The New York Jets entered the 2021 NFL Draft with a slew of needs. They left Cleveland with a huge smile on their face, based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback from their draft class.
Despite the wonderful compliments, the Jets weren’t able to solve every hole from a 2-14 roster. Several positions were left unaddressed which gives us a few surprise winners we weren’t expecting from this draft.
3. Trevon Wesco, tight end
Reportedly the New York Jets were hot and heavy for Michigan do it all man Ben Mason in the lead-up to the 2021 NFL Draft, per Tony Pauline of the Pro Football Network.
“More and more people tell me Mason is a natural fit for the New York Jets. They will be running an offense similar to the one used in San Francisco. Expectations are that Gang Green looks Mason’s way in the middle of Day 3.”
The former Wolverine drew pro comparisons to San Francisco 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk.
We’ll never know what would’ve happened if Mason was still on the clock in the fifth round for the Jets to consider because he was sniped two picks ahead of them (No. 184 by the Baltimore Ravens).
So whether it’s dumb luck or draft strategy, the Jets never selected that versatile offensive chess piece that can play fullback, H-back, or tight end. This means Trevon Wesco now has new life on 1 Jets Drive.
He was originally selected No. 121 overall in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of West Virginia.
Despite Adam Gase’s “offensive brilliance”, he never found a way to maximize Wesco’s versatility. In two seasons he has registered three career receptions, for 52 yards, and has failed to find the endzone.
Perhaps with new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur leading the charge, he can salvage what has been an otherwise lackluster NFL career so far for Wesco.
2. Cameron Clark, guard
Arguably Cameron Clark should be considered the biggest winner of the New York Jets 2021 NFL Draft. After trading up to No. 14 to select USC guard Alijah Vera-Tucker, the Jets didn’t select another offensive lineman the rest of the way.
That move, or lack thereof, struck a lot of people the wrong way.
The Jets entered the draft solid at offensive tackle, but the interior was a total mess. Alex Lewis, Connor McGovern, and Greg Van Roten each had their fair share of struggles throughout the 2020 season.
Most of us expected the team to double-dip on the offensive line, but they resisted the urge despite several opportunities to do so throughout draft weekend.
Let’s hope the reason the Jets didn’t select another offensive lineman in this class is that they truly believe Cameron Clark can compete for the other starting guard spot.
Clark was taken No. 129 overall in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He never suited up for the Jets during the year and wasn’t active for a game. When speaking to Jets team reporter Ethan Greenberg he used the term ‘redshirt’ when discussing Clark’s rookie campaign.
No one knows what he’s going to bring to the table in 2021. We haven’t seen him play a single snap in a Jets uniform, but obviously, the Jets must’ve seen enough to ignore the position the rest of the way in the draft.
Will Herndon ever reach his full potential?
1. Chris Herndon, tight end
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. When Herndon was originally selected by the Jets with the No. 107 overall pick in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, expectations were pretty low.
He was coming off of a torn ACL from his time at Miami, a big reason he slipped in that draft. Those modest expectations were quickly thrown to the wayside after Herndon started showing glimpses of a future star at the tight end position.
Spoke with @FieldYates last week, who said, “Two years ago, Chris Herndon felt like the next big thing at tight end in the AFC East.”
— Ethan Greenberg (@EGreenbergJets) April 14, 2020
Just when we all thought Herndon was going to take this massive leap, he didn’t. This past season he was supposed to be this unicorn prospect that developed into a mismatch nightmare.
When he got the ball during the 2020 season, Herndon either dropped it, fumbled it, or disappointed with it. It was a frustrating campaign to watch that no one could really diagnose what went wrong.
Obviously, he still has overwhelming talent and the Jets clearly believe in him enough to give Herndon another chance in 2021.
The biggest Jets winner from the 2021 NFL Draft is Chris Herndon. Despite everything that has gone wrong during his career, he has a chance to make it all right in 2021 with one of the game’s most promising offensive minds in Mike LaFleur.