Over the past month or so, we’ve been taking an in-depth look at each of the Jets’ rookies. We’re now looking at the undrafted free agents, continuing today with tight end Kenny Yeboah.
The 22-year old Yeboah is listed at 6’3” and 250 pounds and was undrafted out of Ole Miss. He played four seasons with Temple before transferring to Ole Miss in his final year and racking up 524 yards and six touchdowns in eight games.
Yeboah was just a two-star recruit out of high school, where he was an inexperienced 215-pound wide receiver and also played basketball. However, he impressed Temple’s coaching staff, included Matt Rhule, at one of their offseason camps and received an offer from them ahead of the 2016 season.
After playing in one game and catching one pass, Yeboah red-shirted the 2016 season but caught 14 passes in a reserve role in 2017 as he made one start. In 2017, he started two games but was mostly employed as a blocker, scoring the first touchdown of his career but only registering 13 catches.
His role increased in his red-shirt junior season as he started eight games and scored five touchdowns. He ended the season with 19 catches for 233 yards.
At the end of the 2019 season, Yeboah opted to go to Baylor as a graduate transfer to play for Rhule, who had liked his potential during his Temple days. The idea was that he’d be joining a team that would give him more of a chance to show what he could do as a pass catcher. However, when Rhule got an NFL job instead, Yeboah changed his mind and instead went to Ole Miss.
The move paid dividends as Yeboah had over 80 receiving yards in each of the first four games, including 181 against Alabama. He added four touchdowns. However, his production fell off over the next four games.
With a couple of games to go, Yeboah opted to sit out the rest of the season to prepare for the draft. He ended the season with almost as many yards (524) and the same number of touchdowns (six) as he had for his entire Temple career in just eight games and was voted in as a third team all-SEC selection.
After the season, Yeboah was invited to the Senior Bowl where he did well and Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline said that he had solidified himself as a top-75 pick. However, the Jets were able to pick him up as an undrafted free agent, giving him a team-high $180K in guaranteed money to secure his services.
Now let’s take a look at what Yeboah brings to the table, divided into categories.
Yeboah has decent size and a good wingspan but he wasn’t able to complete his pro day workout as he pulled his hamstring while running a 4.75 in the 40-yard dash and then hurt his shoulder while doing the bench press, which limited him to 15 reps.
He had posted good explosiveness numbers but didn’t do any agility drills. On the field, Yeboah is a long-strider who can cover a lot of ground but doesn’t have much burst and acceleration.
Yeboah is a move tight end rather than someone you’d put inline at the line of scrimmage. He is often put in motion or tasked with making a block on the move.
At Temple, he was primarily a blocker and played in the slot about 25 percent of the time. However, he played more of a pass-catching role at Ole Miss and was in the slot 50 percent of the time. Yeboah has sometimes lined up in the backfield, but didn’t line up out wide very often.
In high school, he played as a wide receiver and also on defense as a defensive back.
Yeboah was mostly a possession option at Temple, but was used as more of a downfield threat by the Rebels and ended up 2nd in the SEC by averaging 19.4 yards per catch.
While he’s not likely to get behind the defense for a deep ball, he can be effective going down the seam and you can throw a downfield jump ball or back shoulder throw for him to go up and get.
One thing Yeboah does well is adjust to the ball in the air. He has good body control and tracks the ball well.
Yeboah was a player who did most of his damage by finding soft spots in the defense rather than beating man coverage. He breaks to the outside on this play but the defender doesn’t go with him.
He’ll run some flats and crossers and work the seams, but there aren’t many example of impressive route running on his film.
Based on some of his practice footage, Yeboah’s route running needs some refining. He will round off his breaks and dance too much at the top of his route stem.
Yeboah has the ability to use his size and is competitive at the catchpoint. He had one offensive pass interference penalty in the 2020 season but it was on a blocking assignment.
Yeboah looks like a natural pass catcher most of the time and is able to make use of his good catch radius.
However, he’s developed a reputation over the years as someone who will sometimes lose focus and drop easy passes. This one was particularly costly as it came in the closing seconds of a game the Rebels lost by seven.
