Position Battles: Tight End

Position Battles: Tight End

With a number of players vying for playing time at tight end, who will emerge at the top of the depth chart this season?

The Starter

I. Dustin Keller

The Challengers:

1. Jeff Cumberland

2. Josh Baker

3.Hayden Smith

The Darkhorses

A. Dedrick Epps

B. Brian Linthicum

C. tarren lloyd

The Low-down:

Keller's game-breaking plays in the open field overshadow his inept blocking ability. Gang Green is in dire need of a stout blocking tight end capable of knocking defenders on their heels and providing running lanes on rushing downs and creating a comfortable quarterback pocket in passing situations. The Jets rolled the dice on Smith, a former Rugby Star, whose 6-foot-6, 255 pound athletic frame could serve him well as both a pass-catcher and as a blocker. Smith's transition from Rugby to NFL football will certainly endure some growing pains.

Jeff Cumberland is coming off a torn Achilles tendon that he suffered Week 3 last season against the Oakland Raiders. If fully healthy, he is indeed a front runner for the No. 2 tight end position. Josh Baker made strides last season as both a fullback and tight end catching his first career touchdown in a Week 16 loss to the New York Giants. Baker could emerge as a viable No. 2 if Cumberland is hobbled by injury and Smith struggles in his first NFL season.

Epps, Linthicum and Lloyd appear to be slated to battled it out on New York's practice squad, but could step in and fill in as rotation players if injuries befall the team. With quality depth at the tight end position, the Jets preseason position battles will certainly be highly contested this summer and must see TV for Jets diehards.

By: TwitterButtons.com

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