Jeff Cumberland: Stay or Go?

Jeff Cumberland can be an exciting guy to project. There are not many 6'4" 260 pound men who can run a 40 yard dash in a 4.4 range. He showed a flash of what he might be capable of becoming on a 33 yard reception against the Cowboys. His second season ended prematurely two weeks later at Oakland when he tore an Achilles tendon trying to make a contested catch in the end zone. This brought Jets fans a lot of pain because it greatly increased Matthew Mulligan's playing time.

An interesting note about Cumberland's brief 2011 campaign is that he was used as a blocker almost twice as frequently as a receiver. He had been viewed primarily as a receiver coming out of Illinois, but he certainly is big enough to be an effective blocker at his position. His limited blocking work was not bad. There are not many effective tight ends with his size-speed combo. At the very least, perhaps he can provide the Jets with an internal option to finally provide an effective blocking tight end who does enough as a receiver to keep defenses honest when he is in the game. Hopefully he can become a full time tight end who allows the Jets to move Dustin Keller around. This is ambitious I know for a guy with 3 catches in 2 seasons, but we can dream. Can't we?

It is always difficult to tell the true effect of coaching, but I think players like Cumberland provide really good test cases. Good coaches can take raw players with loads of natural athletic ability and refine their technique. I think Cumberland will eventually become as good as the coaching he receives. I want to see how good that is so I vote stay. There is no reason to move on from one such cheap young guy with good athletic ability.

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