Camp Countdown '08: Tight Ends
This looks to be a 3 man battle for 1 or 2 starting positions in 2008. Chris Baker, the incumbent starter, is a decent talent. He does nothing exceptional, but suits up every week and provides a steady option to the team. Baker is complaining about his contract and could hold himself out of camp. Bubba Franks was signed as a one year reclamation project. Franks was demoted behind Donald Lee in Green Bay and has had problems staying healthy over the last 3 years as his career has slid from pro bowl talent to not being able to find a team willing to give him a long term deal. This will be his last chance to prove he can be a worthwhile investment for an NFL franchise. Dustin Keller was drafted by the Jets in the first round and will be a player to line up as an H-back, TE, and WR once he moves into the lineup. While wide receivers often take time to develop, highly drafted tight ends often contribute right away and he has a legitimate chance to start very early on. Jason Pociask has no chance to be a starter, but is a good blocker and can line up in the backfield in certain packages.
Unless Bakerís contract situation leads to him being released, and things have already gotten very ugly between Baker and the Jets, all 3 names at the top of the depth chart will make the team in some capacity. Pociask is really the odd man out. The Jets carried 4 tight ends in 2007, but with the addition of Keller and FB Tony Richardson, Pociaskís versatility is no longer needed for the offense. He is going to need an outstanding camp to convince the Jets to carry 4 tight ends this year. Even then he may need a prolonged holdout by Baker or an injury to someone to make the team.