The New York Jets 2019 NFL Draft Recap

Joe Caporoso with his initial review of the New York Jets 2019 draft class, including pro comparisons, projected roles and “grades”

The New York Jets selected six players in the 2019 NFL Draft. You can see our article from this same day last year right here and from 2017 right here. We will look at the class as a whole, each individual player’s best/worst case scenario, give a pro comparison and one extra spicy hot take. Finally, we’ll reset the depth chart post draft and give quick grades for the 2017 class, since they have two years under their belt at this point. 

The primary objectives heading into this draft were supporting Sam Darnold, improving the team’s pass rush and improving a rough looking situation at both center and corner. There was also a hope the Jets could trade at one or more points to acquire more overall swings since they entered the weekend with only six selections and had rumored to be shopping inside linebacker Darron Lee. Ultimately, despite some shuffling around, they still left making six picks (one in the first round, two in the third round, one in the fourth round, one in the fifth round and one in the sixth round) and did not move or acquire any veteran players.

Similar to last year, it is clear the Jets are operating with a belief that a defense should be built up the middle, as they continued to invest in interior defensive linemen and inside linebackers. They also continued their trend of drafting older in the late rounds, as their final three picks are already 23 years old, with two harboring significant injury concerns. However, they did focus younger on their first three picks, taking three 21 year olds and a rare high upside, boom/bust swing at a massive position of need. Overall, they continued to skew more towards the defensive side of the football than the offensive side of the football when drafting. Since selecting Sam Darnold, they have drafted seven defensive players to four offensive players.

Quinnen Williams, Defensive Lineman, 1st Round (3rd Overall) The safest possible pick out of the players they could have been considering third overall. This is the fourth time in five years you will regularly hear the Jets “got the best player in the NFL Draft”…at some point that is ideally going to convert to more All-Pro appearances from their roster and more wins. Williams is a high floor AND high ceiling defensive lineman who is likely to be everything that Leonard Williams has not been over the past four years due a much deeper collection of pass rush moves. This is the most talented interior defensive lineman the Jets have drafted recently but it is still another interior defensive lineman.

Pro Comparison: Rich Man’s Sheldon Richardson without the off the field baggage.

Best Case Scenario: Clearly one of the five best defensive linemen in the NFL by the end of his second season.

Worst Case Scenario: A good to occasionally very good starter who can’t exceed 5-7 sacks in a season and is regularly neutralized by top tier offenses.

Hot Take: Will have a very good rookie season and pick up a few DROY votes (though not win the award), which will help lead to the Jets not investing in Leonard Williams long term.

Jachai Polite, Edge, Third Round (68th Overall) A boom/bust swing to fill arguably the biggest need on the defense, Polite has the tape of a first rounder but handled the pre-draft process like a UDFA. At only 21 years old, he will mature both on the field and off the field. There is no reason he can’t immediately become the team’s best edge rusher with their current depth chart, if he is playing to his physical potential. This was an outside the box/somewhat surprising decision from the Jets, which is a good thing.

Pro Comparison: Upper middle class Melvin Ingram.

Best Case Scenario: Double digit sacks in multiple seasons on his rookie contract.

Worst Case Scenario: Flashes for a few moments but devolves into an inconsistent role player and never exceeds 4-5 sacks in a season. He is one of the first players cut by whatever the next regime is.

Hot Take: Will lead the Jets in sacks next season with 8.

Chuma Edoga, Offensive Tackle, Third Round (92nd Overall) Sam Darnold’s college right tackle, who has an intriguing collection of physical traits but questions surrounding his motivation. Edoga charged up boards thanks to a strong showing during Senior Bowl week and is the highest drafted offensive lineman of the Mike Maccagnan era. The Jets need developmental pieces upfront and this was reasonably strong value for where he was selected. Edoga is likely to be the backup tackle this season and hopefully can push for a starting role in 2020.

Pro Comparison: Kelvin Beachum

Best Case Scenario: A starting tackle for the Jets in 2020.

Worst Case Scenario: Turns into the next Ben Ijalana and is never able to rise above a 7th offensive lineman.

Hot Take: Will start multiple games at some point this season due to Brandon Shell’s injury problems and be wildly up and down.

