When Zach Sudfeld came into the league as an undrafted free agent signing for the New England Patriots in 2013, he received more training camp hype than any other player in the league. A standout pass-catcher and blocker at Nevada with major injury concerns, Sudfeld showed off plenty of talent, and his play in August earned him the nickname “Baby Gronk”. But that was all shortlived, as Sudfeld quickly became the poster boy for why training camp hype doesn’t mean much, as he failed to stick in New England. The New York Jets scooped him up early in the season after the Patriots cut ties with him, and he finished his rookie year with a meager five catches for 63 yards in 14 appearances.
Well, it looks like the positive training camp news is back, albeit with mercifully tempered expectations following his quiet rookie campaign. According to Rich Cimini of ESPN New York, Sudfeld put in a good practice yesterday after receiving more reps thanks to Jace Amaro’s aggravated knee injury. In fact, Cimini stated that Sudfeld has shined the brightest at the TE position early on in camp, as Jeff Cumberland has been “relatively quiet”. Meanwhile, Amaro is injured, and reports out of training camp are that he’s struggled, which isn’t a surprise given that he’s transitioning from a no-huddle offense.
I wouldn’t read too much into Sudfeld playing well, but I think it’s possible for him to get some snaps in the regular season and produce at a decent rate in the passing game and in the running game as a blocker. If Amaro shows that he’s too raw, then the Jets will let their TE of the future sit behind Sudfeld on the depth chart, provided Sudfeld does well. I’m still a big believer in the former Nevada standout, because he has a legitimate skill-set and can help the Jets out. Cumberland is the unquestioned No. 1 guy due to his reliable, all-around play, but the Jets will hope for another TE to emerge. Amaro has the playmaking ability, but the Jets could use some help from Sudfeld.