New York Jets Must Address Tight End As Top Concern in 2013 NFL Draft

By Stephen Conway
Jake Roth-USA Today Sports

The New York Jets have made it clear that strengthening their defense is a top concern of theirs enters the 2013 NFL draft. Many mock drafts have them taking top defensive ends and linebackers, leaving out top concerns that are on the offensive side of the ball.

The Jets’ offense is in complete disarray. With the uncertainty at the quarterback position, the absence of a true proven running back in the backfield and an inconsistent receiving core, it doesn’t look too good for the Jet offense.

Another main concern for the Jets is that they literally do not have a starting tight end. On the depth chart, they have Konrad Rueland and Hayden Smith. Rueland is a third string tight end with very little experience, and Smith has been playing football for only a year. The Jets must fulfill their need at tight end, and they most likely will, but they should address it during the draft and not in the waning moments of free agency.

This year’s 2013 NFL prospects are loaded with NFL ready tight ends. Even after the first two rounds, where the Jets are projected to pick defensively, there are still great tight end prospects.

Among these great tight ends are Gavin Escobar, Travis Kelce, Jordan Reed and Dion Sims. Escobar, Kelce and Sims are all big targets, standing at 6’5”. Reed is more of a quick receiver, yet still at good size, at 6’3”.
Escobar, the tallest of the bunch, is most likely the best prospect out of the group. Escobar has great hands, is a physical receiver and a pretty good blocker. He is a jump-ball receiver, and can stretch the field at any given moment. Escobar is a reliable prospect.

Jordan Reed draws comparisons to Aaron Hernandez, with smooth body control, and the ability to create mismatches with the opposing secondary. Reed has sharp footwork, which looks the part of a receiver some times, creating separation with breeze.

Sims is a big target receiver, with great balance, hands and deceiving quickness. Sims is probably the biggest target of the prospects, as far as the whole build. Sims is hard to bring down, and extremely dangerous once in open field.

Kelce, projected to be picked by the Jets in the third round as per Jon Presser’s latest mock draft, draws comparisons to Brandon Pettingrew. Kelce has deceiving quickness, and is an all-around great athlete. He works well back to the ball, has great hands and plays with NFL intensity.

Sims and Reed are projected in the fourth round, while Kelce is projected in the third, and Escobar is projected to go either in the second or third round.

The Jets must replace Dustin Keller, who had been their number one receiver for quite some time, and quarterback Mark Sanchez’ main target. With a new offensive coordinator in Marty Mornhinweg, under a new offense, the Jets need a receiving tight end. As far as replacing Keller to the “T”, Reed would be the ideal fit, just because he is more of a receiver than a true tight end, like Keller was. If you want more of a traditional tight end, and a big target, the other three prospects would be the right choice.

Today, across the league, teams are trying to find their own Rob Gronkowksi or Jimmie Graham. The Jets should be searching for a big time tight end, since the rest of the AFC east has one.

It may not be in the first few rounds of the draft, but it definitely needs to be addressed, and what better way to do so then to do so in the draft, with great, intriguing prospects such as the ones mentioned above. Tight end will have a very different look for the New York Jets this upcoming season.

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