In an occasional feature, we're going to briefly highlight any of the lesser-known players that make an unexpected impact during the season. Today, we focus on Blessuan Austin.
What he did:
Austin, the Jets final draft pick from this year's class, was something of a forgotten man, having spent all of training camp and preseason on the Non-Football Injury list as he worked his way back from an ACL tear in 2018 - his second in as many years.
However, he is apparently on his way back:
Suiting up tomorrow ✅— Blessuan Austin (@BlessuanAustin) October 17, 2019
The NFI list works like the injured reserve and PUP list insofar as a player can rejoin his team for practice after week six and then the team has a three-week window within which to activate him.
Austin is obviously an unknown quantity having not practiced with the team yet, but the old regime obviously liked his potential enough to draft him. Prior to the 2018 season, he was regarded as a potential high draft pick, so the Jets could get a steal if he is able to prove he's 100 percent.
He is a competitive and physical outside cornerback who has been used a lot in press coverage and makes a lot of plays on the ball with his explosiveness, recovery speed and length.
The fact Austin is apparently being cleared to practice now doesn't necessarily mean that the team has him in their immediate plans. It might just be that they'll give him a shot and if he isn't impressive, they'll give up on him. Alternatively, he could show enough promise to warrant being stashed either on the roster or the practice squad, but may not be ready to contribute. However, with the Jets' issues at the cornerback position, maybe he has a chance if he catches on quickly.
The Jets just released Arthur Maulet, so there's perhaps room to carry another cornerback, although they did add another defensive back that is capable of filling in at the slot cornerback position in Blake Countess.
Austin is unlikely to be added to the active roster for a few weeks at least and wouldn't be eligible to play this weekend even if they wanted him to because it's only the team's sixth game.
More on Austin:
Here's the in-depth scouting report on Austin.