This is the fourth installment of our position-by-position breakdown for the New York Jets as we head to the April 27-29 draft:
Position: Tight end
Key newcomers: Parker (free agent/Kansas City Chiefs).
Projected starters: Seferian-Jenkins, by default. He's the only tight end with more than one career reception. (Parker has one.)
Overview: It goes without saying this is the weakest position on the Jets' roster; it might be the weakest in the entire league -- at any position. Former offensive coordinator Chan Gailey didn't value the tight-end position in his passing attack, so the organization didn't invest any resources. The current depth chart consists of a waiver-wire pick-up (Seferian-Jenkins) and minimum-salary players. The Jets' tight ends managed only 26 receptions in 2015 and 2016, 71 fewer than the next-closest team. Repeat: 71! That is mind boggling. New coordinator John Morton is planning to utilize the tight ends, which means they need to add talent to the pipeline. Seferian-Jenkins has the skill set for a West Coast-style offense, but he's unreliable and will start the season on the suspended list (two games). He's also entering the final year of his rookie contract.
The last tight end drafted: Jace Amaro, a record-setting pass catcher in college, was picked in the second round in 2014. He was released last preseason after only 38 receptions.
Potential targets: The Jets should be able to find a potential starter, as talent evaluators are calling this one of the best tight-end classes in recent years. Eight could get picked in the first three rounds. The consensus No. 1 is O.J. Howard (Alabama), who could be a consideration with the sixth overall choice. He's straight out of central casting -- a 6-foot-6, 251-pound uber-athlete with blocking skills. Yes, blocking skills. From all indications, the Jets didn't invite him for a visit, which may or may not mean something. They did have a late visit with David Njoku (Miami), a likely first-round pick. One NFC scout said, "He has a ton of talent, but he's a work in progress. He's all the athlete you could ever want, but he doesn't block anybody or try to." They're also showing interest in Evan Engram (Ole Miss), who could sneak into the first round. Basically, he's an over-sized wide receiver. This is a chance for the Jets to do something right at tight end.
Need factor (based on a scale of 1 to 10): 10.