Trevon Wesco, Tight End, Fourth Round (121st Overall) A darling of the draft community (which can be a good thing or ultimately meaningless), Wesco was rarely used as a pass catcher at West Virginia (he only had 28 receptions) but flashed impressive athleticism and versatility as a blocker. The Jets don’t have a fullback on their roster and are weak at tight end besides Chris Herndon (who is facing an early season suspension), Wesco should be the type of player who can be move between fullback, H-Back and Y. He is unlikely to be asked to do much more than block in this offense but if he keeps Eric Tomlinson off the field, that can be a good thing.

Pro Comparison: Bigger James O’Shaughnessy

Best Case Scenario: Solid complementary piece to Chris Herndon over next few years, who is valuable blocker and chips in 20-25 catches each year.

Worst Case Scenario: Not a roster player by the end of 2020.

Hot Take: Will play the second most reps at tight end for the team this year and lead to them cutting Eric Tomlinson and Jordan Leggett before the season starts.

Blake Cashman, Inside Linebacker, Fifth Round (157th Overall) A somewhat undersized inside linebacker who has had three shoulder surgeries over the past three years. Cashman had an impressive series of pre-draft workouts and showed good athleticism for Minnesota as he paced the team in tackles last season. The Jets have poured a comical amount of resources into the inside linebacker position and while Cashman is fine value here, it is hard to ponder if this swing wouldn’t have been better served at another position. As it stands now, he’ll be a special teamer and a likely favorite of Brant Boyer.

Pro Comparison: Poor man’s Darron Lee

Best Case Scenario: Useful situational backup on defense and quality special teams player.

Worst Case Scenario: Off the roster by the end of 2020.

Hot Take: Will not ever contribute meaningful snaps on defense here.

Blessaun Austin, Cornerback, 6th Round (196th Overall) A project outside corner with good size (6’1, 200 pounds) who has only played five games over the past two years due to multiple serious knee injuries. He is likely to start this season on the PUP list and will have an uphill climb after that (he is already 23 years old). Austin showed good ball skills in his limited reps at Rutgers.

Pro Comparison: Jeremy Clark

Best Case Scenario: A quality depth cornerback during the 2020 season.

Worst Case Scenario: Spends rookie year on PUP/IR and doesn’t make 2020 team.

Hot Take: Will never play a regular season snap here.

Overall 

The Jets made an understandable and potentially very smart decision in the first round to stay put and take Williams. They took a pair of worthwhile, high upside swings on day two. They reverted to previous bad habits on day three and overall should have had a larger focus on the offensive side of the football.

Updated Depth Chart

  • QB: Sam Darnold, Trevor Siemian, Davis Webb
  • RB: Le’Veon Bell, Ty Montgomery, Elijah McGuire, Trenton Cannon
  • WR: Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, Jamison Crowder, Josh Bellamy, Deontay Burnett
  • TE: Chris Herndon, Trevon Wesco, Eric Tomlinson, Jordan Leggett
  • OT: Kelvin Beachum, Brandon Shell, Chuma Edoga, Brent Qvale
  • OG: Keleche Osemele, Brian Winters, Tom Compton
  • OC: Jonotthan Harrison
  • DL: Quinnen Williams, Leonard Williams, Henry Anderson, Steve McLendon, Nathan Shepherd, Foley Fatukasi
  • ILB: CJ Mosley, Avery Williamson, Darron Lee, Neville Hewitt, Blake Cashman
  • Edge: Jordan Jenkins, Brandon Copeland, Jachai Polite, Frankie Luvu
  • Corner: Trumaine Johnson, Daryl Roberts, Brian Poole, Rashard Robinson, Derrick Jones, Blessaun Austin, Jeremy Clark
  • Safety: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Rontez Miles, Doug Middleton

UDFAs Listed Here

2017 Draft Class Grades 

  • Jamal Adams – A (All-Pro)
  • Marcus Maye – C+ (One good year, one injured year)
  • ArDarius Stewart – F (Not on roster)
  • Chad Hansen – (Not on roster)
  • Jordan Leggett – D (Third stringer)
  • Dylan Donohue – (Not on roster)
  • Eli McGuire – C (Third stringer, had a few okay moments)
  • Derrick Jones – D (Third stringer, showed promise in preseason)
  • Jeremy Clark – (Barely on roster, has never played a snap)

There is a chance that only Adams and Maye will be the only two on the final 53 man roster this season. If Leggett, Jones and McGuuire stick, it will be as backups or third stringers.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports