Hayden Smith's continued learning of the game of football could shake-up the TE competition. [ESPN]
We're taking a brief look at each tight end on the depth chart, as it stands today.
The most familiar TE to the Jets fans has to be Jeff Cumberland. He has been on the team since 2010 and made his debut in 2011 against the Bills. Cumberland tore his Achilles tendon at the beginning of the following season. He finally got playing time last year with Dustin Keller out with injury for most of the year. Jeff Cumberland has shown potential to be a big part of the offense. He had 29 receptions for 359 yards and 3 touchdowns, in 2012. That isn't too bad in comparison to how bad the entire Jets offense was last season. His size/speed combo makes him a major threat anywhere on the field. I had a feeling he was going to be the starter, but then the Jets signed Kellen Winslow. However, that doesn't mean he can't have a role on the offense.
Konrad Reuland played college ball at Stanford, went undrafted, spent some time with the 49ers in 2011, and was picked up by the Jets in 2012. He is a bigger tight end than Cumberland. We haven’t seen a lot of him and I don’t know what to expect. He was a decent blocker in college, but not a big receiver. He has played some fullback for the Jets. He doesn’t have the athleticism like Cumberland but that doesn’t mean he won’t have a role on the team. I could see him coming in on the goal line packages as an extra blocker or a big target for the quarterback.
Mike Shanahan is an undrafted rookie out of the University of Pittsburgh. He played receiver and tight end at Pittsburgh and I think he can do it for the Jets. Tight ends and big receivers are always threats in the red zone and I don’t see why he couldn’t be one. If he makes the roster for the regular season I expect to see him making plays in the passing game. He can expand his role with the team by getting stronger and working on his blocking ability.
Hayden Smith looks to be a part of the future for the Jets. He is a former rugby player turned NFL tight end. He signed with the Jets before last season and didn’t know very much about the game of football. Now that he has learned a bit about the game, he has improved on his overall play. His name came up often during minicamp and we’ll be hearing more about him when training camp starts up. I think the way he will improve his game is just by learning more about the game and developing his skills. He could become a threat to opposing defenses, if he can really make a push from day one of camp.
My favorite tight end on the team is Kellen Winslow. He has been in the league for 10 years and has played for the Browns, Buccaneers, Seahawks, and will be playing for the Jets this year! He hasn’t had a great career because he hasn’t been healthy his whole career. Winslow has had knee problems for a few years which could be a problem. When he’s healthy he is a great tight end—an average blocker, but a good receiver and a great athlete. He will be the starter for the Jets, at least on passing downs. Winslow is an upgrade from the injury-prone Dustin Keller, in my book. The only concern I have with him is the knee issues that could keep him out of games.