NY Jets: Hamsah Nasirildeen 'getting first crack' at WILL job

NY Jets, Hamsah Nasirildeen
NY Jets, Hamsah Nasirildeen / Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat,

The NY Jets are set to boast a new-look linebacker corps in 2021, and one player who's in the mix to receive significant playing time is rookie Hamsah Nasirildeen.

A standout safety at Florida State, the Jets selected Nasirildeen in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft eyeing a move to linebacker. And so far in OTAs, they've given him every opportunity to make an impact.

With Blake Cashman currently sidelined once again with an injury, Nasirildeen has been running alongside C.J. Mosley and Jarrad Davis with the first-team defense at the weak-side linebacker position.

Of course, the presumption is that Cashman would be the de facto starter if he was healthy, but this is still notable as Nasirildeen is evidently higher on the depth chart than fellow rookie Jamien Sherwood, despite being drafted a round later.

The NY Jets are giving Hamsah Nasirildeen a shot to win the starting job.

Seen as a late Day 2/early Day 3 prospect heading into the draft, Nasirildeen shockingly fell all the way to the beginning of Round 6 where the Jets quickly scooped him up.

The 22-year-old was regarded as one of the best safeties in the nation and a possible future first-round pick before a torn ACL suffered in the last game of his junior year wiped out most of his senior season.

Standing at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Nasirildeen has impressive size for the position and it's no surprise that he was moved to linebacker in the NFL.

Nasirildeen has preemptively been deemed one of the steals of the draft by numerous outlets given his natural talent and expected draft position.

And despite being a sixth-round pick, he should have every chance to contribute both on special teams and on defense in his rookie season.

The battle for the starting WILL role is a competition to watch this summer. The incumbent Cashman is the presumed favorite, but the former fifth-round pick has battled injuries throughout his first two seasons in the NFL.

It's easy to forget, but he actually entered the 2020 season as one of the team's two starting linebackers alongside Neville Hewitt — and ahead of Avery Williamson on the depth chart.

Unfortunately, just three plays into his season, Cashman suffered a groin injury that would knock him out for more than half the year. He returned and played exclusively on special teams before landing on the injured reserve again, this time as a result of a hamstring injury.

Cashman also missed more than half of his rookie season as a result of a shoulder injury. He's played just 11 of a possible 32 games since entering the league and seems to be dealing with yet another injury in OTAs.

Nasirildeen will be handed a golden opportunity to win the starting WILL job, and he seems to have the edge over his rookie teammate, Sherwood.

Next. NY Jets news: 4 notable standouts from 2021 OTAs so far. dark

Don't be surprised if Nasirildeen is one of the Jets' starting linebackers come Week 1.