Last week, the Jets announced that they had signed South Carolina State offensive lineman Javarius Leamon to an undrafted free agent deal after the 2017 NFL Draft.
The 24-year old Leamon is 6'7" and 332 pounds and was a three year starter at left tackle for the Bulldogs. He was a second team all-MEAC conference selection in 2016.
Leamon was a four-star prospect in highschool and was heavily recruited by power five conference teams, eventually opting to accept a scholarship at Clemson. Unfortunately, he was unable to meet the academic requirements and ended up at South Carolina State instead.
After red-shirting his first season, Leamon played in 11 games as a red-shirt freshman, starting the last three. He missed the first month in 2014 due to an academic suspension but started at left tackle for the rest of the season and in all 22 games in 2015 and 2016.
After the 2016 season he was invited to the scouting combine and played in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
Leamon has some nice size and long arms, but wasn't able to do a full workout at the combine or his pro day due to injury.
In addition to the above numbers from the combine, he also posted a 5.39 40-yard dash, 91" vertical leap, a 5.12 short shuttle and an 8.28 three cone drill at his pro day. None of these numbers are particularly good, but if you account for his size and the fact he was hurt you can understand why he has a reputation as being a good athlete.
That athleticism is on show here as Leamon (#52) gets well out in front of a running play and makes a block 10 yards downfield. Unfortunately, he slipped so wasn't able to make the block as cleanly as you might hope to see, but it was still effective at eliminating that safety from the play:
All of Leamon's starts at the college level were at left tackle. It's possible he saw some action elsewhere on the line before he was a starter, but there is no footage available to confirm this.
At his size, he could potentially be a road-grading run blocker that could contribute at right tackle.
Since he played at a lower level, Leamon was able to impose himself in the running game solely through being more powerful than most of the guys he was up against.
He had less success when facing BCS-level opposition and sometimes this is perhaps a product of the fact his technique didn't need to be refined for him to succeed against FCS players.
He seems to be most effective on straightforward blocking assignments, where he perhaps blocks down to set an edge or diverts his man upfield. This is basically Leamon's signature move, as he regularly kicks out the edge defender in this manner:
However, even here, you can see he's relying on brute strength rather than engaging his block and trying to stay on it. On this example, Leamon pulls right and makes contact with his target, but allows him to bounce off and eventually get in on the tackle:
Again, Leamon perhaps could have done a better job of staying on the block there and preventing his man from getting back into the play. You're left wondering if he's used to that being sufficient to take a man out but on this occasion, his man was bigger and stronger than he's used to. That's going to be an adjustment for him as he goes up another level to the NFL.
Pad level can also be an issue and this can lead to him being initially stood up at the line. However, he has the ability to recover, gain control of the block and set the edge, as he did here:
Leamon has been described in some circles as slow-footed and there are occasions where he seems to struggle to change direction laterally.
However, for the most part, he looks more fluid in pass protection than you would usually see from a player his size, especially for a small-school prospect. He tends to get up into his stance quickly and mirrors well. However, he only played in a two-point stance, which - as Geoff Schwartz points out in this article - means he will need to make some adjustments for the pro game.
Against BCS-level competition, Leamon held up pretty well as he was credited with just one sack surrendered in three games in 2016. That didn't include this play, though, where the quarterback stepped up but took too long to get his throw off, enabling Leamon's man to record a strip sack even though he didn't beat him:
He did give up a sack in the NFLPA game though, allowing his man to get off his block to the inside:
He was arguably lucky not to give up sacks on two other plays where he was beaten but somebody else's man got there first. The first of these saw him badly beaten on an inside move:
On the second, he was beaten around the outside, which was rare to see. Again, if a player got upfield leverage on Leamon at the FCS level, he was usually able to just overpower them and ride them out of the play, but on this occasion, his man uses a rip move to get around the corner:
Leamon occasionally struggled to hold his ground against a bull rush too and his pass rush numbers definitely benefited from the offense running a lot of quick strike plays or roll-outs. Nevertheless, he did display some raw promise.
One thing that is noticeable in pass protection is that Leamon makes good use of those long arms. If he loses an initial leverage advantage, he shows the ability to extend his arms and move his feet to recover and get back into the play. He counters a pass rush move well here:
However, even though he has long arms, his hand size is well below average and he can, at times, allow himself to be beaten in hand fighting situations, enabling a defender to get off his block:
Penalties didn't seem to be a major problem for Leamon on the basis of the footage watched. He was credited with one holding penalty in one of the games, but it appeared they announced the wrong number.
Leamon's academic issues in the past are a minor concern, although in cases such as this, there's an equally strong argument that the player has demonstrated positive traits in overcoming those issues to establish themselves as a draft prospect.
On the field, there were no obvious issues with blown assignments, although, as noted above, he did seem to handle the simplest assignments the best.
In addition to his four-game academic suspension, Leamon also sat out two games due to a coach's decision as a freshman.
He doesn't seem to have any other red flags, although he did get ejected for his part in a brawl in 2014. He was not suspended for that incident.
He brings some nastiness onto the field with him - which is not necessarily a bad thing - as displayed at the conclusion of this play:
Leamon doesn't seem to have missed any time through injury while in college, although he did have a foot injury at the combine and a calf injury at his pro day, which likely affected his numbers and reduced his chances of being drafted.
Leamon will start out as a project left tackle, but might be able to back up at either tackle position. Right now, we can't say for sure if the Jets will even still be running the same system by the time he's ready to play.
With his size, he'd probably be less of a fit in a zone based scheme, but he flashes enough athletic ability to play in any system.
Leamon was impressive in places, although it's difficult to know how he'd have held up against top level competition in a more standard offense rather than one designed to mitigate pressure.
The jump in level is obviously going to be an issue for him, as there are already signs that he's picked up some bad habits due to being able to dominate against FCS competition without perfect technique.
Nevertheless, Leamon seems to have some of the raw tools that teams constantly look for in a project tackle, so could be an ideal player to retain on the practice squad ready to compete for a role over the next year or two.
UP NEXT: We take a look at Baylor wide receiver KD Cannon.