As the Jets continue to look towards the NFL Draft, beginning their voluntary workouts today, we continue to examine potential options for the 2014 roster. However, there are some under-the-radar players who are already familiar with Green and White. Image: Tony Kurdzuk/The Star-Ledger
Tight end Zach Sudfeld joined the Jets, off waivers, after spending the 2013 offseason with the New England Patriots (as an undrafted free agent).
Sudfeld had received the largest signing bonus of the Patriots’ UFAs—$12,000, with $5,000 in guaranteed money. With their number one option, Rob Gronkowski, sidelined due to injury, Sudfeld showed up to play, receiving offseason accolades from the Patriots beat, being nicknamed ‘Baby Gronk’, and being cast as a potential regular season sleeper.
Sudfeld failed to flash his talents when the regular season got underway, and the Jets swooped in on his three-year, $1.485 million contract. There was some heavy speculation that Bill Belichick and Co. wanted to retain Sudfeld, if he cleared waivers.
While the contract holds no expectations for a roster spot, it does show that the Jets had more than stealing the Patriots’ play-calling in mind.
This Ain’t No Baby
Zach Sudfeld failed to produce anything of real value for the Jets after his addition in 2013, receiving for a total of 63 yards on five catches. It should be noted that 46 of the yards came in a clutch win against the Saints. However, the Jets are said to be ‘high’ on Sudfeld’s potential this coming season (Manish Mehta, NYDN).
Sudfeld looks the part of a tight end with massive potential, standing at 6’7″ and weighing 270 lbs.
You can’t teach size, but you can teach blocking techniques and route-running, which Jets personnel will work to improve on with Sudfeld. Coming out of Nevada—part of the Mountain West conference—he most likely just needs the time to properly develop, and the team would love to make that happen. With the Nevada Wolf Pack, Sudfeld recorded 609 yards on 47 receptions, seeing just one true season of work, his 2012 senior campaign. (Sports-Reference.com)
The Jets have lacked a true difference-maker at the position since Dustin Keller’s pre-injury days, but one could argue that their is a stronger need than even that, for the second-year QB Geno Smith.
The Jets re-signed TE Jeff Cumberland this offseason, but will have to look to get better at the position, after TE Kellen Winslow proved to be lacking the desire to be great. Winslow was suspended four games last season for violating the NFL’s Substance Abuse Policy, and has not been re-signed.
Whether Zach Sudfeld is the answer or not remains to be seen, but it’ll be interesting to watch his play in OTAs and training camp, regardless of what happens on draft day.