Nov 19, 2016; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Clemson Tigers tight end Jordan Leggett (16) lines up against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at BB&T Field. Clemson defeated Wake 35-13. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Jets finally addressed their long-standing tight end problem, and fifth-round draft pick Jordan Leggett will shine in 2017.
The New York Jets needed to fix their historically bad tight end problem this offseason, and they did. In fact, going into this offseason, only two out of 45 players who’ve played tight end as their primary position for the Jets have had seasons with 50+ catches and 5+ touchdowns.
All-time the Jets primary tight ends have amassed 2,312 catches, 27,745 yards, and 210 touchdowns. It’s time, especially in today’s NFL, where the tight end has become such a huge piece to the offense, to get a pass catcher at that position. It would also help if he has some blocking skills as well.
Leggett will have a stellar season in 2017. Expect big things from him in a season that many predict will be another long one. Let’s examine the top three reasons why Leggett will absolutely shine with the Jets this season.
Next: 5. In-Line Blocking
Jan 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Clemson Tigers tight end Jordan Leggett (16) against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2016 CFP National Championship at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
5. In-Line Blocking
One of the knocks on Leggett is his attitude when it comes to in-line blocking. Not that he has a bad attitude, but that he’d have to ramp up to become a good in-line blocker and the NFL level.
Clemson lined him up a lot as a wing-back or in the slot. So, it’s easy to see why scouts question his ability.
At his size (6’5, 258 lbs.), though, he should be able to transition to the NFL as an in-line blocker. Despite some concerns, expect Leggett to be a factor, opening holes in the running game.
Don’t be too overly concerned with his in-line blocking skills. He’ll be fine.
Next: 4. Explosiveness
Dec 3, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers tight end Jordan Leggett (16) runs with the ball during the first quarter of the ACC Championship college football game at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Many people are enamored by the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and individual workouts. 40-yard dash times are relatively important to show speed, but they’re not the only valuable tool for judging pass catchers.
The broad jump and vertical jump are just as important. Those two workouts show how explosive a player can be.
When you combine speed and explosiveness that’s when a player becomes dangerous. According to Leggett’s NFL.com draft profile, he had an 114 in. broad jump, and 33 in. vertical, and, according to NFLdraftscout.com, he ran a 4.71 40 at his pro day.
His explosiveness will create mismatch problems with linebackers, and his size will create mismatches with safeties. Leggett will become a dangerous weapon if used correctly.
Next: 3. Wide receiver skills at tight end
Dec 31, 2015; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Oklahoma Sooners cornerback Zack Sanchez (15) intercepts a pass intended for Clemson Tigers tight end Jordan Leggett (16) during the second quarter of the 2015 CFP semifinal at the Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
3. Wide receiver skills at tight end
Leggett played wide receiver in high school, and the skills have moved with him. He has quick feet just like a wideout would.
In addition, he has the hands of a wide receiver and uses them very well. Leggett won’t drop passes, and it shows with only two drops as a junior and senior at Clemson.
He’s able to get to the throws that are low. Leggett will battle for all throws and reach over the top of linebackers to get the reception.
Leggett has the speed to beat players playing man-to-man in the seam too. Leggett is a force to be reckoned with.
Next: 2. Matchup nightmare
2. Matchup nightmare
Leggett will be a matchup nightmare, especially with time to blossom with Austin Seferian-Jenkins out. He will be tough for safeties to take down and linebackers to keep up with.
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He has some speed, and Leggett will be able to gain yards after catching the football. Leggett will also be a huge red zone asset for the Jets.
He scored 15 touchdowns for the Tigers in the last two seasons. Leggett will be big for the Jets in 2017 in the red zone since he has a natural ability to make plays where it matters most.
Having a weapon like Leggett is key to the growth of their young quarterbacks. Leggett is young too, and that means maturing in the NFL together, which is a plus.
Next: 1. Big game player
Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers tight end Jordan Leggett (16) runs against Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Ronnie Harrison (15) fourth quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
1. Big game player
When Clemson needed him the most, he delivered. In the last two games against their top ACC rival, Florida State, and the two National Championship Game against Alabama, he totaled 23 catches, 396 yards, and two touchdowns.
In fact, when they needed him against the ACC, he delivered too. During ACC play, Leggett had 65 catches, 1,023 yards and 13 touchdowns in the last two seasons.
He had at least one touchdown in 11 out of 20 ACC games. In the two ACC Championship Games, he combined for three touchdowns.
Leggett stepped up his game when Clemson needed him. Don’t expect that to change at the NFL level as the Jets will undoubtedly use him when it matters most to be in a position to win football games.