Skip to main content

Jets TE Reset | Tyler Conklin Seems Locked in at No. 1 After Career Year

In His Third Season, Long Island Native Jeremy Ruckert Expected to Up Contribution 


Returnees: Tyler Conklin (7th year), Jeremy Ruckert (3rd), Kenny Yeboah (4th), Zack Kuntz (2nd)

Newcomers: Lincoln Sefcik (UDFA), Kevin Foelsch (UDFA)

What's New
While the offensive line, the guys in the trenches, has been retooled and revamped, tight ends also carry a load -- a big load -- blocking during running plays and even some passing plays. Even as the offensive line was strengthened and added to, the Jets' tight ends group heading into training camp is nearly identical to the one that finished last season.

The group is led by veteran Tyler Conklin and supported by third-year player Jeremy Ruckert (a Long Island native), Kenny Yeboah and Zack Kuntz.

Conklin had a career-high 61 receptions for 621 yards and played in all 17 games last season.

"I think I have a lot to be proud of, but I don't think anywhere near to what I can accomplish," Conklin said. "There are a lot of things I can get better at. To get career highs in yards, I'm happy about it. I do think there's a lot more meat on the bone."

A pair of undrafted free agents -- Lincoln Sefcik and Kevin Foelsch -- could provide a bit of competition.

See photos of the Jets tight end group during the 2024 offseason.

Strength of the Group
In a word: Continuity

The quartet of Tyler Conklin, Jeremy Ruckert, Kenny Yeboah and Zack Kuntz have a year under their belts in the offense of coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. And while Conklin adjusted and thrived working with four different quarterbacks last season, the group should benefit from the return of Aaron Rodgers at quarterback -- a guy who likes to spread the wealth around to his eager receivers.

"I love our tight end room," Jets GM Joe Douglas said. "Having a vet guy like Conk, who's just a dude. He's a stud, he can get open, he's an excellent route runner, unbelievable hands. Big Ruck's going to jump on the scene even more this year. We all know how talented he is."

Biggest Question
With Tyler Conklin seemingly locked in as the No. 1 choice at TE, there will be a battle among Jeremy Ruckert, Kenny Yeboah and Zack Kuntz for playing time, especially if offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is more inclined to stick with a single TE set with outside options that include Garrett Wilson, Mike Williams, rookie Malachi Corley, Allen Lazard and Xavier Gipson.

Ruckert, who is set to begin his third year in the NFL, got a bump in his playing time last season, taking 310 offensive snaps last year (16 catches, 151 yards) after just 46 as a rookie.

"We found a lot of versatility with him," head coach Robert Saleh. "He's already a really good blocker. To show versatility in the backfield and split as a wide receiver, we're really excited about him and the things we can do with him."

Yeboah, entering his fourth season with the Green & White, is a big body (6-3, 250) who spent most of last season on the practice squad, appearing in only five games. The towering Kuntz (6-8, 251) can "run like a gazelle," according to GM Joe Douglas, but remains an unknown quantity entering his second year in the NFL.

Potential Training Camp Battle to Watch
How will reps be distributed for the tight ends battling for time behind Tyler Conklin?

Jeremy Ruckert, the Ohio State product, started slowly in his rookie season when he was hampered by injuries. He saw more action last year. The coaches like his size (6-5, 250) and his blocking ability. Ahead of training camp, Ruckert appears to have the inside track on the No. 2 spot behind Conklin. Kenny Yeboah only saw action in 5 games last season, taking most of his snaps (114) on special teams. Zack Kuntz, entering his second season with the Green & White. remains a largely untested NFL player, though his size and speed are not to be discounted.

"Kenny brings a physical dynamic," Douglas said. "At the point of attack, he can do a lot of things for us in the run game and he's a really dynamic special teams player. Then Zack is a physical phenom. He's about 6-7. He runs like a gazelle. He had a great year developing last year.

"So we feel like we have four guys in the room right now that are legit NFL tight ends."

What They're Saying
Tyler Conklin's focus is improving on his strong play from last season and giving QB Aaron Rodgers a bona fide pass-catching threat.

"I do think, just speaking for myself, that I really can take another step and a big step in my career," Conklin said. "Having Aaron obviously is going to be helpful. That's the fun part about the offseason. It's my favorite part of the year besides actually playing the games.

"You go and be able to craft and become the best me possible when nobody's looking. I'm excited to do that after we go through OTAs and get that little break and come back and show you guys what's been crafted."

Related Content