Before Tajh Boyd was selected by the New York Jets in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the New York Jets drafted just two Clemson players from 1978-2013. Defensive back Roy Epps was picked by the Jets in the eighth round of the 1978 draft and defensive back Justin Miller was selected in the second round of the 2005 draft.
However, since Boyd’s selection, New York, like a lot of NFL teams these days, seems to like the kind of players Clemson has developed. On Saturday, former tight end Jordan Leggett became the third Tiger taken by the Jets in the last four drafts.
Leggett is the ninth Clemson player drafted by the Jets all-time.
Last year, the Jets drafted wide receiver Charone Peake in the seventh round. Peake made the Jets’ roster and played in 15 games and started one. He finished the year with 18 catches for 186 yards with a long of 27.
Leggett, who was taken in the fifth-round this year with the 150th pick in the draft, caught 112 passes in Clemson career for 1,598 yards and 18 touchdowns … all school records by a tight end. He also is the only tight end in school history to record two 100-yard receiving games, which both came against Florida State.
“That’s one thing I love to do is catch the ball and make plays and just help my team out in any way possible, Leggett said to the New York media on Saturday. “I feel like I can definitely do that for the Jets, just pose that threat, pose that mismatch because that’s what I do.
“I’m great with the ball in my hands and I’m just excited to go forward and get with the offense and go to work.”
Of course at Clemson, Leggett played everywhere, lining up in the backfield, in the slot and on the line. He also came up big in clutch situations. He caught the winning touchdown in the final minutes against Louisville and Florida State this past year, while making a circus-like catch in the national championship game to set up Deshaun Watson’s winning touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow with one second left to beat Alabama.
“Honestly it doesn’t matter who’s standing across from me,” Leggett said. “If you look back at the season, the big games I had were against some of the best teams in the nation like Florida State, Louisville and Alabama.”
At the NFL Combine, Leggett, (6-5, 258) showed off his athleticism as he turned in a 4.71-second in the 40, with good times of 4.33 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle, 12.06 in the 60-shuttle and 7.12 in the three-cone drill.
It is those reasons, along with his ball skills, why the Jets decided to draft him.
“When you kind of take away our good receivers, you have to look for the mismatch and that’s just big because I impose it on any defender all over the field and just running routes,” Leggett said. “This is what I do. This is what I’m good at.”
–Photo Credit: Glenn Bell-USA TODAY Sports