The New York Jets may have a particular prospect in mind to fill the Kyle Juszczyk role in Mike LaFleur’s offense.
Over the four years that current New York Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur spent with the San Francisco 49ers, he was part of a unit that consistently ran two-back personnel sets at the highest rate in the NFL.
One man’s presence was the key to allowing LaFleur and the 49ers to play that style of football: fullback Kyle Juszczyk, the position’s last remaining star.
Juszczyk ended up re-signing with the 49ers on a five-year, $27 million deal. That leaves LaFleur and the Jets searching for a new answer at the position if they desire to feature it as heavily as the 49ers did during LaFleur’s tenure there.
The Jets may have a solution on their radar. On the Cool Your Jets podcast, Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline mentioned a particular draft prospect that the Jets have been heavily linked to.
“I keep hearing this name affiliated with the Jets; Ben Mason, the fullback, H-back, sort of multi-purpose player from Michigan.”
In regards to where in the draft the Jets may target Mason, Pauline added, “I could absolutely see the Jets making a move towards Ben Mason in that fifth, sixth round [range].”
A native of Connecticut, Mason enters the NFL following his true senior season at Michigan. Mason played 22 games over four seasons, logging 369 offensive snaps, an average of 16.8 per game. He primarily played fullback, lining up in the backfield on 75.9% of his career snaps.
The 6-foot-3, 254-pounder flashed intriguing potential as a short-yardage rusher in his 2018 sophomore season, carrying the ball 33 times and picking up 19 total conversions (7 touchdowns, 12 first downs). However, Mason was seldom given the football outside of 2018, getting just one carry from 2019-20. He is not much of a receiving threat with only three career catches for 32 yards and one touchdown.
Mason has a solid reputation as a blocker. In 2020, his 63.6 run blocking grade at Pro Football Focus ranked at the 61st percentile among qualified FBS tight ends/fullbacks.
At his Michigan pro day, Mason had slimmed down to 246 pounds. He posted great numbers in the three-cone drill (6.89 seconds, 93rd percentile among FB all-time), and the vertical jump (37.5 inches, 90th percentile).
Even if the Jets do not end up selecting Mason, keep an eye on their pursuit of a fullback in the later rounds or the undrafted free agent market. It appears the position will be on their shopping list this weekend.
Currently, the Jets’ only legitimate candidate for the fullback role is Trevon Wesco. The second-year tight end began dipping his toes into the position in 2020, lining up at fullback on 45 plays (30.8% of his offensive snaps).