Jets Found Their Star TE1 in Preseason Finale

Tyler Conklin, Jets

Getty New York Jets tight end Tyler Conklin making a play during a game in the preseason.

It has been a long time since the New York Jets have had a tight end on their roster that they could be proud of.

A decade of mediocrity at the position will do that to you. Although this offseason the green and white completely overhauled the position and optimism is overflowing heading into 2022.

Especially after the performance, we witnessed in the preseason finale on Sunday, August 28.

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Emerged From the Pack

Tyler Conklin didn’t play long in the preseason finale because he didn’t have to. The long-haired chiseled tight end’s spot on the roster is secure and this was merely a warmup ahead of the 2022 season.

Despite the lesser circumstances, Conklin continued to show in limited action why he can be the straw that stirs the drink on offense.

He caught two passes for 27 yards on three targets. Those statistical achievements won’t get him into Canton, but the play showed how the Jets can utilize his receiving talents this season.

For example on one of his receptions, the Jets ran Conklin right next to his teammate CJ Uzomah. The similar route concept confused the Giants and rubbed Conklin free to make a big play.

That led Zack Rosenblatt who covers the Jets for The Athletic to tweet out during the game that Conklin “is so clearly the Jets No. 1 tight end.”

That is despite the fact the Jets paid more money to Uzomah ($24 million) than Conklin ($21 million). The former Bengals standout was signed first and then the team pivoted to a two-tight end conversation later.

A relative afterthought by the fan base in the middle of a heated free agency might prove to be one of the most important signings of the entire offseason.

On the surface, a lot of people scratched their heads when the Jets invested over $45 million into the tight end position. Although during an episode of Flight 2022 earlier this offseason the two explained that the Jets made them feel wanted and had an excellent plan to utilize both of their talents.

A Key Cog to This Offense

Conklin didn’t earn as much fanfare as Uzomah did when they were initially signed. The former Bengals star is louder, was just in the Super Bowl, and makes more money.

However, when you look at the tale of the tape, Conklin’s 2021 season which was a breakout campaign was better than any individual season that Uzomah has had in his entire career.

That’s impressive within itself, but when you consider Conklin has barely scratched the surface of his potential you start to understand how big of a deal he really could be in 2022.

Conklin has been lighting it up in training camp and has become a security blanket on the offensive side of the ball.

The tight end position is so important in this Mike LaFleur offensive scheme. Which makes you wonder why the heck they ignored the position in 2021? Regardless of those past errors, they have a chance to rectify their mistake with Conklin.

He is a smooth operator as a route runner and has spectacular hands. Conklin brings unique shiftiness for a guy that stands in at 6-foot-3, 248 pounds. Regardless of who has been playing quarterback, they have continued to find Conklin.

That is a sign of a reliable player that is able to adapt to less-than-ideal circumstances. If you have a late draft pick in fantasy football and you’re looking for someone to throw a dart at, draft Conklin and thank me later.

This guy is a star in the making and has all the potential to go off in 2022. Despite a lot of offensive talent around him, Conklin stands out as a player that will be among the leaders in target share in this offense.

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