Aaron Rodgers Building Chemistry With New York Jets' Freak Athlete Tight End

The New York Jets have four tight ends under contract, including 2023 seventh-rounder Zack Kuntz. The developmental tight end has caught quarterback Aaron Rodgers' attention.
Aug 12, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; New York Jets tight end Zack Kuntz (81) tries to leap
Aug 12, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; New York Jets tight end Zack Kuntz (81) tries to leap / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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The New York Jets opted to not draft a tight end, seemingly content with the group of four currently under contract.

Tyler Conklin has 1,173 receiving yards over the past two seasons as TE1. Jeremy Ruckert, a 2022 second-round draft pick, appears ready to be the TE2, and reserve Kenny Yeboah re-signed as a restricted free agent.

Then, there's Zack Kuntz, a physical freak who may prove worthy of a larger role in 2024.

"Big Zack last year, who we drafted late, so, him and I had a lot of success late in the season practicing together on the scout team," said quarterback Aaron Rodgers while commenting on the Jets' tight ends group during a draft night appearance on the Pat McAfee Show. "I like those four guys. We're gonna be in 12 and 21 [personnel]."

Kuntz, a 2023 seven-round draft pick, spent much of his rookie campaign on New York's Practice Squad, finally receiving a call-up to the 53-man roster in late December. He played six snaps (2 OFF, 4 ST) in the Jets' triumphant regular season finale against the New England Patriots.

It is possible that Rodgers's on-field presence could unlock Kuntz's potential.

The 6-foot-7 tight end, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds, should theoretically present a mismatch for defenders.

Kuntz's draft stock spiked following his performance at the 2023 NFL Combine. NFL NextGenStats ranked the physical specimen as the top tight end performer in terms of Athleticism Score at 94.

He posted a perfect Relative Athletic Score (RAS), a metric developed by data-loving draftnik Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb). His 10 RAS out of a possible 10 ranks first overall amongst 1,105 tight ends who were graded in between 1987 and 2023.

"He tested through the roof, so we were sitting there at the top of the seventh round and just going through some of the guys who just had that freak factor," said Jets' general manager Joe Douglas after drafting Kuntz last year.

Now, it's up to the athletic tight end to show that he can become an impact player for this franchise.

Ralph Ventre


Ralph, a former college football conference administrator, brings 20 years of media experience to the New York Jets beat. Prior to concentrating on Gang Green, he covered the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision for NFL Draft Bible on FanNation. Ventre remains as an official voter for the Stats Perform FCS Top 25 and the annual legacy awards. The Fordham University graduate is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. The veteran sports media professional resides in his native state of New Jersey.