jeremy ruckert new york jets

New York Jets Offensive Breakout Candidates

The New York Jets enter the 2024 campaign with one of the most talented and talked about rosters in football. Led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, New York features many weapons on offense. From rising stars like Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall to reliable veterans Mike Williams and Tyler Conklin, Gang Green has put together one of the most talented rosters the franchise has ever seen on paper.

New York also features a few pieces that have shown flashes but are still unknowns entering the 2024 season. Let’s look at three players on the Jets’ offense that could break out this season.

New York Jets Offensive Breakout Candidates

Xavier Gipson

Xavier Gipson quickly became one of the best feel-good stories in the NFL early last season. It all started when Gipson was featured on Hard Knocks while being told he was going to make the Jets’ 53-man roster after going undrafted out of Stephen F. Austin. Then, under the primetime lights on Monday Night Football, Gipson returned a punt for the win over the Buffalo Bills in overtime in his debut.

However, after that dream start for Gipson, he started to experience growing pains as a rookie in the return game and wasn’t featured as a receiver much until later in the season. Gipson finished his rookie season with 21 receptions on 38 targets for 229 yards. The undrafted rookie also tallied 830 total return yards.

The numbers aren’t eye-popping but a few games and plays stuck out to Jets fans as a player that could emerge entering 2024. Gipson just like every other pass catcher also had to deal with historically bad quarterback play on top of being a rookie trying to learn on the fly. During Rodgers’ time in Green Bay, he was always able to get his slot receivers and speed guys underneath involved. Gipson was able to put together good offseason workouts over the last few months and could find himself as a week one starter in the slot with rookie Malachi Corley most likely being eased into things early this season.

Jeremy Ruckert

Similar to Gipson, Jeremy Ruckert has been a cool story for the New York Jets. Ruckert grew up a Jets fan from Long Island and on draft night in 2022 he got the call that he would play for his hometown team when the tight end was selected in the third round. Through Ruckert’s first two seasons with New York, he hasn’t made much of an impact and has dealt with limited playing time.

With the first two years of his career being quiet, entering year three Ruckert needs to make a sizeable jump if he wants to remain a legitimate long-term option for the Jets. In 24 career games played, Ruckert has hauled in 17 receptions for 159 yards and has yet to find the endzone. These non-impressive numbers aren’t a surprise when fans factor in that Ruckert primarily redshirted his first season with the Jets only appearing in nine games and last year despite an uptick in playing time, the second-year pass catcher had to deal with historically bad quarterback play just like every other player on the offense.

Entering 2024, Ruckert needs to prove his worth. With Tyler Conklin leading the way, Ruckert has to take his pass-catching ability to another level because, through his first two seasons, he has been a very good run-blocker. With Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, the time is now for Ruckert, especially with veteran Tyler Conklin set to hit the open market after this season.

Joe Tippmann

There were not many bright spots on the Jets’ offensive line last season as New York finished the year with 13 different combinations in 17 games and arguably the worst unit up front in the league. However, one of the only bright spots on the offensive line was rookie center Joe Tippmann who the Jets drafted 43rd overall in 2023. Tippmann appeared in 14 games last season with ten coming at center and four at guard.

After going through rookie growing pains early in his first season, Tippmann turned it around with a strong finish and the growth was evident on the field and in the numbers. In the final three games of the season, Tippmann finished top five among centers in both overall grade and run blocking grade during that span. On top of this, the rookie center allowed just three sacks and two quarterback hits while posting an impressive 97.9 pass-block efficiency rating in his 14 games played.

With the growth shown throughout his rookie campaign, Tippmann is primed for a huge jump in 2024. Not only will Tippmann continue to grow as a player but he also has more help next to him. Alijah Vera-Tucker will return from injury this season and slot in at right guard while John Simpson who was brought in through free agency will slot in at left guard. New York also sured up the tackle spots with Tyron Smith and Morgan Moses. To put it simply, this line has the potential to be one of the best the franchise has seen in over a decade and Tippmann is one of the cornerstones leading the way.

Main Image: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

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