NY Jets: Blessuan Austin named team’s ‘most intriguing project player’

NY Jets (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

NY Jets cornerback Blessuan Austin was named the team’s “most intriguing project.”

The NY Jets had a number of surprise standouts on their roster last season but perhaps no player exceeded expectations more than rookie cornerback Blessuan Austin.

Austin was drafted by the Jets in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft and entered the NFL with little fanfare. A once-promising prospect at Rutgers, Austin missed essentially all of his junior and senior seasons with two separate torn ACL’s.

When the Jets drafted Austin, he had played just three total games over the past two years. It’s safe to say that not much was expected from him in his rookie season.

In fact, Austin began the year on the PUP list as he was still rehabbing his second ACL injury. It wasn’t clear if he’d even be able to suit up for the Jets in 2019, but lackluster play and injuries to some of the team’s starting cornerbacks forced their hand.

And in seven games, Austin managed to establish himself as one of the most promising young players on the Jets’ roster. Going into 2020, expectations are certainly higher for the Queens native.

He won’t be guaranteed a starting job, but there’s certainly hope that he could not only earn a starting spot, but continue his development in his second professional year.

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While not a household name by any means, it seems as thought other outlets are beginning to take note of Austin’s promise. Bleacher Report recently released a list of the “most intriguing project player” on each NFL team and Austin earned the nomination for the Jets.

Blessuan Austin excelled in his first season with the NY Jets.

As the article noted, Austin was the second-highest graded cornerback in the entire NFL from Weeks 10-13 — his first four weeks of playing time — earning an 84.8 grade from Pro Football Focus.

The Jets have plenty of depth at the cornerback position with free-agent signing Pierre Desir, fifth-round pick Bryce Hall, and trade acquisition Quincy Wilson all competing for playing time as well.

On top of that, the team re-signed slot cornerback Brian Poole and another surprise standout from a year ago in Arthur Maulet to round out the position.

There will be competition and there’s plenty of intrigue at the position, but perhaps no player comes with more intrigue than Blessuan Austin.

If he could prove that 2019 wasn’t a fluke and continue his excellence into 2020, the Jets might just have a long-term starter at a position that’s been weak for quite some time now.

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And that alone is enough to provide intrigue going into the new season.