Since the last preseason game, the Jets have made a series of roster moves. We've been waiting to see which of the new additions will remain on the roster before we scout them in-depth, but we can feel pretty confident that Will Tye will still be on the roster on Sunday, especially with Jordan Leggett's status up in the year.
Tye is a 25-year old tight end, who caught 90 passes in his first two NFL seasons with the Giants. He's listed at 6'2" and 262 pounds and was undrafted out of Stony Brook in 2015. The Jets claimed him over the weekend after the Giants waived him in final cuts.
Tye was initially recruited to Florida State and spent three years there but barely played, catching one pass for seven yards, so he decided to transfer to Stony Brook.
He caught 79 passes for 1,015 yards and nine touchdowns over two years, although his production slipped in his senior year as he drew constant double teams.
After a solid pro day, Tye was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Giants, who initially put him on their practice squad after preseason. However, he was activated in October and ended up playing in the last 13 games, starting seven and catching 42 passes for 464 yards and three scores.
In his second season, Tye played in every game and caught 48 passes but his production dropped slightly as he averaged just 8.2 yards per catch and had one touchdown. He had a good game in the playoff loss to Green Bay, though, with four catches for 66 yards.
The Giants cut Tye after preseason despite his nine catches on nine targets. They retained four other tight ends, including rookie Evan Engram and former Jet Matt LaCosse.
Tye is more of an H-back type of tight end, but still lines up in-line from time to time. Like most modern tight ends, he saw plenty of reps in the backfield, slot and out wide, although he mostly stuck to tight end in preseason this year.
He's been effective when targeted out of the slot, including two of his four career touchdowns, but it only represents a fraction of his total production.
Tye lacks the ideal height for his position, but has terrific athleticism. His pro day 40-time, originally clocked at 4.47, was officially reported as 4.57 which is still very good for his position. The rest of his numbers were also initially reported as good, but the reported numbers were only about average. He did not do the bench press due to a shoulder injury.
Tye hasn't been a downfield threat at the NFL level, although he stretched the field a lot while in college. His only 40-yard play in the NFL was a 45-yard catch and run when he was open down the seam, but he hasn't made any plays downfield, although the Giants did look for him unsuccessfully a few times.
Tye is an effective route runner in terms of the simple square outs and flat routes that comprise the bulk of his statistical production. He's also physical down the field using his body to box out defenders or create separation.
The simple safety valve plays are his bread and butter,
but he'll sneak in a crafty double move from time to time:
However, one of Eli Manning's interceptions last season was attributed to him running a poor route.
Tye's hands are pretty good. He catches the ball cleanly and can go up to get it or scoop up low passes as he does here:
He hasn't had many drops at the NFL level, but did have this costly one on a potential touchdown pass:
He's also lost a couple of fumbles, including this one in preseason that likely contributed to him losing his job:
Yards after the catch
Tye's ability to add a few extra yards after each reception is one of his best attributes. On this play, he sidesteps a tackle down the field and proves difficult to bring down by driving the pile to the goal line:
He also shows some good physicality at the end of this play from this year's preseason with a big stiff arm:
Tye hasn't been used much in the red zone with just four touchdowns, although he has shown an ability to get open on the outside in tight spaces. He also had one red zone touchdown on a corner fade.
On this play he catches the pass on the outside and eludes the defender to score:
Tye doesn't have a reputation as much of a blocker and this was an area where Ben McAdoo had been hoping for improvements.
Watching Tye, he will often get stood up at the point of attack and isn't very efficient at finding a target in space. He'll also allow his man to leverage his way into the path of the ball carrier too easily. Still, the effort is usually there and there were plenty of plays where he got enough of his man to help contribute to a positive run:
Tye has a powerful frame with a low center of gravity so he has the tools to become a better blocker with improved effort and techniques.
Tye wasn't required to pass block very often but didn't have many mistakes when he did. He allowed pressure a few times in preseason last year by blitzing inside linebackers. You might be better off just getting him to occupy a defender by running a route instead, though.
Tye has been used on special teams with the Giants, primarily as a blocker, but hasn't made many contributions. In college he actually returned punts and also fielded a few kicks. He amassed 60 yards on nine punt returns in 2013, showcasing some athleticism.
As a pass catcher, Tye's instincts seem pretty good in terms of finding an open spot or looking for the ball on a hot read. However, he seems out of his comfort zone as a blocker, often tentative at the second level as he seems unsure of who to block.
He had one false start and one illegal shift penalty in his first two seasons.
Tye has obviously shown good resiliency to make a success of himself so far at the NFL level despite his initial inability to contribute at FSU. He has a good work ethic and was reportedly working on his focus and consistency last year.
Aside from the two pre-snap penalties mentioned above, Tye has also had two offensive pass interference penalties.
Injuries haven't been an issue for Tye so far, other than the shoulder injury that limited him during his pro day workout. He missed a practice through illness at the end of last year.
Tye has been far more productive over the last few years than any of the tight ends the Jets have had. While the Giants perhaps opted to go for players with more upside or all-round skills, Tye has at least shown he can be productive at the NFL level which makes him an upgrade over the below replacement-level talent the Jets have had at the position since Todd Bowles took over as head coach.
With Jordan Leggett injured and Austin Seferian-Jenkins suspended, the Jets will likely need him to contribute over the next two weeks. Beyond that, he's probably most similar to Leggett out of the guys on the roster, so that's who he'll compete for time with.
As a safety net in case Leggett develops slowly, Tye is a nice move and he's still only 25, so if he contributes well, he will provide good depth and should fit well into the system.