Jeremy Ruckert's career projection
If you shouldn’t expect Ruckert to be the next Kittle, then what should be expected of the 21-year-old? Given the bust rate of players selected around Ruckert’s 101 draft slot, an optimistic yet realistic expectation for the former Buckeye would likely be an average to above-average starter in a few seasons.
Even still, Ruckert earning any second contract, even for a TE2 role, would still make the pick a success.
The disparity between the Jets' talent and cap space (the Jets don't have much of either) comes from a lack of depth acquired through the draft, forcing Douglas to overpay veterans to fill depth roles.
Being able to have a backup on a rookie contract or team-friendly deal offers a team the flexibility to acquire star players.
To put some numbers to it, given his skill set and high praise from scouts, I would estimate Ruckert’s odds of success to be the following: 40% chance of being a reliable backup, 30% chance of being an average starter, 15% chance of being an above-average starter or better, and a 15% chance of getting released before the end of his rookie deal.
Although Ruckert has an exciting skillset for a near-fourth-round pick, expectations should be tempered given the low hit rate at that point in the draft.
In fact, the probability of Ruckert not finishing his rookie contract probably exceeds the chance of him being an above-average starter, but it is a difficult evaluation to make so early.
Overall, this was a slam-dunk pick in a draft that saw Douglas as the clear winner of all GMs across the league. Considering his production, skills, and value at pick 101, I would give the Ruckert selection an A- grade.