NY Jets: 3 former Mike Maccagnan draft picks facing make-or-break seasons

NY Jets, Blake Cashman
NY Jets, Blake Cashman / Al Pereira/Getty Images
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NY Jets, Blessuan Austin
NY Jets, Blessuan Austin / Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

2. Blessuan Austin, CB, NY Jets

One of the most bizarre parts of the Maccagnan era is how it ended. Weeks after running New York’s 2019 NFL Draft, he was let go, leading to much criticism. It also put those taken in that draft in a difficult spot.

Even so, there have been a couple of bright spots in the class, including cornerback Blessuan Austin. The cornerback slid to the Jets in the sixth round after battling serious knee injuries in his final years in college and has proven to be a decent selection.

As a rookie, Austin showed promise in seven games (six starts). He recorded 25 total tackles, four pass deflections, and one forced fumble. Come seasons end, it was hard to argue that he would not be in the discussion for a starting job entering 2020.

Although he has flashed starting potential, his ups and downs this past season leave him on the block entering training camp.

In 11 games (10 starts) in 2020, Austin recorded 63 tackles, four pass deflections, and a forced fumble. He has yet to have his first career interception, and was a liability in pass coverage, earning a 47.4 grade from PFF.

Austin enters his third year under more pressure than ever to date. Douglas took three cornerbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft and signed another promising one as an undrafted free agent.

As a matter of fact, there are already reports of Isaiah Dunn being another option aside from Austin to start opposite Bryce Hall.

It is easy to root for Austin, who played his college ball in New Jersey at Rutgers. Nonetheless, if he can't piece it all together in 2021, this may wind up being more of a tryout for his next NFL team than anything.