With the New York Jets opening the season in just a few weeks, we will break down the depth charts of each position in order to look at how the Jets stack up as they prepare for the 2016 NFL season. See the prior reports on safeties and wide receivers, Next up, the tight ends.
Starter: Kellen Davis
Backups/Special Teamers*: Jace Amaro, Zach Sudfeld, Brandon Bostick, Wes Saxton, Jason Vander Laan
Thanks to the injuries to Amaro and Sudfeld last year, the Jets only brought two tight ends into the season and barely used them as pass options in their offense. In fact, only 25 targets of the Jets' offense went to tight ends the entire year.
This year, Amaro looks healthy but could he be an integral part of this passing attack? It seems unlikely if he can't pass Kellen Davis, who has a picture in the dictionary of him next to "blocking tight end," on the depth chart.
Chan Gailey is not averse to using tight ends in his offense, but he's more interested in getting the ball into the hands of his best playmakers, as witnessed by the 173 targets that went to Brandon Marshall last year.
Does Amaro make a compelling enough case to become a focal point? From what I've seen so far I'm doubtful of that, but with some improved focus on his pass-catching and more refinement to his blocking game, I don't see him as a detriment in this offense, either. The Jets might have more long-term hope for some of their backups, though.
With the extensive use of Quincy Enunwa, the Jets will likely downplay the role of the tight end as a pass-catcher again in their offense.
Of course, keeping players who can block and catch is optimal, but the Jets might focus on the value their tight ends can bring on special teams. Because of this, if players can make a mark on special teams, this might be their best way to get one of the two or three spots available on the final 53-man roser.
Name to Watch
Brandon Bostick is most known for the muffed onside kick from the playoffs a few years ago, but up until that point he was stringing together some success with the Packers. Could some experience, getting settled, and a change of scenery be helpful to him? The next three preseason games could decide.