New York Jets Training Camp – Tight End Power Rankings

Connor Rogers ranks the New York Jets tight ends based on training camp and pre-season performance

As the Jets entered Cortland, they had arguably one of the most questionable tight end units in the entire NFL. While their not fielding an All-Pr stocked unit, things are looking up after the first preseason game. With three new faces fighting for a spot on the roster at tight end, a former rugby player, a former wide out, and one of Sanchez’s high school teammates, the group is certainly packed with story lines. Let’s see how their stacking up with the pads on after week one of the preseason

1) Jeff Cumberland

A lot of people are clamoring over Kellen Winslow Jr, rightly so. If Winslow can stay healthy he will most likely have more of an offensive impact than Cumberland in the passing game, but Cumberland’s progression is quite impressive. Many people fail to realize he was a wide receiver in college, signed as an undrafted free agent by the Jets and immediately switched to tight end. The pass catching skills were there, along with the size-speed ratio mismatch, but his improved blocking ability is what will keep him on the field. If the Jets can get serviceable blocking along with his consistency as a red zone threat, Cumberland will remain “the guy” at the tight end position.

2) Kellen Winslow

What once seemed like an absolute shot in the dark is becoming a reality: Kellen Winslow Jr can still play football. While never a game changing blocker, Winslow is a threat in the aerial attack and cannot be covered by most linebackers. His biggest question mark is his health and it will remain that way until the season concludes. The Jets have been intelligent in their use of keeping Winslow on a “pitch count”, limiting his practices and preseason game reps. In a league where two tight end sets are trending, Winslow is a vital piece to the New York Jets offense.

3) Konrad Reuland

The former high school teammate of Mark Sanchez caught on at the end of last season. Reuland isn’t anything more than a team’s third tight end in the NFL, but he fits this role well. He’s an average blocker with decent hands and plays special teams. He was on the field a lot against the Lions and has an upper hand on the next three guys.

4) Hayden Smith

The Hayden Smith project may be expiring soon as a large part of me wanted to put him at the five spot, but he hangs on here for now. He hasn’t shown much in any games and even worse has been relatively quiet in training camp. A guy with his size and speed should be making catches all over the place. Best case scenario he breaks out in the last preseason game where no starters play and makes the practice squad again.

5) Chris Pantale

Pantale had a nice 19 yard grab against the Lions in the second half, showing off good hands. I have previously stated Pantale has great measurables to be a serviceable NFL tight end, his system in Boston College just rarely took advantage of his skill set. He’s a player the Jets will need to get more of a look at in the next few weeks.

6) Mike Shanahan

Shanahan had a quiet debut to go along with his quiet camp. He was a UDFA for a reason, my friends.

  • Joe Caporoso

    Always thought had fans had WAY too high of hopes for Hayden Smith this season

  • Mike Nolan

    Jets didnt really have a TE that could block in 2012…Thats why they used Jason Smith at TE in running situations…Made it obvious when they were going to run the ball

  • matr dontelli iii

    i’m one of those who repeatedly voiced high hopes, which were based on reading reports of him tearing up otas as well as his athleticism. when we went through two weeks of camp and i barely read his name ever i realized things were not looking too good for him. while i was never high on cumberland i am certainly hoping he continues to improve and becomes a solid te. whatever happens, it’s a virtual guarantee that we nearly double our production from the position last year.

  • KAsh

    I might be wrong, but I think I saw Hayden Smith playing on the thrid string in Detroit. He wears #82. I think he was mostly used as a blocking TE.

    He flashed ability in OTAs without the pads and with Reuland as the only other veteran available. I always said he would have to outplay Cumberland, rather than Reuland, if another veteran TE got added. I thought he had a pretty good chance, but evidently the gap in experience was too much to bridge. By the virtue of dividing a team into strings, the starting job became Cumberland’s to lose, so the good side is that Cumberland has done nothing so far for the team to look to replace him.

  • JetOrange

    I attended practice in Cortland on 8/1.My observations on the TE’s.

    1. Cumberland- There was a concerted effort to get the ball to Jeff and Kerley. Lots of seam routes.
    2. Winslow got limited reps, but he has great hands. More physical yet smoother than Keller. Kellen talked about a 100 catches well that’s crazy, but he has the ability for 60, he is a player…
    3. Hayden Smith had a very good day when I saw him. Caught the ball short and deep, was all over the field, open as the third read. Played on ST.. Good concentration on the ball, looks it into his hands.
    4. Ruland had a bad day with 3 drops. Played ST, but was clearly ranked 4th..
    5. Pantale just didn’t get the reps but played ST. Shanahan can run and he can catch, he looks a little thin, made some very nice catches, IMO has a shot at the practice squad

  • John C

    I questioned the TOJ crews opinions of Cumby and McKnight, when they would question whether either would make the cut – Looks like 50/50 for me (McKnight is looking like a goner). Cumby will be fine, and he and Winslow will be a huge, huge, huge improvement over Keller. I never did drink the Smith Kool-Aid, as I mentioned once that, we would be hearing a lot more great things if he had a legitimate shot at passing Cumby. Pantale had a nice catch, Reuland (to put it nicely) is a warm body and nothing more.

  • Angel

    If Cumberland actually learns how to run routes, I think he will be an awesome #2 to Winslow’s #1.

    …WHICH, by the way, is the most notable thing I took away from the WRs during the Detroit game. The WRs and TEs looked sharp running their routes. Very little confusion and they appeared to be where they should be when the ball was coming. Contrast that to last season. VERY often it looked like Cumberland, Hill, Gilyard, Gates and Shilens wound up where they shouldn’t be when the ball sailed pass them.