In the modern-day NFL, the fullback position is not the most glorious. It does not come with ridiculous rushing totals, 80-yard touchdown grabs, or enough credit for their blocking.
The reality is that the role of a fullback is an afterthought to the average fan. Especially considering that a lot of teams no longer utilize one.
That has been the case for the NY Jets for a while now. The last time they employed a traditional fullback was in 2015 with Tommy Bohanon. Since then, players like Eric Tomlinson have held the role, but haven't thrived in the position.
This is set to change though in 2021, as offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur plans on using third-year tight end Trevon Wesco at fullback.
Formally a tight end, Wesco will play the Kyle Juszczyk role in the Jets offense. Knowing this, should Wesco perform admirably, he will finally make his fourth-round selection pay off.
Why the NY Jets drafted Trevon Wesco
It seems every year there is a versatile tight end/fullback in the NFL Draft that the media falls in love with. This past year, it was Michigan’s Ben Mason, who went in the fifth round to the Baltimore Ravens. Looking back on the 2019 NFL Draft, it was Wesco.
Standing at 6-foot-3 and 267 pounds, Wesco does not have the prototypical size for a receiving-first tight end in the pros. At West Virginia, he was a one-year wonder, recording 26 receptions for 366 yards in his senior year.
Following the NFL Combine, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein wrote the following about Wesco.
"Wesco has the play strength and toughness of an NFL tight end, but he’s still very raw in the passing game… He has terrific demeanor as a run-blocker and the footwork to become much more consistent in sustaining blocks once he gets his hand placement corrected."- Lance Zierlein
At the time, general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Adam Gase wanted Wesco as their primary blocking tight end behind Chris Herndon. Unfortunately, that dream was short-lived.
Trevon Wesco has been a bust for the NY Jets to date
Simply put, Wesco has been irrelevant on offense through two seasons. Over 28 games (five starts), the former Mountaineer has three receptions for 52 yards, and two carries for two yards.
He has also made an impact on special teams, with two tackles and a fumble recovery to his name.
Now, the Maccagnan drafts were never known for their mid-round picks. Let alone them even playing out their rookie contracts, given Joe Douglas’ arrival and him wanting to clean house.
Yet, despite his disappointing performance so far, Wesco has a chance to completely change his narrative.
The NY Jets have a new hope for Trevon Wesco
At 25-years-old, Trevon Wesco is ready for the full-time position change to fullback. With the 49ers, LaFleur learned the value of having a traditional fullback in the outside zone run/play-action pass offense ran by Kyle Shanahan — the same offense that LaFleur is to run with the Jets in 2021.
Back on June 16th, LaFleur spoke about what a fullback brings to the table.
" You like to be in those traditional 21-personnel formations just to keep the defense balanced a little bit more… you can kind of control the angles, particularly in the run game and then obviously all the play-pass that comes off of it.”"- Mike LaFleur
Over the past few years, LaFleur has worked with five-time Pro Bowl fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who some speculated the Jets may target in free agency.
“Juice” has been the standard for fullbacks across the league in recent years, as he impacts every facet of the game, whether by rushing, receiving, or blocking.
Compared to Juszczyk, Wesco is two inches taller and almost 30-pounds heavier. He can be a mauler leading the way for the Jets running backs, with the power to take on any defender.
Wesco’s skillset may still be raw. He may have been a bust so far in his first two years in the pros. However, if he can truly embrace his new role, Wesco will be able to turn his Jets career around in 2021.