New York Jets: Finding Jordan Leggett's Motivation Could Erase Years of Mediocrity at Tight End
December 31, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Clemson Tigers tight end Jordan Leggett (16) against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2016 CFP semifinal at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Should the New York Jets find the motivation rookie tight end Jordan Leggett needs, he may solve a positional woe going on many years.

Now that the dust has settled on the 2017 NFL Draft, it is time to really look into what each team has. Mike Maccagnan and the New York Jets are an organization receiving high praise for the selections made during the three-day affair in Philadelphia.

Not many will question the New York Jets first selection, LSU safety Jamal Adams, whom fortunately fell to Gang Green in the six spot. Despite the good fortune, Maccagnan did not hesitate to go back-to-back safeties when they selected Florida’s Marcus Maye.

While the strategy to load up on a position not necessarily known as a marquee role seems odd, the Jets still received the stamp of approval from most draft analysts. Maccagnan’s willingness to trade also netted the Jets some additional picks to procure talent in the later rounds.

An acquired fifth round pick became Clemson Tigers tight end, Jordan Leggett. Leggett, best known as the “safety blanket” for quarterback, DeShaun Watson, could very easily win the starting tight end job in New York come this August.

Leggett capped off his collegiate career with an exceptional performance in the National Championship game, as he helped Clemson defeat the Alabama Crimson Tide. Helping Dabo Swinney’s Tigers slay the beast and provide one of the biggest upsets in college football.

Leggett was masterful and reliable for Watson, as the two connected seven times for 95-yards. In two National Championship games against Alabama, Leggett garnered 173-yards and a touchdown.

Considering the Tide are arguably the cream of the crop defensively in all of the land, it’s hard to imagine that a shining talent like Leggett would fall to the fifth round. Unfortunately, the two highly competitive affairs don’t tell the whole story of Leggett’s college journey.

Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers tight end Jordan Leggett (16) catches a pass against Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Ronnie Harrison (15) in the fourth quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The tight end seemed to shine in the biggest of games, the two National Championship Games and a highly competitive ACC matchup with Florida State. But Leggett’s lack of consistency week in and week out, has many questioning his motor.

Grabbing Leggett in the fifth round may result in Maccagnan’s greatest draft pick. The physical attributes and potential outweigh that of the collective draft class with the exception of Adams and Mayes.

Tight end has provided an additional blocker for the Jets historically, as the position hasn’t provided much firepower as a receiving threat. That could all change with the addition of Leggett.

John Morton, with his New Orleans Saints roots, will welcome the acquisition of a pass catching threat at the tight end position. There will be an abundance of inexperience with the current roster of wide receivers, even an experienced play caller like McCown will benefit from a sure-handed Leggett.

While Leggett will need to hone his blocking abilities, it’s not lack of size that is keeping him from becoming great. At 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, Leggett is built like a linebacker. The fact that he remains such a poor participant in aiding the run is due to willingness.

Mike Maccagnan and the Jets brass have made a low risk-high reward selection with Leggett. What Maccagnan’s job is to find out if money, the bright lights or personal glory is the motivation for Jordan Leggett.

If the Jets can harness that motivation and push him to play with that fifth round chip on his shoulder, they may found the star that propelled Clemson over Alabama. If not, he will just become a member of the long line of failures to wear the white and green.

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