We recently investigated what the likely level of production could be for Garrett Wilson in his rookie season, based on how other Jets' rookies have fared in the past 25 years, then did the same for Breece Hall.
Let's now attempt to do the same for tight end Jeremy Ruckert, who the Jets drafted early on in the third round.
Early expectations for Ruckert are not particularly high, given the fact that he has CJ Uzomah and Tyler Conklin - two durable veterans - ahead of him. However, let's review how he compares to previous tight ends the Jets have drafted.
Other than Ruckert, the Jets have picked 12 players in the first three rounds, including five in the first and four in the second. Only four of these were in the past 25 years, though.
The Jets selected Chris Baker in the third round in 2008, Jace Amaro in the second round in 2014 and Dustin Keller and Anthony Becht in the first round in 2008 and 2000 respectively.
Each of these players had been more productive than Ruckert in college, including Becht, who was better known for his blocking much like Ruckert.
Baker was the only one of these players not to have modest success in his first season. He only started one game and caught two passes. Much like Ruckert, he already had an established starter ahead of him (in this case Becht). His production increased each season until he was starting regularly, peaking in his sixth season which saw him catch over 40 passes for the only time.
Keller had a big first year with 48 catches and even Amaro racked up 38 catches as a rookie. While Becht was less productive (16 catches) he established himself as a contributor and made 10 starts.
It may be more instructive to compare Ruckert with recent mid round picks like Chris Herndon, Trevon Wesco and Jordan Leggett. Wesco and Leggett were disappointments early on in their career and never fully established themselves while Herndon took advantage of the fact he didn't have much competition to catch 39 passes as a rookie.
For a rookie tight end to be statistically productive is not that rare, although you might only get a few each season. Kyle Pitts and Pat Freiermuth had productive rookie seasons in 2021, but they were the only rookie tight ends to catch more than 20 passes.
The Jets don't need to rely on Ruckert and he won't be under pressure to produce in his rookie year. His pass catching potential is still a bit of an unknown though, so it would be encouraging to see him make a few plays. Hopefully if he doesn't get many opportunities, this will signify that Uzomah and Conklin are both producing at a high level.
What do you think Ruckert's numbers will be like in 2022? Let us know in the comments...