Dustin Keller Needs To Take Next Step In 2011

One of the reasons there shouldn’t be much of a panic if Braylon Edwards leaves the New York Jets via free agency is because of tight end Dustin Keller. I am not one of the people who is optimistic about Edwards returning because every indication is that Santonio Holmes is a higher priority and I doubt the Jets will find a way to afford both this off-season.

Even though I agree with the decision to keep Holmes over Edwards, I am still aware of how productive Edwards was for the offense last season. Yet, Keller has the ability to compensate for his absence.

A common argument for keeping Edwards over Holmes is his size and ability to create match-up problems with smaller corners. Keller is athletic enough to flex out as a wide receiver and take advantage of those same corners, which we have seen over the past three seasons. He is 6 foot 2, 250 pounds and despite his improvements in blocking, still has the ability to be more of a wide receiver than a true tight end for this offense.

During Holmes suspension last year, when Keller was given a bigger role in the offense he responded with 19 receptions and five touchdowns in four games. Let’s see what he can if he spends a whole season as the Jets number two option in the passing game behind Holmes and as their primary target in the red-zone because of his size.

Keller is coming off his best career season, leading the team in receptions. There is no reason not to be confident that he will keep growing and developing with Mark Sanchez. The physical ability to be a Pro-Bowl tight end is there, now all he needs is the opportunities in the passing game.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • i see ur point and i disagree i think the team should keep braylon over tone cause he is just better even though no one seems to notice but we would still have to find another receiver to replace braylon in the draft which would set back our offense cause at the end of the day dustin is just a tight end a very good one but still a tight end and in this league tight ends can only get u so far and if we keep braylon our offense will take a step back for years to come if this receiver does not work out like most recievers from the first round but if ducass works out at right tackle we would have to a talented young left tackle, an up and coming young left guard, an elite young center, two great receivers in there prime an up n coming rb and fb, great TE and a franchise QB with moore being the only one in his thirtys our offense will be set for years to come. And get over cro i want him back too but its gonna cost us cause corners make more moneys than receivers and by the way we drafted kyle wilson in the first round last yr and whether you like or not he is gonna be given an opportunity to start one way or another and take it easy on him he was rookie playing against recievers in the slot and thats not easy to do for any one but where he did excel was on the outside where he played in college. and one more thing stop listening to darelle he the same guy wanted chad johnson here too.

  • my mistake i didnt mean braylon i meant what ever rookie receiver we would potenially get he we were to let braylon go that would set our offense back if he dont work out

  • but with braylon our offense will be set for years to come