A lot of people were surprised to see former Clemson tight end Jordan Leggett fall to the fifth round in last week’s NFL Draft, and no one was happier to see him there more than the New York Jets.
With Leggett’s size (6-5, 258), hands (10 3/8 inches) and athleticism, many experts think the Jets got one of the steals in the draft, especially the way new offensive coordinator John Morton loves to use the tight end in his schemes.
Leggett describes himself as a do-it-all tight end. At Clemson he played H-Back, he played on the line, he lined up in the slot and he lined up wide. It is why he was considered one of the top tight ends in the country the last two years.
From a statistical standpoint, Leggett was perhaps the best tight end in Clemson history. This past year, he was a finalist for the Mackey Award and an All-American for a second straight year. He joined former Pittsburgh Steelers great Bennie Cunningham as the only Clemson tight ends to be named All-Americans in back-to-back years. Cunningham did it in 1974 and 1975.
In 2016, Leggett hauled in 46 passes for a single-season record 736 yards by a tight end. He also scored seven touchdowns and averaged 16.0 yards per catch. In 2015, Leggett had 40 receptions for 525 yards and eight touchdowns.
“I’m definitely excited and I’m excited for my chance,” Leggett said to the media via New York Jets.com. “I’m excited to be here and excited for my chance to fight and make the team and get to play on Sundays.”
Leggett’s chances of making the team seem high because of the way Morton works the tight end into his office. Leggett is the prototypical tight end for the Jets’ offense.
“We have been talking a little bit,” Leggett said. “He has been helping me a little bit with the playbook and stuff like that. He just honestly loves tight ends so I’m going to try and go out there and do my best in whatever he tells me to do.”
Leggett says he isn’t as much of a mismatch to defenses in the NFL as he was in college because guys like Seattle safety Cam Chancellor are the same size.
“It is going to take a lot of work for me to get better in every facet of my game,” he said.
So what does the former Clemson star have to do better, “blocking or rout running,” he said. “I have to improve in every part of it.”
“There is a lot that goes into it,” Leggett continued. “As of right now, I’m just trying to make the team. I’m going to put my best foot forward. Whatever they ask me to do, I’m going to go out there and do it.
As for falling to the fifth round of the draft, Leggett says “it was what it was.” There is nothing he can do about that. All he can do is move forward.
“All I needed was to get my foot in the door and the Jets gave me my opportunity,” he said. “I’m forever grateful and extremely blessed. It happened so I can’t change it now. I’m going to go out there and do my best and hopefully prove everybody wrong.
“It definitely puts a chip on my shoulder going forward.”
–Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports