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NFL Draft

Why Kenny Yeboah Can Make Jets Roster As UDFA

  • The Draft Network
  • July 28, 2021
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If the modern NFL has taught us anything, it’s that aerial weapons in the passing game can come in all shapes and sizes.

As pro football has become more and more willing to adapt to spread passing concepts from college football, we’ve seen offensive coordinators—the ones who last, at least—be more willing to move their passing weapons around in creative ways that both maximize their talents and also create the biggest mismatches against the defense. This has been fun to watch as a fan of the game. Receivers like Mike Evans and Julio Jones, who were once thought to be just outside wide receivers, and now being used in the slot as No. 3s close to the line of scrimmage to really put pressure on the interior players of a defense’s coverage.

Basically, anywhere you think you can find an advantage with a passing weapon, it’s fair game to utilize them. That especially happens with tight ends like George Kittle and Travis Kelce, who have become mismatch machines in the slot thanks to their rare size and athleticism. Though not projected to be the next Kittle or Kelce, tight end Kenny Yeboah is a player who has a chance to be a difference-making undrafted free agent with his skill set and where he landed. 

Yeboah wasn’t always a surefire NFL player. In fact, he only had a 2-star rating coming out of high school. But his 6-foot-5, 210-pound frame as a high school senior earned him an offer from Temple and he made the most of it. Yeboah’s production steadily increased in each of his four seasons at Temple, and then almost doubled when he transferred to Ole Miss. In his lone season with the Rebels, Yeboah saw career highs in receptions, receiving touchdowns, receiving yards, and yards-per-catch. You could really say that he finally came into his own.

But unfortunately that did not lead to a draft selection. But shortly after the draft, Yeboah opted to sign with the New York Jets, a spot that should be good for him.

The Jets really don’t have a strong tight end presence. They have been waiting for Chris Herndon to be that star at tight end for them, but for varying reasons that just has not manifested. Herndon led the Jets’ tight end room in production last season, but in 16 games he amassed just 287 receiving yards. Herndon’s name is at the top of the depth chart yet again, but as stated before, it’s not like he is the unquestioned top player there. Behind him is veteran Ryan Griffin and then the versatile Trevon Wesco. But Yeboah brings something to the group that not many of the other receiving tight ends do and that is a natural ability to stretch the field up the middle.

The Jets are welcoming a new franchise quarterback in Zach Wison. Wilson operates best under a zone-heavy offense. With zone offenses, there are often chances to take shots over the middle, as zone play forces linebackers to flow toward the left or right, often leaving the middle, especially on the backside, vacated. This is where a player like Yeboah could really do some damage, and could certainly be an area where Yeboah stands out enough to find himself on the opening day roster.

With only one strong year of production, there’s a good chance Yeboah will be on the practice squad for his first season. But the Jets’ tight end room is one that is totally up for grabs when it comes to who will emerge as reliable receiving threats. Yeboah’s skill set presents him with that early opportunity.

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