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The New York Jets’ most underrated player might surprise you

Tyler Conklin, tight end of the New York Jets, was nothing less than a worthwhile new addition among the free agents.

Since signing a three-year, $20.3 million contract, Conklin hasn’t missed a single game in two seasons with the Jets, and his 1,173 receiving yards during that span put him behind only WR1 Garrett Wilson.

After spending his first four NFL seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Conklin has been an adequate TE1 for the Jets despite the team’s offensive issues that analysts have noted.

Sports illustrated Identifying the “most underrated player” on every NFL team, senior writer Conor Orr selected Conklin to represent the Jets. He was one of two tight ends selected from the AFC, joining second-year prospect Michael Mayer for the Las Vegas Raiders.

Orr explained his goal was to “select 32 players that I believe are under-recognized.”

Out of The most underrated player on every AFC team before 2024:

“Several candidates for the Jets stood out on offense, including Jeremy Ruckert and Xavier Gipson, but I chose Conklin because of his ability to balance a big responsibility in the blocking scheme with some critical catches. Conklin had game-winning catches in wins over the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos last year, but was used primarily as an anchor amid a terrible injury wave. The Jets’ offensive line needed help even before a series of injuries last year, but by the end of the season the unit was unrecognizable and Conklin became arguably their best pass protector. The tight ends are so crucial to this Kyle Shanahan-Matt Lafleur hybrid offense that Nathaniel Hackett runs, and it’s not easy to attract top-notch pass rushers when you know you’re not going to get much help. Conklin has been admirable and was the team’s third-most targeted receiver in 2023.”

Conklin, who turns 29 on July 30, caught nearly 70 percent of all passes as a Jet. The 2018 fifth-round draft pick completed 61 of 87 passes for 621 yards in 2023.

“Having a veteran player like Conk is a great guy. He’s a real stud. He can create space. He’s an excellent route runner and has incredible hands,” Jets general manager Joe Douglas said last March.

Conklin could have a career year with Aaron Rodgers as his pass thrower. He has topped 550 yards receiving for three straight seasons. Conklin’s opportunities in the red zone in particular should increase with Rodgers at the helm. The tight end has caught just three touchdowns in 34 appearances for the Green & White.

At the beginning of this off-season NFL MediaGennaro Filice called Conklin New York’s “most underrated player.”