Could NY Jets’ cornerback Blessuan Austin be a surprise roster cut this preseason?
NY Jets‘ cornerback Blessuan Austin was one of the most pleasant surprises from last season. Against all odds, the 2019 sixth-round pick managed to become one of the team’s brightest young players by season’s end.
And when we say against all odds, we mean it.
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Austin had played just three games in the previous two years tearing his ACL in consecutive seasons. The New Jersey native showed promise as a sophomore at Rutgers but had any momentum halted after two major injuries in back-to-back years.
Honestly, it was a miracle that the Jets took a flier on him drafting him late in the sixth round in the 2019 NFL Draft. But even though he was drafted, very little was expected of him.
Austin began the year on the PUP list and was considered doubtful at a time to even play that season — after all, he was still recovering from his second torn ACL in two years.
But partially because of his rehab and partially because of the team’s desperate need at cornerback, the Jets activated Austin off the PUP list in the middle of the season. The 23-year-old would go on to play in seven games, making six starts, showing more potential than anyone could have imagined.
The NY Jets may not be as high on Blessuan Austin as fans are.
Fans are understandably high on the former Big Ten standout, but perhaps the Jets aren’t quite as optimistic.
Connor Hughes of The Athletic recently released a list of players who he thinks could be surprise-cut candidates this summer and Austin’s name came up.
On the surface, this seems like an odd choice given that Austin proved to be one of the Jets’ most promising young players last season. Many see him as a future building block of the defense.
But Hughes doesn’t think the Jets see him in the same light.
“I don’t get the sense the Jets are as high on Austin as many fans. That it seemed to take just one play for Gregg Williams to throw him in the doghouse, despite the Jets’ massive issues at corner, is indicative of that. That’s not to say they don’t like him, but they won’t hand him anything.”
That’s a telling statement from someone who is around the organization and has as good of an idea as any what the higher-ups are thinking.
Now, it still seems highly unlikely that the team would opt to outright cut him, but there is some sensible logic behind it.
Austin was a Mike Maccganan pick — and a sixth-round selection at that. Joe Douglas has no ties to him at all. And seeing as though Gregg Williams was quick to pull the trigger last year, the coaching staff might not be fully behind him either.
Is this partially speculation? Sure, but it’s backed up with the analysis of someone who is typically right about what management is thinking.
Jets fans may be high on Blessuan Austin, but the Jets themselves seem to be a little more hesitant.