Despite this, he’s caught almost 70 percent of his targets during his career and only had seven drops in the last three seasons. He did have some drops during senior bowl practice and with the Jets at OTAs though.
He has a few flashy highlight reel-type grabs in his game film, including this casual one-hander for a touchdown.
Yeboah scored 11 of his 12 touchdowns over the past two years as he developed into a solid red zone option who can use his body to box out defenders. He had a few touchdowns on play action as he went to make a trap block and then leaked out over the middle.
He also scored on this dump-off to the flat, using his size to get to the goal line for the score.
Yards after the catch
Yeboah isn’t regarded as someone who will break a lot of tackles, but he’s a reliable option to dump it off to and he can turn upfield and get you several yards at a time.
In the open field, he can run well once he gets going and can slip a tackle in space but isn’t fast enough to breakaway from fast defensive backs.
His size makes his hard to bring down so he can drag smaller defenders for extra yards or fall forward at the end of a run.
Yeboah did a lot of blocking at Temple so he has some good experience in that area. However, he graded out poorly as a run blocker in 2020.
He does show some positive traits though. He’s aggressive out of his stance and competes well at the point of attack. He can be effective trapping up the middle as a lead blocker or pulling across the formation.
Where he lets himself down is in space. He has a tendency to lunge after his man and can be tentative when engaging at the second level.
If he can improve his technique and iron out some of these inconsistencies, Yeboah has the potential to develop into a decent blocker.
He was called for two holding penalties during the 2020 season.
Yeboah has also stayed in to pass protect on a regular basis and has had some decent results when doing so with no sacks surrendered and just a couple of pressures. He shows an ability to stay in front of his man, reset his feet to redirect and can anchor against a bull rush.
Here’s one play where he lost the initial leverage battle and got driven back, allowing his man to get off his block with an arm-over move.
He allowed just one pressure during his time at Temple but it led to an interception.
Yeboah has played in a variety of roles on special teams, including on the punt coverage unit where he’s played both as a lineman and as a punt protector. He had three tackles in three years in this role.
He’s also blocked on the kickoff return unit and on the wing during placekicking attempts.
Yeboah did both kicking and punting while he was at high school.
As noted, Yeboah did most of his damage by finding open spots in opposing defenses. This was something he had a good knack for. As a blocker, he’s often tentative and unsure of who to block when in space though.
He didn’t appear to screw up any assignments but did have one pre-snap penalty - a false start - in 2020.
Yeboah has displayed a good work ethic to transform himself since he came out of high school as an inexperienced 215-pounder. He shows good aggressiveness, effort and toughness on the field but does have lapses of focus.
His on-field discipline has been acceptable but he does have 12 penalties in the last four seasons.
He showed maturity and determination to graduate early so he could transfer to a school that had a better situation for him, although some may question his loyalty after he opted out at the end of last season.
That decision to opt out is perhaps easier to forgive based on the fact that Yeboah was dealing with a dislocated finger and groin and hip flexor injury at the time. He had played the whole season with the finger injury. Taking time off to get to 100 percent didn’t do him much good, though, because he hurt his hamstring and shoulder during his pro day workout.
During his career, Yeboah only had one injury that caused him to miss time. This was another hamstring injury in the 2019 season opener. He missed a few weeks with that one.
Yeboah played for three different head coaches while at Temple, but preferred Lane Kiffin’s system with Ole Miss because it gave him a chance to contribute more as a pass catcher.
He projects to a move tight end role at the NFL level, which is the same as he played in college. Maybe if he improves his blocking, he could contribute in a versatile Kyle Juszczyk-style role eventually.
Yeboah was a teammate of fellow rookie Elijah Moore once he transferred to Ole Miss.
Yeboah is probably the biggest name out of all the undrafted rookies and has been the most hyped, but apparently had some struggles with drops while working at minicamp.
However, he has some good potential and could develop into an even better player if he improves his blocking technique and route running skills.
The tight end position is wide open so Yeboah still has a chance to earn a spot in front of some of the more experienced but low-upside guys that are currently ahead of him.