Jets rookie cornerback Blessuan Austin was the Jets highest-rated defender in the team's Week 11 win over the Redskins on Sunday, according to Pro Football Focus.
Austin made his NFL debut in Week 10 against the Giants, making three tackles and forcing a fumble. On Sunday against Washington, he was targeted six times, allowing just three catches for nine yards. He also chipped in with three tackles.
"He's not afraid," Gase said of Austin last week. "He's not shy of confidence. He's confident in himself. He did a lot of good stuff. It was good to see him around the ball."
The Jets have been struggling at DB all season long, and with Trumaine Johnson on injured reserve with an ankle injury, the depth at cornerback is even thinner.
Austin is a local product, but injuries have hindered his development and made him somewhat of an unknown quantity. Hailing from Queens, Austin played scholastically at both Campus Magnet and Milford Academy (CT) before attending Rutgers.
He was immediately an impact player on defense for the Scarlet Knights, starting 20 of 21 games in the first two years of his collegiate career. But he suffered a torn ACL his junior year, rehabbed to make it back for the start of his senior year, only to suffer the same injury again in the opening game of the season.
With just four games played in his final two years at Rutgers, the Jets essectially took a flyer on Austin in the sixth round of the 2019 Draft. By the time the start of the regular season rolled around, he still wasn't ready for game action. He missed the first eight games of the season, but was finally activated prior to Week 10.
It's certainly too soon to make any definitive judgments on Austin, but early returns indicate that the Jets may have found a diamond in the rough with the 23-year-old.