Last Saturday night, the Jets selected Clemson tight end Jordan Leggett with the 150th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Leggett is 6'5" and 258 pounds and was an all-ACC first team selection and John Mackey award finalist over the past two seasons. He finished up his college career with a strong performance in Clemson's BCS title game win over Alabama in January.
Leggett was a three-star recruit in high school and made contributions as soon as he arrived at Death Valley. He started one game as a freshman, then seven as a sophomore, catching 26 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns over the two years.
As a junior, Leggett's role increased. He had his first 100-yard game against FSU and ended up with 40 catches and a career-best eight touchdowns.
Finally, as a senior, he scored seven more touchdowns and set career bests with 46 catches, 736 yards and a 16.0 yards per catch average. That was despite a slow start which saw him catch just five catches for 40 yards over the first four games.
Leggett had another big game against FSU in 2016 with a career high 121 yards and three crucial plays down the stretch, including the winning touchdown. He then went on to catch seven passes for 95 yards in the BCS title game, including a vital diving catch to set up the late go-ahead touchdown.
Let's move onto some more in-depth analysis of what Leggett brings to the table, based on extensive research and film study.
Leggett ran over two-thirds of his routes and generated a similar proportion of his production from the slot over the past two years. However, he still saw plenty of action in an H-back role and did play as an inline tight end at times. He also occasionally lined up out wide. However, he also lined up a lot more than you might expect as a full-back.
While he's grouped with the likes of David Njoku and Evan Engram as more of a pass catching specialist, Leggett was actually used in a run blocking capacity far more than either of those two, playing over twice as many run blocking snaps as Njoku over the past two years.
Based on his combine numbers, Leggett has nice size, but only average athleticism for the position:
However, it's worth noting that one of his closest comparables is pro bowler Travis Kelce.
Leggett isn't really a deep threat, but does have the ability to stretch the field by running down the seam. Most of his longest gains have come from him being uncovered down the field and running for extra yardage.
Here's one such example:
He had just one play over 40 yards the last few years and that was a 56-yard touchdown against Boston College where he was wide open over the middle and then avoided a safety to go all the way.
Leggett wasn't faced with a lot of tight coverage at Clemson, mainly due to their number of offensive weapons. He therefore did a lot of his damage by being open underneath or even unaccounted for in a zone coverage.
However, he shows an ability to get separation on out and slant routes in third down situations and can find open areas underneath.
He looks smooth and uses good deception to get open for this big play:
Leggett played as a wide receiver in high school and displays solid hands, catching the ball naturally.
He hasn't had major issues with drops and when he did have a high-profile one in the BCS title game, he made up for it later on with a spectacular diving catch that set up the win.
Leggett has the ability to go down to secure the catch on low throws and shows strong hands here to secure the catch with a defender draped all over him:
He fumbled just once over the past three years, although scouts have noted that he doesn't always protect the ball after the catch.
Yards after the catch
Leggett runs well in open space but doesn't break a lot of tackles. Most of the time, he's just a possession option, but will bolster his production with a lot of plays like this where he takes a short pass and gets upfield for the first down:
Perhaps Leggett's best moment after the catch was in the win over FSU where - having already made two clutch catches on the drive - he ran down the sideline and then dived over a defender to get to the pylon for the winning score.
He also shows good power after the catch, here dragging the defender for eight extra yards:
A high percentage of Leggett's 18 career touchdowns came in the red zone, as he displays good ability to leak into open areas. They'll also use him out wide in these situations:
Surprisingly, I haven't seen him have much success on jump balls, but that's something which he should be decent at, given his skill-set.
It's interesting to watch Leggett on run blocking plays. He doesn't have a reputation as a blocker, but Clemson did run a lot of plays which depended on him carrying out an assignment and generally had some good success running the ball.
The impression Leggett gives is very similar to that of former Jet Kellen Winslow and that's of someone who, for the most part, carries out his assignment, but appears to do the bare minimum a lot of the time.
Even on plays where he gets the job done, he'll size up his man, extend his arms once and act like that's his job done. A lot of the time, that was enough, but if the runner got re-directed or managed to break a tackle, this sometimes allowed his man get get back into the play.
Here was a particularly half-hearted example:
Leggett had a tendency to grade out poorly over the past few seasons, especially in 2015, but that's mostly from not sustaining his blocks to the end of the play or missing his target in space. He didn't tend to get overpowered or block the wrong man very often, but rarely played to the whistle.
