NY Jets Post-2021 NFL Draft State of the Roster: Tight ends

NY Jets, Chris Herndon
NY Jets, Chris Herndon / Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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NY Jets, Tyler Kroft
NY Jets, Tyler Kroft / Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

Tyler Kroft, TE, NY Jets

Very quietly, Jets GM Joe Douglas signed veteran tight end Tyler Kroft away from the Buffalo Bills this offseason.

The 6-foot-6 Kroft, a former third-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, has never quite lived up to his draft status coming out of Rutgers. Although, at times, he has had moments where he has shown that he can be a capable and well-rounded tight-end in the NFL.

Kroft showed some flashes for the Bengals as a backup to former All-Pro Tyler Eifert when he was called into duty due to injuries, specifically in 2017, when he finished the season with 42 receptions, 404 receiving yards, and seven touchdowns.

The following year, injuries derailed Kroft from taking the next step as a player. Kroft's work with the Bengals impressed the Buffalo Bills enough in 2019 when they signed him to a three-year, $18.75 million contract in free agency.

But once again, injuries played a significant role in his lack of production. A broken foot in 2019, followed by a 2020 season with Buffalo where Kroft missed several games due to COVID-19, limited his overall production with the Bills.

Kroft's history with injuries is why the Jets signed him to a one-year deal rather than a long-term commitment. Even though Kroft got $1.5 million guaranteed from the Jets, his long-term role with the team is far from guaranteed.

Since 2018, Kroft has missed 25 games and has only 20 receptions during his last three seasons of play.

Tyler Kroft has the size to be a factor in the red zone and is a solid run and pass blocker. Those traits can be very useful in the Jets' new offensive attack.

Pass blocking by tight ends in the Jets' new offensive system is an underrated element on play-action plays. Kroft can be a quality role player on the team, and he was singled out for a reason in free agency by the new staff.

The question is, can Kroft stay on the field long enough to deliver on what is expected of him?