Chuma Edoga Jersey

Over the next month or so, we’ll be looking at each of the Jets’ draft picks and undrafted free agent signings in detail. We continue today with a breakdown of their third pick, Chuma Edoga.

The 21-year old Edoga is listed at 6’3” and 308 pounds and was selected by the Jets in the third round with the 92nd overall pick. Edoga started 26 games in four years at USC, 22 of which came in his last two seasons. He was a second team all-Pac-12 selection last season and a stand-out performer at the Senior Bowl.

Background

Edoga was regarded as a five-star recruit having played high school football in Georgia and ultimately decided to enrol at USC.

He saw plenty of playing time in his freshman year, playing in 13 games with two starts. While he played slightly less as a sophomore, he started another two games.

As a junior, Edoga became a full-time starter. He started 12 games in 2017 and another 10 in 2018. He was named as a second team all-Pac-12 selection at the end of his senior year.

Edoga was a standout at the senior bowl, as he performed well in the game, but also shined in practice as we was voted as the overall player of the week. He had some mixed results at the combine and in his pro day workouts, though.

The Jets moved up one spot in the third round to select Edoga with the 92nd overall pick.

Now let’s take a look at what Edoga brings to the table, divided into categories.

Measurables/Athleticism

Edoga is quite short for the tackle position, but has long arms and an adequate wingspan. He reportedly played at around 295 in 2018, but was up to 308 for his combine workout and 315 for his pro day.
In those workouts, he had a decent 40-yard dash (sub-5.2 seconds) and broad jump (108 inches) but his vertical (24.5 inches) and bench press (21 reps) were sub-par.

On film he shows explosiveness out of his stance, athleticism when running downfield and good quickness when changing direction. However, he doesn’t dominate with strength.

Usage

Edoga started at right tackle during his last two seasons, but has seen action – including two starts – at left tackle during his time with the Trojans. He was primarily working at left tackle during Senior Bowl week too, and Mike Maccagnan has said the Jets feel confident that he can play the position at the NFL level.

Maccagnan also suggested Edoga might be an option to see some reps on the inside, although he didn’t see action at guard in college. He was initially listed as a guard on recruiting websites coming out of high school though.

Pass Protection

Edoga put together some impressive pass protection numbers over his last two years. According to Pro Football Focus, he gave up only six total pressures in 2017 – although three of these were actually sacks. He was even better in 2018, with no sacks and only four pressures surrendered.

Edoga showed some good glimpses of his pass blocking potential in USC’s bowl game against Ohio State at the end of the 2017 season. This required him to block against several NFL prospects, including Nick Bosa. As you can see, he handles Bosa well here.

While he makes good use of his almost-35 inch arms, Edoga’s best attribute in pass protection is his feet as he’s quick to get into his stance and has the quickness and explosion to recover well and mirror his man.

The main areas Edoga needs to work on are his anchor against bull rushes and power moves and also his finishing, as sometimes he can let his man get past him late in the play. In the Senior Bowl, he allowed Jaylon Ferguson to record this sack having initially repelled him – although this was in large part due to Daniel Jones holding the ball for too long.

Run Blocking

Edoga has a lot of potential as a run blocker, relying on his athleticism and natural abilities. However, once again his base is a slight concern as he doesn’t always get much of a drive at the point of attack, although he does a decent job on this play.

In space, Edoga seems to understand angles and can dominate smaller defenders when he has a leverage advantage on them.

During the 2018 season, Edoga was called for three holding penalties while run blocking and needs to resist the temptation to let his hands get outside.

Screen Blocking

Edoga’s ability to get downfield is impressive and he was able to spring Andy Isabella for a touchdown during the Senior Bowl with this excellent downfield block.

Footwork/Technique

There are a few technical flaws in Edoga’s game, although in most cases these are minor things which could make a big difference to his effectiveness if they can be tweaked successfully.

In pass protection, the common theme is that his footwork is excellent but his hand fighting techniques need work. He’s inconsistent with his hand placement and strikes. He could also improve his anchor with some slight adjustments.

