No matter what, the 2019 season for the New York Jets will forever be known as the first with Adam Gase as their Head Coach. It began with their General Manager Mike Maccagnan being fired months after he hired Gase, and just days after he picked their entire draft class.
From that point on, there has always been extra pressure on the players he selected. They were already outcasts from the previous regime, who was criticized more often than not for his scouting. Nonetheless, the majority of the class still has the potential to make an impact on this team in 2021. With the group entering their third season, here is the 2019 Jets draft class outlook for 2021… should they make the roster.
2019 New York Jets Draft Class 2021 Season Outlook
Defensive Tackle Quinnen Williams (Rd. 1, No. 3)
There was no question when he was drafted that Quinnen Williams would go down as the most talented player in the draft class. Except, nobody could have predicted by year three he would be the only lock to make the team.
After an underwhelming rookie year, “Q” broke onto the scene in his second season. The Alabama product led the team with seven sacks, graded amongst the top interior defenders in the league according to PFF, and had career-highs in total tackles, forced fumbles, and quarterback hits. In other words, Williams has flashed the ability to be the star defensive tackle the Jets thought they were getting back in 2019.
This season, expect Williams to continue emerging as one of the top young defensive linemen. Working in a 4-3 scheme now under new Head Coach Robert Saleh, he will be able to capitalize on his athleticism to wreak havoc in every way. Not to mention he is now joined by Carl Lawson, Sheldon Rankins, and more along the front. It would not be surprising to see Williams earn his first Pro Bowl nod in 2021.
Outside Linebacker Jachai Polite (Rd. 3, No. 68)
Well, this will forever be the most disappointing selection of the class. Jachai Polite never played a down for the Jets and did not even make it to Week 1 with the team. A true draft blunder that Maccagnan will always be remembered for. Luckily, for Polite, he did play for the Los Angeles Rams last season and had his first career sack. He is currently a free agent.
Offensive Tackle Chuma Edoga (Rd. 3, No. 92)
When the Jets took Chuma Edoga in the third round of the draft, the hope was he could develop into a starting tackle. After all, at the time Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell were entering contract seasons.
Nonetheless, Edoga has never been able to iron out his issues in the pros. Already undersized, the team thought he could win with his quick feet. Instead, he only managed to do so in the run game, while remaining a major liability in pass protection.
Today, the Jets projected starting tackles for this season are Mekhi Becton and George Fant. He is set to be the primary backup/swing tackle for New York, though, the team is reportedly nearing a deal with veteran Morgan Moses. Should that happen, it puts Edoga in a spot where he is fighting for his job.
Tight End Trevon Wesco (Rd. 4, No. 121)
Like Edoga, Trevon Wesco finds himself competing to continue his Jets career this season. The fullback/tight end hybrid from West Virginia never found his footing during the Gase era. Now, hopefully with new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, Wesco can jumpstart his career. Otherwise, he joins Polite among the busts of the Jets 2019 draft class.
Linebacker Blake Cashman (Rd. 5, No. 157)
Taken out of Minnesota in the fifth round, the Jets hoped for a steal in linebacker Blake Cashman. He plays with great instincts, has good athleticism, and is simply a smart player. All being traits he has flashed… when healthy.
That has been his biggest issue through two seasons, as he only has appeared in 11 games (six starts). Excellent linebacker depth forced him into a special team’s role last season, but he is due for a bigger role in 2021. Given the Jets transition to a 4-3 scheme, the linebacker corps has been completely revamped.
Yet, Cashman sticks around, with more upside than a handful of those competing for the linebacker spots. If Cashman can stay healthy, he should be getting the first crack at the starting job alongside C.J. Mosley and Jarrad Davis.
Cornerback Blessuan Austin (Rd. 6, No. 196)
Last but not least is the second-most productive player behind Quinnen Williams in Rutgers cornerback Blessuan Austin. In 18 games, 16 being starts, Austin has been up and down. He has shown he can be a quality starter at times, as well as having been taken out of games entirely when struggling.
This off-season, the Jets never made any major additions at cornerback, making Austin the most experienced currently on the roster. Should he perform admirably in camp, he will not only make the team but be a Week 1 starter. Then again, who knows how things unfold in a cornerback room made up mainly of players with two or fewer years of NFL.