The New York Jets did something other than draft a safety, draft a wide receiver, or trade down when they took Clemson tight end Jordan Leggett with the 150th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Leggett’s arrival will serve as a breath of fresh air on paper, as the Jets have finally addressed the tight end position at a reasonable point in the draft. Leggett caught 46 passes for 736 yards and 7 touchdowns for the national champions and was a two-time Mackey Award finalist.
Our Max Marcilla noted in his Future Jets profile of Leggett that the tight end can play a variety of roles on the field. He can take the field in-line, at H-back, or as a slot receiver. It’s versatility new Jets offensive coordinator John Morton might covet.
Leggett also has extremely reliable hands, something the Jets aren’t accustomed to at the position. ESPN Stats and Info pointed out was one of three Power 5 conference players to have no drops on at least 70 targets. However, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compared Leggett to former Jets tight end Kellen Davis.
Leggett has great size at 6-foot-5, 258 pounds, but there are questions about his motor. That’s an even bigger concern at the next level, when every game matters equally. That lackluster effort tends to show up when he’s blocking.
Leggett also can be a sluggish route runner, showing very little lower-body movement and stiff hips. But here’s the good news: He catches just about everything he’s supposed to. Leggett has sure hands and that can go a long way in the NFL even if he isn’t the most athletic prospect.
Leggett will have a legitimate chance to start in his first season with the Jets. The tight ends on the roster include Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Braedon Bowman, Brian Parker, Jason Vander Laan and Eric Tomlinson. That’s not exactly a heralded bunch, and Leggett’s versatility and sure hands already gives him a leg up come camp. He could assume Quincy Enunwa’s workload as the H-back as Enunwa segues to being the No. 2 threat in the passing game.
The Jets have clearly put an emphasis on stockpiling the offense with young pass catchers. New York has used its last three picks Alabama wide receiver ArDarius Stewart, Cal receiver Chad Hansen and now Leggett in Round 5.
Leggett has the size, hands and versatility to be a good player in New York. But his below-average athleticism and his effort could hold him back. Sure, Leggett fills New York’s most embarrassing need, but the Jets had multiple opportunities to address it earlier in the draft.