As a run blocker, his lack of height can give him a natural leverage advantage, but he has a tendency to lean into contact when moving forwards which can allow his man to get off the block.

Once he locks up a smaller defender he can dominate them though. He does an excellent job here of picking up the block in space, keeping his hands inside and resetting his hand placement and moving his feet to maintain a leverage advantage as he drives his man down the field.

Penalties

Penalties were a major concern for Edoga following his junior year where he had 13 of them. He had developed a reputation as someone who was constantly being flagged for a false start.

In 2018, he played with much better discipline, with only six penalties, four of which were for offensive holding.

Special Teams

Edoga barely played on special teams in college, seeing limited action as a blocker on the placekicking unit earlier on in his career. He didn’t play special teams at all over the past two seasons.

Instincts/Intelligence

Edoga is regarded as smart and someone who understands his assignments. There are some good examples on film of him transitioning smoothly from assignment to assignment both in the passing game and when run blocking.

However, there was confusion on the line at USC sometimes. On this play, Edoga is expecting one of the interior linemen to pick up the stunting end and he ends up getting to the quarterback cleanly.

Attitude

Despite his efforts at the Senior Bowl, reports from the combine indicated there was concern from some teams over Edoga’s attitude. Matt Miller from Bleacher Report reported that several teams had concerns over his respect, attitude and work ethic.

At USC, he was regarded as a player who didn’t work hard in the weight room and there were concerns over his discipline due to his high penalty count and the fact he was suspended one game for a team rules violation in 2016. There was also skepticism over him missing practices due to a stomach virus but still being healthy enough for gameday.

There is some suggestion he was starting to mature in 2018, though. USC head coach Todd Helton took Edoga under his wing and praised his improved attitude in his senior year, which led to improved on the field play. His effort and body language were still inconsistent though, as you can see here.

His ejection, early on in a game against Utah State, has also received a lot of attention. On the play, he slapped an opponent who had pushed him at the end of a play and then shoved aside an official who tried to restrain him. Was it as bad as it sounds, though? Judge for yourself.

Injuries

Edoga has had a few injury issues during his time at USC. He had wrist surgery at the end of his freshman year and missed one game as a sophomore due to illness. He also missed two games last year because of a sprained ankle.

Scheme Fit

In an ideal world, the Jets will be able to develop Edoga to be their left tackle of the future. He’s been compared to Kelvin Beachum – perhaps due to their shared lack of height – and Beachum could be an excellent mentor because he’s such a good technician.

USC ran plenty of zone blocking schemes over the past few years, so he should be comfortable with the system. Also, reuniting with the likes of Sam Darnold and Deontay Burnett should help to ease the transition.

The main adjustment Edoga would have to make is to stay on his block to the whistle and finish strong, especially if Le’Veon Bell will be dancing around in the backfield.

Conclusions

Edoga is a player whose natural athletic ability, frame and footwork make him a promising prospect who could be an NFL-caliber left tackle if all goes well. His performance at the Senior Bowl in particular was extremely impressive.

He needs some technical refinement and some strength work to make it at the pro level, but won’t be under any pressure to contribute immediately with the Jets in 2019.

The potential for attitude issues are probably the biggest concern, as a poor work ethic would hold him back from realizing his potential. However, if the Jets can get him to buy in, this could end up being a tremendous pick.

Blessuan Austin Jersey

Blessuan Austin won’t have to travel too far to take the next step in his football career. The Queens native found out Saturday that he’d be staying local and joining the New York Jets after being selected in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

“I’m ecstatic, words can’t even describe the feeling right now,” Austin told Ethan Greenberg after being selected. “To go through what I went through and be able to be at this stage right now, I’m just thankful and humble and blessed.”

The Rutgers cornerback had a tough ride on the injury train during his stretch with the Scarlet Knights. Over the past two seasons, Austin played in just five games after suffering a torn ACL in September 2017 and again in September 2018. But the 6’1”, 198-pound corner stood out most during his sophomore season, totaling 43 tackles, an interception and 14 pass defenses.

