Promising Jets Rookie Could Finally Suit up With Injuries at Tight End

Kenny Yeboah

Getty New York Jets rookie tight end Kenny Yeboah trots in for a touchdown on August 27, 2021.

Tight end has been a problem for the New York Jets ever since Chris Herndon’s rookie season, maybe longer if we’re being honest.

This offseason, general manager Joe Douglas brought in Tyler Kroft to replace the aforementioned Herndon, who he eventually traded to the Minnesota Vikings. One player caught the attention of fans at this position, however, an undrafted rookie by the name of Kenny Yeboah.

The former Temple/Ole Miss product was expected to be drafted in 2021, so when Douglas snatched him up as a priority free agent, Jets supporters rejoiced. Many even pegged him as a dark horse to start at the position in Week 1.

That was a bit of wishful thinking, which most realized when the rookie first took the practice field. Yeboah ended up having a quiet spring and early summer, but since no Jets tight ends were running away with the job, he still had a chance at a roster spot heading into the preseason.

The first two weeks went poorly. The rookie had a key fumble against the New York Giants on his only reception, before throwing up another dud versus the Green Bay Packers.

Still, Yeboah showed desirable traits like his athleticism, playmaking ability and space-blocking. He seemed to fit the Mike LaFleur system as a “move tight end,” while Kroft and Ryan Griffin would resemble “in-line” TEs.

Then the moment finally came.

ALL the latest Jets news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Jets newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Jets!

Yeboah’s Breakout Game

During the third and final preseason game, Yeboah went crazy. The undrafted prospect ended up with 100 receiving yards and two touchdowns off four receptions and five targets.

The entirety of that breakout performance came in the second half off backup-level talent, but it was still encouraging to see the rookie thrive. Best of all was his Hail Mary snag to save the day with zeros on the game clock.

After that, I questioned whether or not Yeboah deserved a spot on the 53-man roster. Before the Philadelphia Eagles game, I would have said no chance, but that one tremendous outing jumped him over Daniel Brown and Herndon in my mind. I wasn’t the only one either, as Gang Green fans were notably upset when Douglas decided to cut Yeboah.

Luckily, the rookie cleared waivers and found a place on the Jets practice squad.

Follow the Heavy On Jets Facebook page, where you can weigh in on all the latest NYJ-related daily content, analysis, features and more!

Now Is the Time to Call on the Rookie

ESPN’s Rich Cimini reported that the Jets elected to protect three members of the practice squad this week; quarterback Josh Johnson, offensive lineman Isaiah Williams and Yeboah.

It’s fair to assume that Williams and Yeboah could become the franchise’s two elevations in Week 4. In the past, this honor fell to safety Adrian Colbert and linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips more often than not but both players were recently signed to the active roster.

This would make sense for the tight end, in particular. Kroft left Week 3 with a chest injury, as Cimini noted in his tweet. If the veteran is unable to go against the Tennessee Titans, they’ll need a replacement.

Brown is only on the roster for his special teams’ prowess and Trevon Wesco has received limited snaps as a fullback. The starter would likely be Griffin but it’s slim-pickings from there, and he’s coming off a brutal showing in Denver himself.

Jets Twitter vented about Griffin’s time in the spotlight after Kroft suffered the injury. Here’s BryanOreally, echoing a recent Pro Football Focus grade and Heavy on Jets article.

Griffin was a complete liability as a blocker and he didn’t offer much in the passing game either. If Kroft misses this week, the Jets should consider a major shake-up at tight end. Yeboah really can’t be worse, so why not give him a shot when the ceiling is so much higher?

Fan frustration is beginning to boil over and we’re only three weeks in. Head coach Robert Saleh needs to start making some changes to spark this floundering offense and Yeboah should be one of them in Week 4.

Follow @obermuller_nyj and @BoyGreen25 on Twitter for all the latest New York Jets breaking news, rumors, fresh takes and more!

READ NEXT: Jets’ Week 3 Grades Highlight Top Offensive Culprits in Shutout Loss

Read More