuries, and the dual-tight end sets made no impact on the Jets' non-existent ability to block for their ball carriers.

Of course, the threat of injury always looms, but even if all three tight ends stay healthy it's possible Ruckert earns himself some real playing time in 2023.

With a strong camp, he could leapfrog Uzomah and not only become the go-to blocker in that room but also push Conklin for some receiving opportunities as well. It'd be quite the step up for the guy who only played an offensive snap in two games last year.

In his initial NFL scouting report, Ruckert's run-blocking was highly touted, but his receiving work was a polarizing topic because he wasn't used much on a team that boasted wide receivers like Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. As it stands now, this might be the exact way his 2023 campaign with the Jets turns out.

Of course, there is always the possibility that he breaks out this year, especially as he benefits from the ubiquitous presence of future Hall-of-Famer Aaron Rodgers.

A lot of the osmosis and such that will be absorbed in the building by Rodgers' presence will be felt most intensely by the young and more impressionable guys.

His NFL comparison was Dalton Schulz, the fourth-round 2018 draft pick who was also known for his blocking coming into the league but had questions about his receiving ability.

For what it's worth, Schultz has had three consecutive seasons with more than 550 yards, four or more touchdowns, and 55+ catches. Conklin's stats this year: 58 catches, 552 yards, and three touchdowns.

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What a dream it'd be for the entire Ruckert family to see Jeremy ascend to new heights in a Jets uniform and make a tangible difference in such an important season.