The two lost seasons didn’t dent Austin’s confidence in his abilities though.

“I’m schematically flexible. My height and my weight, I’m very freakish in the way I change direction and the way I can move at my size,” Austin said. “A lot of coaches, they see a guy my size and they don’t expect to have the foot quickness that I have, they don’t expect the patience that I have at the line of scrimmage. They don’t expect me to play all-coverage that I do and be able to have my head fluid. Being that freakish at my size, I think it’s my biggest strength… I think the Jets picked me because there’s a lot of reward.”

The Rutgers product isn’t the only one confident that he has a lot left in the tank. Following the final Jets’ pick of the 2019 Draft, which the Green & White acquired in a trade package with the Raiders that featured G Kelechi Osemele, general manager Mike Maccagnan was asked about the defensive back who posted a 4.65 time in the 40 at the Rutgers Pro Day.

“We think he has more speed potentially. Combining that with watching him on tape and seeing him a lot over the years down at Rutgers with our scouts, I think he has more speed in him,” Maccagnan said Saturday. “He’s not 100% recovered from his injury, so to have the speed he actually has at this point in time, we actually feel quite good about the fact that he’ll be faster.”

Now, he’ll get the opportunity to learn and grow his game under defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson, and he is looking forward to the opportunity.

“He’s one of those coaches that’s not going to hide anything from you. If you feel like you’re not fulfilling your potential, he’s going to let you know and he’s not going to hesitate,” Austin said of Wilson. “You’ll never get complacent with a coach like that because he always feels like there’s room for improvement.”

Blake Cashman Jersey

MINNEAPOLIS — Blake Cashman received sparse recruiting interests to play major college football coming out of Eden Prairie High School in 2015.

While North Dakota State, Minnesota Duluth and others were in the mix, Cashman was “very close” to attending St. Thomas to play football and basketball, another sport he loves and played for the Eagles.

“It was discouraging, and honestly, I lacked some confidence and doubted myself; that is why I was going to go to St. Thomas,” Cashman told the Pioneer Press last week. “That is where I knew I was safe and would be able to play (both sports), have a great college experience and a great sports career.”

But Cashman reflected on that near decision. “I’ve still always believed in myself enough to the point to where I’m going to go after my dreams,” he said.

Cashman was impressed by then-Gophers coach Jerry Kill and accepted a walk-on roster spot at Minnesota. He made an immediate splash on special teams his first year, in 2015.

Playing linebacker in 2016, he won Holiday Bowl defensive MVP and the program’s Gary Tinsley Award for underdog spirit. With P.J. Fleck taking over as head coach, Cashman earned a scholarship in 2017. Then, as a first-time starter last season, he made a team-high 104 tackles and was named all-Big Ten.

Cashman’s rise continued into the NFL scouting combine in March, and the 6-foot-1, 237-pound linebacker will write another chapter in his underdog story if he is selected in the middle to late stages of NFL draft this week.

After Thursday’s first round, draft pundits believe Cashman’s name could be called anywhere from the third round on Friday to its conclusive seventh round on Saturday.

Given the wide window in his draft status, Cashman is looking to keep any sort of draft party low key Friday and Saturday, with a possible bigger event on Sunday, once the anxiety and stress is settled and he knows more about his future.

At the combine, Cashman finished in the top five in four drills, including a 4.50-second time in the 40-yard dash. Franchises raced to meet with him, doing interviews with team reps, follow-up workouts and film sessions in some shape or form. Nearly every NFL team met with Cashman.

Draft analyst Dane Brugler of The Athletic said he encountered doubters when he placed Cashman among his top 10 linebackers before the combine.

“I received a lot of ‘who?’ comments,” Brugler said. “… I think he’s worthy of top 100 consideration, but if he doesn’t go there, (he’ll) go quickly in round four. He’s a really solid linebacker with all the ingredients to play special teams right away as a rookie.”

