FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Blessuan Austin was the last player the Jets picked in the NFL draft, after 195 players were already selected. But the truth is, if he hadn't torn his ACL twice in the last two seasons, he likely would've been drafted much higher - maybe even the second or third round.
Actually, to Austin, that sounds a bit low.
"I feel like I'm better than that, to be honest with you," Austin said.
How much better?
"I want to be the best to ever play this game at my position," he said.
That was a startling amount of confidence on the first day of Rookie Orientation from a player who might be the biggest risk the Jets took in the 2019 NFL draft. It's not that the 21-year-old cornerback isn't talented. Scouts have raved about the potential the 6-1, 198-pounder has.
But it's unrealized potential considering he was limited to four games as a junior and one game as a senior at Rutgers. Given his injury history, it's surprising he was drafted at all - let alone not in the last round. But Austin, who clearly believes in himself, never had a doubt.
"I never doubt myself or who I am," he said. "My parents raised me that way."
Austin said his recovery from his second ACL injury has gone "smooth" so far. He didn't participate in the scouting combine in Indianapolis in February, but he did work out at Rutgers Pro Day in mid-March. His numbers were OK - a 4.65 in the 40, a 35-inch vertical jump and a broad jump of 10 feet, 3 inches. But it was enough to show his knee was healthy - or at least healthy enough.
Austin vowed to be "100 percent" by training camp, but he declined to put a percentage on where he is now when asked on Friday.
Clearly, though, he thinks he's far enough along to make an immediate impact. Most likely he'll sit out the Jets' mandatory mini-camp in June, and he's a good bet to land on the Physically Unable to Perform list at the start of training camp too.
But don't count him out just because he hasn't played much since the 2016 season or wasn't selected until the sixth round. He's way too confident to be held back by any of that.
"Nobody cares what round you went in when you get to this level," he said. "So now that I'm here, I'm just trying to prove myself. It never really mattered to me what round. I just needed to get my foot in the door.
"Now, it's time to stay here and be the best to ever do it. I'm not trying to get back to the player that I was. I'm trying to be better than that."