New York Jets backup tight end Zach Sudfeld didn’t do much in his rookie year after being a star during training camp and the preseason for the New England Patriots, but the Pats gave up on him just a month into the season. The Jets scooped up their rival’s UDFA find, but he was only able to catch five passes for 63 yards in a thoroughly unimpressive season that didn’t nearly match his preseason hype. Sudfeld’s lack of success has led to many people saying, “HAHA! I told you this is what happens when you overhype crappy UDFA players!” (some of these people also don’t know who LaAdrian Waddle is, or they have selective memory of the Detroit Lions rookie who starred last season at right tackle after putting himself on the map with a big August).
Anyway, there’s no doubt that Sudfeld is talented, and he has the upside to be a very good all-around tight end in this league. He is raw as a blocker and needs to work on his technique, but he excelled in that regard when in college at Nevada. His upside as a pass-catcher is pretty easy to see, but it’s obviously never easy to bank on upside. Still, Sudfeld isn’t someone to give up on, and it is imprudent to write off a diamond-in-the-rough UDFA after their rookie season.
The Jets organization is smarter than that, as a source tells Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that the team’s “brain trust” is “high” on Sudfeld’s “potential”. This report came on the heels of the Jets unsurprising announcement to re-sign last year’s starting TE Jeff Cumberland. The Jets could add another TE this offseason in an effort to add more weapons for Geno Smith (I myself view adding a No. 1 WR as the biggest priority as far upgrading the pass-catching corps goes), but it’s good to hear that Sudfeld will still be someone to watch for.