Pro Football Focus has Cashman as the fourth-best linebacker available and a potential second-round pick. Through the process, Cashman has gotten the most interest from the Titans, Redskins, Saints and Vikings.

But Cashman, who grew up a huge Kevin Garnett fan, doesn’t have the same affinity for his hometown pro football team. Unlike his family which is almost exclusively Vikings fans, Cashman “was a little rebellious.”

“I grew up as a Packers fan,” he said. “That started when I was five years old and was beginning to understand football a little bit. … I just loved the way that Brett Favre competes and how he treats his teammates and coaches.”

Instead of St. Thomas, where Cashman’s father Steve was a defensive back, punt and kick returner from 1986-88, Blake picked the Gophers because he wanted to play at the highest level.

“I didn’t try to step on his toes too much,” Steve said. “I was there to guide him.”

While 10 former Division III players were on NFL rosters last fall — including Concordia (Moorhead) receiver Brandon Zylstra with the Vikings — the Big Ten had 84 on players on just the NFL teams that made the 2018 playoffs.

Cashman’s breakthrough moment for the Gophers came in a 17-12 upset victory over Washington State in the Holiday Bowl. The sophomore had 12 tackles, including two for lost yards, and a sack. It was the first time he thought he could play in the NFL.

That season, he led the team with 7 1/2 sacks and made 45 tackles. But he still didn’t have a scholarship then — and he endured a torn labrum in each shoulder.

“We had some really serious conversations,” Steve said. “He was very frustrated that he hadn’t gotten (a scholarship) yet. I just said, ‘Look, you are doing a lot of great things. It’s going to come.’”

The scholarship arrived when Fleck and his staff put it in a plastic Easter egg during spring practices in 2017. During his junior year that fall, a second torn labrum in his left shoulder set him back and he had limited playing time behind starting weak-side linebacker Jon Celestin.

“Those were some painful surgeries and long recoveries, too,” Steve said. “He got back to where he wanted to compete. I know his junior year was tough for him because he wasn’t getting enough playing time like his sophomore year when he blew it up.”

But Cashman has come out on top. He has gone from overlooked walk-on to a soon-to-be drafted NFL player. He will earn his marketing degree from the U’s Carlson School of Management in May. It’s all a scenario Cashman thinks about every day.

“It’s something that I see as a blessing in my life,” he said. “I think it’s made me a better person and a better player. Every day I came in as a walk-on and came into the football building with the approach to prove people wrong, prove myself wrong and make a better version of myself. I carry that same mentality into the NFL.”

Trevon Wesco Jersey

It was not so long ago when Trevon Wesco was a man without a home in the sports he loved.

Wesco was a standout in football and basketball at Musselman High in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle. He finished his prep career as the Applemen’s all-time leading scorer on the basketball court while also turning in a record-breaking career as a receiver and quarterback on the gridiron.

At the time, it seemed like Wesco could have his pick of sport and school when it came to college options, but an injury during his senior season of football and a not-so-great academic record in high school put all of that on hold.

He tore the meniscus in one of his knees but was back in time for basketball season. By that time, however, it had become clear that many colleges would have a tough time getting Wesco academically qualified.

He opted to stick with football over basketball and go the junior college route. It was a choice that started him on the unlikely path to this weekend, when Wesco hopes to hear his name called at the NFL draft, which begins Thursday and runs through Saturday evening.

Wesco, who stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs in at 269 pounds, transformed into a tight end during his brief tenure at Pennsylvania’s Lackawanna College before returning to his home state to join the football program at West Virginia.

Since coming to Morgantown prior to the 2015 season, Wesco has gone from a novice at the position to a likely NFL draft pick. It is a long way from lighting up gyms as an All-State forward at Musselman, but Wesco has a good sense of humor about his decision to stick to football — as he does with most things.

“You dream of the NBA until you find out you’ve got to be 6-7,” Wesco said. “I mean, I was my school’s all-time leading scorer. I was a good hooper, but I didn’t turn out 6-7 or it would be the other way around.”

