Old Dominion tight end Zack Kuntz, the Jets' seventh and final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, has signed a rookie contract with the Green & White.
Kuntz, who appeared in 21 games at Penn State from 2018-20, broke out in 2021 after transferring to ODU for his redshirt junior campaign. Playing in 10 games, Kuntz was second in the country among tight ends with 73 receptions and ninth with 692 receiving yards. He also tied for the team lead with 5 TDs while producing five games with eight catches or more. He caught 12 passes and had 2 TDs in five games last season before sustaining a season-ending knee injury.
"I'm going to go out there and work my tail off," Kuntz said after being taken with the 220nd overall selection. "I could be the first pick in the draft or the last pick in the draft, it wouldn't make a difference for me. I'm going to go and do whatever I can to be the best version of myself. Like I said, refuse to lose and do whatever I can to help the team."
Kuntz (6-8, 251) posted a 94 athleticism score at the NFL Combine according to Next Gen Stats, which ranked first in the tight end class. His testing numbers including a 4.55 in the 40-yards dash, a 40-inch vertical, 10-8 broad jump and 23 reps on the 225-bench press.
"We were sitting there at the top of the seventh round and just going through some of the guys who just had that freak factor to him and he was right there at the top — the size, the speed, the length, the jump, just everything," said GM Joe Douglas, "and another guy who may have been drafted a little sooner if not for the injury this year."
At Camp Hill (PA) HS, Kuntz lettered three times in both basketball and track. In addition to capturing three district titles in the 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles, Kuntz was the State 2A Champion in the 110-meter hurdles in 2017.
"Another size speed freak," Douglas said of Kuntz, who also took home district crowns in the high jump as a sophomore and junior.
After his stint at Penn State, Kuntz followed Penn State OC Ricky Rahne to the Monarchs when Rahne was named ODU's head coach. The '21 breakout season put him on the national radar and Kuntz benefited from a stellar pre-draft process. He'll join a tight ends room that includes Tyler Conklin, C.J. Uzomah, Jeremey Ruckert, a third-round pick in 2022, and Kenny Yeboah. Kuntz is excited about the Jets and the opportunity to learn from four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers.
"It's a tremendous opportunity to be able to go into that as a rookie," he said. "I think the most you can get out of it is learning. You have a future Hall of Famer taking the helm, so anything I can do as a younger guy. Obviously to learn, but still producing and still adding value in any way possible. You have two ears and one mouth and that's for a reason, especially when you get to a new situation, you're learning a lot of things. You adapt to things on the fly. He's a guy that's been doing it right for a long time, I'm sure he's got some knowledge to drop on me as well."