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With the Jets' rookies taking the field for the first time with the team last week, the progression towards earning an in-season role is underway for Mike Maccagnan's final draft class. Let's review each pick and what we can expect from them during the 2019 season.
Round 1 - DT Quinnen Williams
While the Jets have plenty of depth on the defensive line, they will be counting on Williams to play a significant role, and the expectation is that he'll be a difference-maker for them.
Williams was announced as a nose tackle when the Jets selected him and that seems likely to be where he'll start. Speaking to the media last week, linebacker CJ Mosley said that Williams has been lining up over the center and impressing with his motor and disruptiveness. He will probably also get some reps elsewhere along the line, depending on which defensive packages defensive coordinator Gregg Williams opts to employ from game to game.
In the event he develops more slowly than expected, or misses time due to injuries, the Jets can still put a starting caliber group on the line with Steve McLendon, Leonard Williams and Henry Anderson, but that's probably not in their current plans.
Round 3 - DE/OLB Jachai Polite
The Jets are considered to be weak at the edge defender positions, so some fans are hopeful Polite - who was a projected first-round pick before his struggles at the Combine - will earn a starting role. However, it's probably more realistic to expect him to see action in a situational pass rush role for most of his rookie year.
Polite will probably need to bulk up and work on his functional strength to be able to hold up against the run at the NFL level, so he might not see much work on running downs and in base packages in the early going. Even so, teams are in sub-packages so often these days, that he could theoretically play more reps than at least one of the starting edge defenders even if limited to situational work.
Round 3 - OL Chuma Edoga
Edoga seems like more of a longer-term prospect. In an ideal world, the Jets will be able to groom him to be Kelvin Beachum's heir apparent at the left tackle position. Beachum should be a good mentor for Edoga because he's similarly undersized but able to overcome this with good technique.
Edoga is capable of playing either tackle position, with Maccagnan previously suggesting he might get some work on the interior so he could be a useful backup. However, the Jets can afford to bring him along slowly, so he could end up being stashed on the active roster but kept inactive for most of the season.
Round 4 - TE Trevon Wesco
Wesco is a player who has likely been targeted with a specific role in mind. His blocking ability should enable him to take on a role as the blocking tight end. He'll need to beat out Eric Tomlinson to win this role, but he has a good shot at doing so because of his superior versatility and athleticism.
As long as Wesco has a good camp, the team seems set to give him the role because of his upside. However, Chris Herndon is obviously going to start and see the lion's share of the targets at this position. Wesco's ability to also play the fullback position should earn him some additional playing time as well, though.
Round 5 - LB Blake Cashman
Cashman brings with him an excellent special teams résumé, as he was one of the most productive special teams tacklers in the nation over the past few years. However, his outlook in terms of contributing on defense has also improved since the draft.
With Darron Lee having been traded away, that could be a sign that the Jets have confidence in Cashman to contribute as a coverage linebacker in certain packages, although they did just add James Burgess as competition. He is already making an impression, flashing during Organized Team Activities last week with an interception of backup quarterback Trevor Siemian.
Round 6 - CB Blessuan Austin
Austin's injury issues at Rutgers have been well-documented. Some draft experts believe he could have been a Day-Two pick, if not for his injuries, which include a couple of ACL tears. Austin still wasn't 100 percent when he worked out for teams at his pro day a few months ago, and the Jets will probably take a tentative approach with him in camp.
Austin could enter Training Camp on the PUP list and might even remain there all year. However, if he is able to get healthy, the cornerback position is one where there should be roles potentially up for grabs.