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NY Jets: Analyzing how Kenny Yeboah can make the 53-man roster

NY Jets, Kenny Yeboah
NY Jets, Kenny Yeboah / Andy Lyons/Getty Images
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The NY Jets added quite a few intriguing undrafted free agents this offseason, but perhaps none more intriguing than tight end Kenny Yeboah.

Yeboah was projected by most analysts to be a mid-round pick with few expecting him to come off the board any later than the fifth or sixth round. However, he surprisingly went undrafted.

Numerous teams reached out to Yeboah following the conclusion of the 2021 NFL Draft, but the former Ole Miss star opted to sign on with the Jets, likely a result of the fully guaranteed $180,000 base salary and $20,000 signing bonus that they handed him.

Yeboah is a talented player who stands a legitimate chance at making the final 53-man roster, even as part of a crowded tight end depth chart. But a few things might need to go his way.

How can Kenny Yeboah make the NY Jets roster?

To accurately gauge Yeboah's chances at making the roster, we must first analyze the competition he's up against.

The Jets currently have six tight ends under contract. We could presume that two of these players, Chris Herndon and Tyler Kroft, are guaranteed spots on the roster.

Herndon is the presumed starter who will be entering yet another make-or-break year in 2021. Meanwhile, Kroft was signed in the offseason to serve as an additional blocker and veteran presence in the tight end room.

Both players should make the roster. As for the other four, we could assume that they will be fighting for two roster spots. Given the need for a fullback in the Jets' new offense, it's safe to assume that the team will carry four tight ends.

Trevon Wesco is the best bet to be the team's fullback/tight end hybrid given his experience at the position. The 2019 fourth-rounder has been a partial contributor on offense over the last two years, but his versatility should serve as a benefit.

There's also the veteran Ryan Griffin who is hanging on to a roster spot despite an underwhelming 2020 campaign. Griffin remains a prime cut candidate and he's by no means guaranteed a roster spot given his salary.

Finally, the Jets brought back Daniel Brown in the offseason. Brown is a favorite of special teams coordinator Brant Boyer and no Jets player has played more special teams snaps over the last two years than Brown.

If Yeboah is to earn a spot on the roster, he'll have to beat out at least two of these players.

Griffin might be the easiest. If Yeboah could show that he's a capable receiving threat, he should be able to beat out Griffin who offers little as a blocker and isn't nearly as dynamic as his younger counterpart is.

As for Wesco and Brown, it gets a little more complicated. Brown is certainly the less valuable offensive contributor, but his special teams chops might be enough to keep him around.

If Yeboah is to earn a roster spot, his easiest path to achieving the feat might be to beat out Wesco for the role of the fullback/H-back/move tight end in the Jets' offense.

Yeboah has the functional athleticism to pull it off and is already a more accomplished pass-catcher than Wesco is. If he can adapt to that role in the NFL, he might not only earn a spot on the roster, but he could also play somewhat of a featured role in the Jets' offense.

Yeboah's lack of experience on special teams means that he's more unlikely to fill Brown's shoes. But he has the skill set to fill Wesco's role.

At the very least, the Jets will likely look to stash Yeboah on the practice squad if he doesn't earn a roster spot come Week 1.

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But if he wants to make the 53-man roster, he'll need to prove that he can contribute both as a natural receiving threat and as a "move" tight end/fullback hybrid.

Of course, contributing on special teams won't hurt either.

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