Nania’s All-22 breaks down the season of New York Jets rookie linebacker Blake Cashman in 2019 with film and plenty of numbers.
Career recap: Blake Cashman walked on at the University of Minnesota and eventually earned himself a scholarship, earning third-team All-Big Ten honors in his senior season after racking up 102 tackles.
Cashman turned some heads at the Combine with a 4.5 forty time, which is good enough for the 94th-percentile among linebackers in Combine history. He came into the Draft with promising upside in the passing game, looking like a potential stud in coverage and as a blitzer.
2019 expectations: The Jets selected Cashman in the fifth round with the 157th overall pick. He became the first off-ball linebacker taken by the Jets since Darron Lee in 2016, and the first selected in the second round or later since Jeremiah George in the fifth round of the 2014 Draft.
Cashman made a lot of noise at training camp, drawing a lot of praise from the coaching staff and media. It did not take long for him to start playing consistent reps with the second team, and even some with the first team. He was in position for a key role in sub-packages.
Cashman enjoyed an excellent preseason, specifically in coverage, where he allowed just 72 yards over 13 targets (5.5 per target).
With Avery Williamson‘s season-ending injury in the second week of the preseason, Cashman became a lock to make the team and a good bet to play a key role from the get-go. He made the Week 1 roster with no problem and was active for the season-opener against Buffalo.
Neville Hewitt took over Williamson’s starting spot, but it was not long before Cashman was thrust out there as well. Just 46 snaps into the first year of his $85 million deal with the Jets, C.J. Mosley was lost to a groin injury. Cashman was tossed into every-down action.
Before the Jets were shellacked by injuries, the hope was for Cashman to show some promise on passing downs and special teams. If he could become a valuable special teams ace and a useful sub-package linebacker, he would be a tremendous hit in the fifth round.
Positives: Once the injuries rolled in, Cashman had to take on a multitude of duties that he was never supposed to handle in his rookie season, and it quickly became clear that struggles would be aplenty. It is never fair to expect a fifth-round rookie to make a plus impact as an every-down starter, especially if it was not intended for him to start in the first place.
With that said, Cashman displayed real promise in some of the specific areas that the Jets had hoped he would.