Wesco flew under the radar for his first couple of seasons at WVU. Tight ends were not always a big part of the plans of former Mountaineer coach Dana Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital. Yet something clicked during 2018 that allowed Wesco to stand out and put himself on the radar for the next level. Holgorsen and Spavital came to the realization that when the ball finds Wesco’s hands, good things tend to happen.

Over a period of weeks, Wesco emerged as a favorite target for West Virginia quarterback Will Grier. Week after week, it seemed like Wesco was coming up with a vital catch at least once per game. He finished the season with 26 catches for 366 yards and just one touchdown, but at the same time was one of the Big 12’s best blocking tight ends. Not often, but on occasion, the Mountaineers would line Wesco up in the backfield. By the end of the 2018 season, Wesco had gone from almost being an afterthought in his own offense to an All-Big 12 first-team pick and a legitimate professional prospect.

“I wasn’t really worried about that,” Wesco said. “I’ve always visualized playing in the NFL since I was like 8 years old. It’s nothing new to me. This is what I want to do, this is what I’ve been doing since I was 8 years old. It’s something I’ve always looked forward to doing. Now I’m here and it’s kind of crazy, but I really haven’t let it catch up to me yet. It really hasn’t hit me yet, but I guess it will on draft day.”

That day is rapidly approaching for Wesco, who said he plans to watch the draft from his home in Martinsburg. Wesco began his postseason training regimen for that day almost as soon as the Mountaineers’ season ended with a loss to Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl.

Wesco’s first stop was California for workouts. He snagged invitations to the Senior Bowl and the NFL combine, so there was work to be done on those fronts.

The Senior Bowl trip allowed Wesco to show his array of abilities as a pass catcher and a blocker. Coaches there had him lining up as a fullback, but Wesco said that was no big deal. Just another item on the list of things he brings to the table.

“[At the Senior Bowl] they had me playing a lot of fullback, but straight out of the ‘I’ [formation] — a lot of lead blocking,” Wesco said. “It wasn’t really nothing new for me because I played a lot of fullback at West Virginia, so it’s no different. I’m a versatile player. I’m a 2-in-1 player — I can play tight end and fullback. Whatever they ask me to do, I’ve done.”

The NFL combine is a different beast than the postseason All-Star-type games. At those games, there are still some elements of “real” football. The combine is a football workout and interview session. Wesco handled his business at the event in Indianapolis, with perhaps the only blemish on his performance being a 4.89-second time in the 40-yard dash.

Wesco, again true to form, had a realistic outlook on the time.

“My goal was just not to run five-flat and be the slowest person there,” Wesco said. “I knew I wasn’t going to the combine to break any records. I just wanted to run something decent.”Along with the performances at the Senior Bowl and NFL combine came some love from different corners of the internet and media worlds. Perhaps nobody has been a bigger cheerleader for Wesco than the NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger, who has been very complimentary of the West Virginia tight end on both social media and during broadcasts on the network.

“[Wesco] is more than just a tight end,” Baldinger said of Wesco during a recent NFL Network broadcast. “He’s an H-back, he’s a fullback, you can flex him. He’s good after the catch.

“If I’m a coach, I want this guy in the draft because your whole playbook is going to open.”

In the heat of the moment, Wesco said he didn’t realize how good his tape was. Now that he has seen it, however, he thinks the video evidence speaks for itself.

“I really didn’t know how crazy my tape was until I started watching it as this process went on,” Wesco said. “I was like, ‘Oh snap, I was really out there smashing people.’ ”

Now, all Wesco can do is wait.

By this time next week he will likely be on an NFL roster and begin his professional career. He’s had a small taste of that life since the end of the 2018 season — something Wesco called a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“You wake up worrying about football,” Wesco said. “You don’t have to wake up and worry about going to class. It’s a lot different, but I’ve enjoyed the whole process. It’s been a long process, but I’m just enjoying it because you only get to do it one time, so you might as well do it the right way.”