With the Jets and new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano determined to get back to a run heavy offense a good blocking tight end is essential. Starting tight end Dustin Keller has been a reliable pass catcher but his ability to block is a known weakness. Jeff Cumberland is the only other true tight end on the roster, Josh Baker is more of a fullback/tight end hybrid, and returning from injury. Undrafted rookies Tarren Lloyd and Hayden Smith will have a difficult time making the roster while Brian Linthicum can’t find the field, due to injury, to see if he would be able to block defensive ends effectively enough.
The player the Jets have been looking for may just be available to them right now. George Bryan (6’5”, 265) out of North Carolina State was considered a late round draft prospect and a top blocking tight end. During the 2011 season Bryan caught 33 passes for 331 yards and was named All-ACC twice during his time with the Wolfpack.
He ended up not being drafted but signed with the Dallas Cowboys on April 30, 2012 only to be released on June 19th. Apparently Bryan was beaten out by a fellow undrafted rookie on the Cowboys roster who was seen as a better blocker and pass catcher.
Even though Bryan failed to make it with the Cowboys this should not preclude him from an opportunity to compete for a roster spot with the Jets. Maybe Coach Sparano and offensive line coach David Deguglielmo could get the potential out of Bryan the Cowboys could not. The ability and size are certainly there and given the lack of a true blocking tight end the team has nothing to lose bringing Bryan in for a look. His acquisition would be a low risk potentially high reward move if Bryan develops onto the blocking tight end the Jets will need to successfully run the ball.