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Why the Jets Can Thrive With Bowers, Conklin, & Ruckert

The Jets offense can utilize three tight ends on offense.
Brock Bowers

As April draws to a close, all eyes are on Detroit this Thursday for the NFL Draft. The 2024 class has a lot of excitement led by a provocative trio at the top of the quarterback class, a surplus of talented offensive linemen, and a wide receiver class rivaling 2022. A talent pool that has many still questioning how the top ten picks will be chosen. As the smokescreen clears, we begin to understand what’s on the horizon. For general manager Joe Douglas, this 10th overall pick will have long-term franchise implications. The consensus name being used is University of Georgia Tight End Brock Bowers. Bowers’ size, pass-catching abilities, and blocking have scouts in awe of his potential. The Lions are a prime example of the impact a great rookie tight end can have with Sam LaPorta’s history-making season.

However, questions within the fan base have rung loudly over concerns about Bowers impact on Tyler Conklin. Conklin won the tight-end job from veteran CJ Uzomah last year. Although he finished the season without a touchdown, Conklin was frequently targeted. While they stem from good faith, these concerns are overblown for the ceiling of this team. Furthermore, should Bowers name be called on Thursday; the trio of Bowers, Conklin, and Jeremy Ruckert can have a positive impact.

Why the Jets Can Thrive With Bowers, Conklin, & Ruckert

As time goes on, the value of a quality receiving tight end has only appreciated. The prototypes of Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce have evolved with a new crop of talent. Organizations like the San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings, and Detroit Lions have all benefited from these weapons. George Kittle helped the 49ers with two Super Bowl appearances. TJ Hockenson became a frequent target for Kirk Cousins in the red zone. Lions tight end Sam LaPorta broke the rookie reception record for the position this season. A big-bodied target is crucial for quarterbacks.

This is why Brock Bowers has become such a sought-after name. Standing six foot four inches and 240 lbs, Bowers has the desired size for the position. With over 2500 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns through 40 games, Bowers importance to Georgia’s two national championships can’t be overstated. Undeniably, Bowers talent has earned him tight end one ranking across the board. Thus, fans are elated to see him mocked to New York with the 10th pick. Detractors voiced concern that Bowers isn’t needed because of Tyler Conklin and Jeremy Ruckert hold both spots in the tight end room. This sentiment is disingenuous. In actuality, the trio can be more valuable than many expect.

Brock Bowers impact

Brock Bowers became the toast of Athens, Georgia over the past three years. The California native quickly enamored fans with his size and red-zone efficiency. Bowers position is more than being a tight end. He displayed the separation and athleticism that many prominent wide receivers have succeeded with. Brock Bowers playmaking abilities can be a massive help for Garrett Wilson to take advantage of. A veteran with Rodgers experience can find ways to involve Bowers if lined up at wide receiver. This benefits New York by giving newly signed Mike Williams more time to rehab from his knee injury.

Tyler Conklin impact

The idea of Bowers taking targets away from Tyler Conklin is greatly overblown. Both Bowers and Conklin are indeed tight ends, their games complement one another. Conklin proved his value this season despite the revolving door of quarterbacks. He usurped CJ Uzomah as the primary tight end and made some valuable catches this year. By lining up Bowers as a wide receiver, Conklin can still be available to attack the middle of the field. Conklin has shown to be respected in the locker room and a valued veteran voice on offense last year. The presence of Bowers and Conklin on the field gives Aaron Rodgers a valuable safety net for Garrett Wilson.

Jeremy Ruckert impact

Do not let the lack of headlines and stories fool you. Jeremy Ruckert is a valuable facet of this team’s success. The second-year tight end out of Ohio State reminded the league why he was a third-round pick. Although he wasn’t as targeted in the passing game, Ruckert’s impact shined in the running game. His run blocking made him a favorite in the locker room, especially for star running back Breece Hall. Nathaniel Hackett must recognize the importance of his blocking to this offense’s success, especially with the depth of the offensive line a question. Using Ruckert as a fullback essentially gives New York a sixth offensive lineman. His blocking can have a massive impact on short-yardage plays. If Tyrod Taylor has to see the field, Ruckert’s run blocking can be a difference-maker at the goal line on option runs.

Main Photo: [Jake Crandall] – USA Today Sports


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