Enough is enough, it’s time for the New York Jets to get Zach Wilson the tight end he deserves.
There’s no guarantee that top free-agent candidates like Dalton Schultz or Tyler Conklin will hit the open market in March. If they don’t, the Jets will have to find their starting TE in the NFL draft and although Trey McBride is still the top dog in this class, a cheaper alternative has become quite popular among fans.
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Long Island Native Shoots up Draft Board
NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah tweeted recently that while “this draft lacks a premier TE… the depth is outstanding.” He continued: “You’ll be able to find potential starters in the 4th/5th round this year.”
He may not last until the fourth or fifth round but one of those potential starters is Ohio State late-bloomer Jeremy Ruckert. Jets team reporter Ethan Greenberg listed the Buckeyes tight end as a Senior Bowl prospect that “improved [his] stock” during a recent article.
“The tight ends crop at the Senior Bowl was impressive with guys like Colorado State’s Trey McBride, Wisconsin’s Jake Ferguson and Coastal Carolina’s Isaiah Likely, but Dane Brugler of The Athletic was most impressed by Ohio State’s Jeremy Ruckert,” Greenberg wrote. “‘Jeremy Ruckert was outstanding,’ Brugler said. ‘He’s a really smooth pass-catcher, the ball skills have been fantastic. I think he’s helped himself.'”
Ruckert was overshadowed by Ohio State’s embarrassment of riches on offense for most of his college career. He only totaled 615 receiving yards over four seasons because of that but he did secure 12 touchdowns.
Best of all, the Buckeye got better every campaign, closing out his collegiate tenure with a 309-yard senior year. The aforementioned Brugler — lead draft analyst for The Athletic — guaranteed that Ruckert “will be a better pro than college player.”
He also noted that the Long Island native would be a great fit for the Jets on day two of the draft. “Ruckert is a ball-winner and future starting Y [in-line] TE,” he added.
Apparently, the OSU athlete’s father agrees. Bill Ruckert commented “J-E-T-S -JETS JETS JETS” on the Reese’s Senior Bowl tweet that named his son to the NYJ roster in January. He included a photo of Jeremy, who was a childhood Jets fan.
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Scouting Ruckert: He ‘Catches Everything’
Not convinced? Well, maybe some of the scouting on Ruckert will change your mind.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound dual-threat can be everything Wilson needs in a long-term tight end. “Ruckert catches everything,” voiced Oliver Hodgkinson of Pro Football Network.
He continued: “Ruckert combines excellent catch radius with strong hands and excellent catching technique. He’s a dangerous touchdown threat, evidenced by over a quarter of his receptions resulting in a house call. The Ohio State tight end has enough route-running savvy to be dangerous down the seam, ghost into space in the intermediate area, and break fluidly on shallow crossing routes.”
Hodgkinson also noted that the Buckeye has an “explosive nature to his game” and called his blocking “entertaining as hell” — in a good way. This video of Ruckert blocking first-round talent George Karlaftis one-on-one went viral on Twitter.
An early favorite among Gang Green supporters, Ruckert could also turn into a favorite for offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. He fits this offense to a T as a prototypical in-line prospect that produced for OSU off play-action.
Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network stated: “Many of those scores have come out of play-action, where Ruckert’s role as a blocker and his ability to climb to the second level on seal blocks can be well hidden and allow him to burst free on delayed releases out of stalk blocks [into open space].”
With a family that is based in Lindenhurst, Long Island, Ruckert makes too much sense for the Jets in April. At Ohio State, he told reporters: “Where I come from, the way I was raised, once I’m committed [to something] I have to finish it.”
Let’s get this promising talent committed to a Jets Super Bowl title.