How did the NY Jets tight ends perform in 2020?
If you're looking for flashy production from a tight end group then the Jets roster is not the place to look.
In 10 games last year, Kroft posted a mere 12 catches for 119 yards. Kroft, though, is not a vertical threat as much as a blocker — after all, he has broken 150 receiving yards in a season just once in his six-year career.
Pro Football Focus (PFF) gave Kroft a 79.1 pass-blocking grade for the 2020 season, an impressive feat considering only five tight ends in the league received higher marks. His 63.8 run-blocking grade was also above-average for the position.
Herndon did not see that much more receiving production than Kroft, accumulating 287 yards in 16 games.
However, unlike Kroft, Herndon is not an elite blocker, and PFF does not have as many kind things to say about him as an overall player.
For his 2020 season, Herndon received a PFF grade of 57.6, a far-below average mark for the position. This grade is down almost 20 points since his rookie season, when he was given a 74.8.
Herndon was also credited with four drops, one of the highest totals in the league at his position. Considering he only got 45 targets in 2020, Herndon dropped nine percent of balls thrown his direction — a troubling statistic for a supposed vertical threat.
Griffin also saw a sharp decrease in production last year, as he dropped from 24.6 yards per game to 5.7 yards per game from year to year. He too received an unimpressive mark from PFF, boasting a grade of just 56.1.
Wesco performed similarly poorly, contributing one catch all season and receiving a woeful PFF grade of 41.3. Outside of Kroft, it requires looking at the bottom of the positional group to find 2020 production.
Daniel Brown, who primarily served as a special-teamer last season, actually received the highest PFF score of the 2020 NY Jets tight ends, receiving a notably high 78.1.
Brown has been rarely used on the offense throughout his career, but his strong contributions on special teams make him a relatively important player on this roster, at least when compared to others at the position like Wesco and Griffin.
Rookie UDFA Kenny Yeboah is also a player to keep an eye on. After transferring from Temple to Ole Miss and joining fellow Jet Elijah Moore, Yeboah grabbed 27 catches for 524 yards in just seven games as a redshirt senior.
That is just under 20 yards per reception and 75 yards per game, astonishing statistics for a UDFA considering he was playing in the SEC.
In fact, Yeboah's best games of the season came against the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Florida, and Kentucky. In all four games, he posted over 80 yards, and against the Crimson Tide, he contributed a whopping 181 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches.
The undrafted rookie also impressed at this year's Senior Bowl, and according to PFF, led all college tight ends in yards after the catch during his senior season.
Overall, I would give this tight end group a 5.5. In a previous article of mine before the offseason, I remarked that the tight end position was the most underrated need on the roster.
Since then, all Douglas has done at the position was sign a veteran blocker and undrafted rookie who, while they could prove useful, are not to be relied on for production.
Other than cornerback, I would say this is the most glaring need on the roster currently. And the only reason I don't call this the biggest need is due to the importance of a reliable cornerback corps.