He does a good job of driving his man off the line from an inline position on this short yardage play but even here you can see how he's standing around while the play is still going on:
More often than not, though, his run blocking assignments came from the fullback position. Clemson runs a lot of traps where Leggett would lead the way up the middle. Here, though, he does a good enough job on his man to open up a big lane outside:
This is a similar play, as he kicks his man out to open up a lane, but this is worth seeing again because of Charone Peake's downfield block on DJ White:
Ironically, the NFL.com draft profile compares him to Kellen Davis, who - as we know - was considered as a blocking specialist but rarely contributed in the passing game.
Leggett was typically called upon to stay in and pass protect several times a game, although this was often on a quick pass or a roll-out, so he didn't often have to handle quality edge rushers. He picked up Jonathan Allen well on a stunt and handled him well on one play in the BCS title game though.
He still had some mishaps, giving up one sack in each of the past three seasons, but overall his pressure numbers were good. They were slightly worst in 2016 than in 2014 and 2015 though, perhaps indicating a lack of focus. Where he did surrender pressure, it was typically either due to a late reaction due to lack of awareness or because he didn't stay on his block.
He has contributed at times in the passing game by blocking on screen passes or down the field. He does a good job of sealing off his man on this screen pass:
And, on this play, he gets downfield and finds his target to spring the receiver to the end zone:
You can again see how he isn't really dominant as a blocker though, mostly just relying on his size, which would be less of an advantage at the NFL level.
Leggett hasn't contributed on special teams at all while at Clemson. In fact, he hasn't even played one snap over the past three years.
He did record three tackles in his first two seasons, although these were presumably after turnovers.
He was a blocker on the kick return unit as a freshman and fielded two short kicks, which he returned for a total of 12 yards.
Leggett isn't regarded as having good blocking instincts and there were a few mental errors from him in terms of running the wrong route or reacting late on a blocking assignment.
He seems to run well and with good vision in the open field and is adept at working back to the ball or sitting down in open areas to get open.
Leggett has a reputation for being lazy, but he brought that on himself, as he admitted to being a lazy person to media early in his career.
The nickname "Lazy Leggett" stuck with him for the first couple of years, but apparently they stopped calling him that by the time he was a junior and had improved his practice habits. Head coach Dabo Swinney praised his commitment and leadership at that time.
Either way, it's difficult to dispel that reputation based on his film. As noted, he puts in a minimal effort as a blocker at times, doesn't play to the whistle and will occasionally go through the motions.
Word is that the Jets have added some intense coaches this year, so hopefully they will keep on at Leggett to ensure his effort levels remain consistent.
He had huge performances in Clemson's biggest games over the last few seasons, which suggests he is clutch and has the talent to produce against top-level talent. However, at the same time, it speaks to his inability to have produced more. In four games against FSU and Alabama, he averaged 5.8 catches and 99 yards, but in his other 24 games over the past two seasons, he averaged just 2.6 catches and 36 yards per game. Had he produced at a similar rate against that lesser opposition, Leggett would have put up monster numbers and could have been a first round pick.
Leggett had three penalties in 2016, after having not had any in the previous two seasons.
Leggett had some knee issues over his first couple of seasons, including an MCL injury before his freshman year which was initially thought to be serious. He missed a few games in each year, including the 2014 bowl game, but seems to have been healthy since then.
Out of all the players the Jets drafted, Leggett perhaps has the easiest path to a starting role. The Jets have been weak at the tight end position and barely used it over the past few seasons. Other than Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the Jets lack experience at the position.
I wouldn't automatically pencil Leggett into a key role yet though. He has some things to work on and has reportedly made a slow start at rookie mini-camp.
Leggett doesn't strike me as the sort of player that will develop into the kind of weapon an offense can be built around, but I think he's the kind of player who can put up good numbers if surrounded by some other weapons. He should put up good possession numbers in any case, as long as he can earn the playing time.
While his reputation as a blocker is not good, Leggett does display an ability to carry out his assignments effectively. If the coaches can get him to habitually be more aggressive and play to the whistle, he shows the potential to be functional within that role.
Ultimately, though, Leggett is going to forge his reputation as a pass catcher and he might be the most talented that the Jets have had at the position since Winslow, who I compared him to earlier. Winslow made some solid contributions with the Jets and was a favorite target for Geno Smith during his early development. Perhaps Leggett can play a similar role in the development of the young quarterbacks currently here.