Bless Austin made his NFL debut on Sunday for the New York Jets, and he made it count.
When the Jets came on the clock in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL draft fans were excited. At least, they were as excited as they could be for a sixth-round pick. Many wanted one man, WR Kelvin Harmon out of NC State, instead they got Bless Austin a CB out of Rutgers.
Harmon was supposed to be day two talent who slid all the way to the bottom of the sixth round. Fans were screaming for him on twitter and on online draft boards. When the Jets took Austin fans were upset, not many had ever heard of Austin, and with reason.
Austin had only played one game during the 2018-2019 NCAA season after tearing his ACL. That came after just playing five games in the 2017-2018 season after tearing his ACL.
Fans were enraged that the Jets would throw away a pick on a CB with such little game experience the last two year who’s proven to be injury-prone.
Well, Austin proved the Jets right on Sunday. It may only have been one game, but it was an impressive one. Austin earned a 78.8 PFF grade for his play on Sunday. That’s the highest single-game grade for a Jets outside CB this season.
Prior to Austin coming into the game, Daniel Jones was 8/11 for 104 yards and two TDs. He was shredding the Jets defense and making it look easy. After Austin came in the game got a little bit more difficult for Jones. He was 19/30 for 209 yards and two TDs.
Now that’s still very impressive for Jones, but that’s also a dramatic decrease in numbers compared to before Austin came in.
Austin himself was excellent. Austin played 38 coverage snaps, he was target four times and allowed only one catch for 14 yards. He had two passes defended and a forced fumble in the game.
That’s quite the impressive debut for a young CB. With Trumaine Johnson out the rest of the year and Darryl Roberts still dealing with a hamstring injury, it looks like Austin is going to get a lot more playing time.
This is his chance to prove all those Jets fans who booed his selection wrong. This is also his chance to lock down a starting CB job in the NFL. The Jets are desperate for a starting outside CB and will likely be looking for two new one next offseason. Maybe just maybe Austin can take one of those opening for himself.