Jets position group grades heading into the NFL Draft: Tight End

With the 2021 NFL Draft approaching on April 29 and NFL free agency slowing down, here’s an overview on where each position group stands with grades.

Tight End: C-

Who’s on the roster: Chris Herndon, Ryan Griffin, Trevon Wesco and Tyler Kroft.

Who departed: Daniel Brown.

The Jets’ tight end group needs an influx of talent because in 2020, the production was nonexistent.

Herndon

Even though Herndon had a quiet 2020, he has the talent to be a good tight end.

He had 31 catches for 287 yards and three touchdowns last season and Pro Football Focus rated him as the 59th tight end out of 71 qualifying. The Jets need him to recapture his 2018 rookie form, when he looked more like he had star potential. He had 39 catches for 502 yards and four touchdowns that year, PFF rated him the 12th best tight end.

Herndon also is effective at pass block, which bodes well for the incoming rookie quarterback the Jets are expected to draft. He led tight ends in pass block snaps at 109 and only allowed four pressures with a sack, one quarterback hit and two hurries. His grade was a 76.1.

Griffin

After making 34 catches for 320 yards and five touchdowns in 2019, the Jets got nothing from Griffin last season. He had 86 yards on nine catches and PFF rated him 65th out of 71 TEs.

At 31 years old, Griffin’s best days are behind him but he can be a good asset for depth.

Kroft

Gang Green added the former Bills tight end Kroft on a one-year, $2 million deal with $1.5 million guaranteed. He doesn’t add much to the pass game, he only had 12 catches for 119 yards with three touchdowns. PFF rated him 37th out of 71.

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But Kroft is effective at pass blocking. In 2020, PFF graded his pass blocking at 79.1 which was sixth out of 71.

Draft Options

Tight end isn’t as high of a need as offensive line, cornerback and running back. But the Jets should address the position in the middle of the draft.

Here are a few options:

Hunter Long, TE, Boston College

Last season, Long had 57 catches for 685 yards and was First-Team All-ACC.

Long has great size at 6-5, 253-pounds and his game will translate smoothly into the NFL. He is good at catching in traffic (especially in jump ball situations), is a good red-zone threat and isn’t a liability at blocking.

Long has good speed for a tight end. He ran a 4.63 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day.

He could fit opposite of Herndon as a guy who can make challenging catches, find openings over the middle of the field, block well and be a reliable target.

Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami

Jordan excelled for the Hurricanes with 38 catches for 576 yards and seven touchdowns and earned Second-Team All-ACC honors.

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Jordan is the second-best athlete at his position behind Florida’s Kyle Pitts in the 2021 draft class. He has fantastic athleticism. On a touchdown reception against Louisville, he hurdled a defender before crossing the endzone. So he’s already flashed his potentially elite skillset.

Jordan has natural catching ability and does a good job at tracking the ball in the air. His route-runner ability will translate because of his quickness which allows him to separate. He ran a 4.64 40-yard dash at his pro day.

Kenny Yeboah, TE, Ole Miss

Yeboah started his career at Temple but didn’t have a ton of production. He had 47 catches for 538 yards in four years at Temple before transferring to Ole Miss. The 6-3, 247-pounder equaled those numbers in just one year at Ole Miss. He had 27 catches for 524 yards and six touchdowns in 2020.

Yeboah showed his ability to be a dangerous receiving tight end and has a ton of athleticism with solid hands and the ability to run an all-around route tree. He thrives in the middle of the field and in the red zone where he can exploit box defenders.

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