Kenny Yeboah, TE, NY Jets
The NFL has always been characterized as a copycat league. And in recent years, teams like the Jets have not been afraid to throw guaranteed money at undrafted free agents. NFL teams have also been more apt to take gambles at the tight end position.
Recent examples have seen the Philadelphia Eagles dole out guaranteed money to former University of Buffalo quarterback Tyree Jackson.
At the same time, the Washington Football Team followed the trend with former basketball player Sammis Reyes. Both teams are looking to replicate what Washington has in former QB and now standout tight end convert Logan Thomas.
NFL teams fall in love with new toys and new projects, and new coaching staffs often forget about the old toys that they already had in their toybox. Making an NFL roster is very difficult — staying on an NFL roster is even more challenging for players that are on the fringe.
A recent example of this is former Stony Brook tight end Connor Davis. The 6-foot-8, 260-pound player found his way on the Jets' practice squad late last season after impressing the team's brass during workouts, only to be released a few days ago to make room for a whole new group of players.
When last season ended, Davis, a relative unknown, who has remodeled himself after a unique college career that saw him playing multiple positions on offense and defense, impressed the Jets enough to earn a futures contract.
The Jets front office was impressed by Davis' size, strength, speed, and versatility as a receiver/blocker. But a new coaching staff, combined with over 20 new rookies now on the Jets roster, means that the old diamond in the rough on the Jets gets traded in for a new one.
The Jets hope they have a diamond in the rough with Ole Miss tight end Kenny Yeboah. Gang Green paid a pretty penny to sign him. The franchise gave Yeboah a deal that includes a $20,000 signing bonus and a $180,000 base salary guarantee.
There are no guarantees that the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Yeboah will make the Jets' active roster come September, but the money committed suggests that the team sees great potential in him for their future.
Reports are that the Jets' front office gave Kenny Yeboah a fourth-round grade in this year's draft. The late-rising prospect saved his best for last in college with a final campaign at Ole Miss that saw him net 524 yards receiving and six touchdowns.
The performance by Yeboah against Alabama in a 63-48 loss to the Crimson Tide is what stood out the most for the Jets. A game where Kenny Yeboah set a school record for most receiving yards by a tight end with 181 on seven receptions with two scores.
Ultimately, the numbers game could play into Yeboah's favor in more ways than one, and it goes beyond the money committed to him.
There are no guarantees that veterans like Ryan Griffin will make the team or that Tyler Kroft will stay healthy enough to contribute, or that Chris Herndon will finally live up to his potential in the final year on his contract.
So Kenny Yeboah is in a position where he could emerge as a viable option in the team's passing game, despite being an undrafted rookie.