Thursday, May 1, 2014
Jets draft preview: Tight end
By Rich Cimini
This is the fourth installment in a position-by-position analysis of the New York Jets as they prepare for the draft:
Position: Tight end
Current personnel: Jeff Cumberland (signed through 2016), Zach Sudfeld (2015), Chris Pantale (2015).
Projected starter: Cumberland.
Departures: Kellen Winslow (free agent), Konrad Reuland (free agent).
Top salary-cap charge: Cumberland, $1.9 million.
Scouting report: Re-signing Cumberland was a good move, but they're not finished. Cumberland will give you 600 to 700 snaps a year, occasionally demonstrating the ability to penetrate a deep seam, but he's not the kind of tight end that can be flexed out. In fact, he caught only four passes last season when split out wide to the left or right, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Sudfeld shows some promise as a receiver, but he's still considered a project. Without a doubt, the Jets need to add more talent and more bodies. There's a reason why Marty Mornhinweg didn't use too many two-tight end packages last season.
The Last TE drafted: Hard to believe, but they haven't drafted a tight end since Dustin Keller (first round) in 2008.
Potential targets: The Jets have hosted the top five tight ends in the draft -- Eric Ebron (North Carolina), Jace Amaro (Texas A&M), Troy Niklas (Notre Dame), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Washington) and C.J. Fiedorowicz (Iowa). You don't have to be a detective to figure out what's going on here. The Jets will draft a tight end, maybe two. In the unlikely event that Ebron falls to the Jets at 18, it would be hard to pass. "He's that good," ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said. McShay said Ebron "has holes in his game" (some dropped passes, disinterested blocker), but he added that his pass-catching prowess is hard to ignore. Amaro and Seferian-Jenkins are projected as second-rounders. They're both big, athletic targets. Amaro set an NCAA record for most receiving yards in a season by a tight end (1,352). ASJ dominated in the red zone. His character needs to be checked out; he has a DUI arrest on his record. Fiedorowicz is a traditional 'Y' -- an in-line blocker, as is Niklas. A late-round possibility is Ted Bosler (Indiana).
Need rating (scale of 1 to 10): 10