I have just read that the Atlanta Falcons today have decided to release Ben Hartsock in order to get their roster down to the necessary 53-man squad.
Immediately I thought that Mike Tannenbaum must be on the phone to Hartsock's agent trying to get him signed up.
A product of Ohio State university, Hartsock was a round three draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2004, where he played until moving to the Tennessee Titans in 2006 and then on to the Falcons in 2008.
Looking through his numbers, not many would be impressed, but numbers don't relate the significance of a blocking tight end. Hartsock is known as a blocking TE who can catch a pass or two along the way.
He started 11 games for the Atlanta Falcons in 2008 and compiled just three receptions for 26 yards. However he also was a part of a team that had the second best rushing offense in the entire league.
While with the Titans in 2007, he had 12 receptions for 138 yards, while the Titans rushing offense would rank among the lead leaders and finish the season fifth in total rushing offense.
If you read any draft profiled from 2004 you will see the words "relentless blocker" and "spectacular work ethic" tagged to the name Ben Hartsock.
Standing at 6'4" and 270 lbs. he is a good body to have, especially on goal line situations where he gets push off the line, a blocker who is not easy to push back.
With the Jets struggling at the TE position after Dustin Keller who is primarily a receiving tight end, I find it hard to imagine that a call will not be put in to at least gage the interest.
With the Jets ready to run the football in 2009 like the Ravens did in 2008, a blocking tight end with the ability to open gaps and stop penetration is a must, and I just don't see a player like that on the roster at the minute.
I asked John McCurdy, featured columnist here at bleacher report for the Atlanta Falcons for some observations of John Hartsock:
"Hartsock has learned to fill a niche since he came into the league. He could be a passcatching threat, but he's chosen to focus on his blocking and has therefore developed better back-to-the-passer skills than average. His footwork is improving, and he's pretty much got prototypical TE size. The Jets, low on options or not, would be wise to at least consider him. Another high-football IQ guy never hurts"
Ben Hartsock is at least worth a look.