The fifth round is a unique place in the NFL draft for a couple of reasons. At this point, fans have begun turning off the television as almost all of the player names they recognize have been said. Also, you never know about the players taken here. The first couple of rounds consist of players who are expected to contribute almost immediately. The third and fourth rounds are seen as players who need to develop but may be used in their first two or three years. The fifth round marks the beginning of players who have the capability to make a difference but sometimes do not even make the roster in the fall. It’s a toss up but here are a few fifth-round names you may recognize: Rodney Harrison, Robert Mathis, Michael Turner, and Herschel Walker.
In the fifth round of the 2017 NFL draft, the New York Jets selected TE Jordan Leggett with the sixth pick and DE Dylan Donahue with the 37th pick. General Manager Mike Maccagnan was one of the most active GMs in this year’s draft. The Jets received the 160th overall pick from the Minnesota Vikings when they moved back nine spots from 70th to 79th. He then traded that 160th pick along with the 224th to the Browns for the 181st pick in the fifth round and the 188th in the sixth. This gave the Jets two picks in the fifth after coming into the draft with only one. Now let’s look at these two players.
Jordan Leggett – Tight End – Clemson
“Tight End Jake Butt” may be more fun to say than “Tight End Jordan Leggett” but after taking a look at both players, Jets fans should be excited about the potential that Leggett has. He is a receiving tight end who could be a big target particularly in the red zone. Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles stated in an interview with Eric Allen that he was “excited to have a pass-catching tight end since we incorporated a new offense and we are trying to use them more.” Music to fans’ ears, as the Jets have sat back and watched the likes of Rob Gronkowski, Tyler Eifert, and Jordan Reed rise as legitimate receiving big men in this league. Some Jets fans were excited about the possible pick of TE OJ Howard in the first round (much forgotten after drafting S Jamal Adams) while other fans were nervous that the Jets would not use him to the best of his ability. Taking a TE in the fifth round with the skill set that Jordan Leggett has is a safe choice. Todd Bowles also stated that he was impressed with Leggett during a private workout where he ran routes and caught the ball better than expected.
Dylan Donahue – Defensive End – West Georgia
This was a more interesting pick for the Jets late in the fifth round. Donahue became the first player ever drafted in the NFL Draft from West Georgia. At first, I was skeptical of this pick because I had never heard of the player but that may just be why fans should be excited about him. “Dylan has a high motor, he’s just a football player,” Todd Bowles said. He has the opportunity to play on the end of the line with Wilkerson and Williams with the likely trade of Sheldon Richardson. The Jets could use a source of pressure from the outside and that was what was in mind when drafting this small school player. The film on this player was impressive but once again, he was competing with and against small school talent. Time will tell if he can perform at the next level; the same could be said for all players in the draft.