NY Jets: Winners and losers from the 2021 preseason

NY Jets, Zach Wilson
NY Jets, Zach Wilson / Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
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NY Jets
NY Jets, Blake Cashman / Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

Loser: Blake Cashman, LB, NY Jets

The moment the 2021 NFL Draft ended, Jets fans took notice of the linebacker position. Outside of C.J. Mosley and Blake Cashman, the Jets had little experience at the position.

New York then revealed its game plan — to convert college safeties Hamsah Nasirildeen and Jamien Sherwood to linebacker. This being a position switch that defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich has successfully done in the past during his time with the Atlanta Falcons. 

It was thanks to the presence of Cashman that many expected him to lock down the starting job until one of the rookies was ready. Entering year three in the league, Cashman still has upside too. Or so one might have thought. 

When taken in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Cashman was viewed as a potential steal. The Minnesota product is a smart player, but has struggled to translate that to the pros. In two years, he has played 11 games (six starts) and saw the majority of his playtime last year on special teams. 

Early on in the spring, Nasirildeen began earning first-team reps and quickly stole them entirely from Cashman. Just like that, Cashman lost the weakside linebacker starting job.

One may have thought, when Davis got hurt, that Cashman would get another opportunity to start. Instead, Sherwood immediately stepped into the role. Thus, leaving the Jets' second-most experienced linebacker with the second-team defense for 2021. 

Chances are that Cashman will make the roster. He had a strong night against the Eagles (five tackles), though he may find himself as a special teams staple yet again.