New York Jets 2019 NFL draft: Breaking down each selection
By Brent Clarke
The New York Jets chase potential, not need, as the 2019 NFL Draft comes to an end.
The New York Jets made a significant splash in the 2019 NFL Draft by drafting who many experts and analysts considered to be the best player in the draft Quinnen Williams with the third overall pick. The Jets were in a great position having the number three pick in the 2019 draft. This gave the team leverage to trade down if an offer they liked appeared, or draft a game-changing playmaker on defense. It seems the Jets didn’t find any appealing trade down situations so the team went with the latter, draft the best player. This is a huge win for the Jets and their fans. Williams will look to make a difference on defense from day one coming in as a starter on newly acquired defensive coordinator Gregg Williams defensive system.
Listed at 6’3″, 295 lbs, Jets fan will be ecstatic to see Williams plugging holes on defense and getting after quarterbacks around the league. Williams was an absolute stud in Nick Saban’s defense at Alabama. According to Sports Reference Williams ranked second in the SEC with 20 tackles for loss and fifth in the SEC in sacks with eight. He is an absolute workhorse and brings an additional presence to the Jets front line. Jake Spriggs of The Jet Press mentions that Williams earned the highest grade for an interior lineman from Pro Football Focus with a 96.0 overall grade. Jets fan should be excited about this pick.
“I think they’re building a huge defense by bringing in C.J. Mosely,” Williams said to reporters shortly after being selected by the Jets with the third pick. “You got Jamal Adams on the back-end. You’re building up a massive defensive line up front. It sounds like a great defense.
The Jets followed suit by selecting their second defensive player in the 2019 NFL Draft with the 68th pick in round three nabbing Florida Gators edge rusher Jachai Polite. Polite assist in filling a need the Jets have desperately been trying to fill over the years in a consistent edge rusher.
Polite led the 2018 Florida Gators with 17.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and was the nation’s leader in forced fumbles. Long story short, this guy can play. He can really get after quarterbacks and assist in run stopping. Many experts and scouts had their doubts about Jachai’s character off the field. On the field, Polite is a bonafide pro. Rich Cimini of ESPN mentioned that one scout said this about Polite “He doesn’t have issues; he IS an issue.” The talent is there, but can he buy into the program? The upside to this pick is the Jets seem to have a very positive locker room with guys like Jamal Adams, Le’Veon Bell, C.J. Mosley, and newly added Quinnen Williams. Jachai should mesh well with these guys and the Jets may have walked away with first round talent, in the third round.
Having two picks in the third round, the Jets elected to help out the offense by picking Sam Darnold’s former college teammate Chuma Edoga, offensive tackle out of the University of Southern Carolina. According to NFL.com Chuma stands 6’3″ and 308 lbs. He has the measurables of a starting offensive lineman in the NFL and is actually being compared to current Jets’ offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum. It has been noted that the Jets liked Chuma’s athleticism and he may be able to play both tackle and guard.
The Jets need to protect Sam Darnold, so picking a former teammate, someone who already knows how Sam operates was a great choice. Edoga adds depth to a very thin offensive line in New York. Manish Metha of the Dailey News noted that both the New York Jets current tackles are unrestricted free agents this year. This was a good pick up as Chuma will develop the strength to add to his athleticism, training at the professional level.
With the 121st pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the New York Jets selected West Virginia tight end Trevon Wesco. The Jets traded down twice before selecting Trevon in the fourth round. This is a questionable selection as Trevon played in only 10 games last year for West Virginia hauling in 26 catches for 366 yards and a touchdown. West Virginia did not feature the tight end too much which can attribute to Wesco’s low numbers, however, 14 yard per catch is impressive for a tight end who is primarily featured to block.
Wesco is 6’3″, 267 lbs and was named to the Big 12 first team last year. He has a tremendous amount of potential and can assist the Jets in not only protecting Darnold but being another check down asset for the second year quarterback. Peter Botte of the New York Post noted that former offensive lineman and NFL analyst Brian Baldinger raved about Trevon, even calling him #babyGronk. “I am not joking,” Baldinger wrote. “He can do more for this new #Jets offense than any one player. @LeVeonBell will love what he will do for his game.” That is a big comparison coming from a former NFL player. What Jets fan would not want their very own version of Rob Gronkowski?
In round five, the New York Jets decided to once again go defense as they selected linebacker Blake Cashman with the 157th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Cashman is 6’1″, 237 lbs and led the Minnesota Gophers with an impressive 104 tackles in 2018, with 15 of those tackles coming for a loss. The Jets seem determined to revamp on the defensive side of the ball with yet another defensive player selected.
Cashman has had two surgeries on both shoulders, which may be a concern, however according to NFL.com Blake is a tough guy who lives for football. Many athletes battle injuries so with a determination such as Blake’s, Jets fans should be used to seeing him make plays on special teams. He will also give some good back up minutes to the starters. With Blakes ability to line up with some tight ends, he will be featured in a Gregg Williams defense that produces many schemes and sets to confuse offenses.
With their final pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the New York Jets decided to stay local and draft Rutgers own Blessuan Austin with the 196th pick in the 6th round. Austin is a 6’1″, 198lbs cornerback who missed out on his final season at Rutgers due to injury. Austin definitely has the size and speed to cover NFL receivers which makes this final pick debateable. Austin has injured his knee twice in college which is a major concern. If the Jets training staff can get him in shape though, he may be a starting caliber type of corner. He deflected 14 passes in just his sophomore year at Rutgers, which is what grew scouts attentions towards him.
Overall the Jets get a draft grade of a B-. They filled some areas of need and made a few questionable choices. There may have been some players still on the board that the Jets could have taken, but this year the theme was potential. There is definitely potential for this year’s draft class to succeed.