Offensive lineman Pat Elflein was a hot commodity and the Jets got him.
As it turns out, a slew of teams attempted to claim the former third-rounder this week after the Minnesota Vikings released him. The Jaguars, Washington Football Team, Bears, Dolphins and Ravens each tried to claim Elflein. The winless Jets, however, had top priority.
So, what kind of player is New York adding midway through this abysmal season? Elflein was a standout at Ohio State, went to Minnesota with the 70th overall pick in 2017, played in 43 games over his first three years with the Vikings and then got hurt after Week 1 this year.
After thumb surgery, the 26-year-old hasn't played since. That said, he was activated by the Vikings off their injured reserve one day before his release so he should be ready to hit the ground running with his new team.
Even if this may seem for Jets fans like news you don't necessarily need to pay attention to, experts across the NFL seemed to think that New York added a solid asset here.
Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer said in his latest 'MAQB' that he liked the "under-the-radar" move.
Why? Here's Breer's explanation:
Here’s an under-the-radar move I liked Monday: The Jets claiming ex-Vikings C/G Pat Elflein. The former Ohio State All-American and third-round pick started 43 game in Minnesota, but slowly fell out of favor, and then fell out of the starting lineup. Chances are, he won’t make a big impact in his new home, and I get that.
But to me, this is an example of GM Joe Douglas pulling every lever he possibly can to get the offensive line right. They have a building block in the 11th pick from April, Mekhi Becton, plus guard Alex Lewis and a bunch of shots that Douglas took in free agency (George Fant, Greg Van Roten, Connor McGovern, etc.). And if they wind up with one or two more building blocks from that group to go with Becton, it’ll have been worth the effort.
Add that to all the capital the Jets have next April, and it’s really not that tough to see how Douglas could, in short order, have a pretty decent group in front of Sam Darnold (or Trevor Lawrence) in 2021.
Think of this as an audition. If it works out, perhaps Elflein has a future in green and white and can revitalize his career. If not, what does New York have to lose?
As Breer said in his piece—which you can read in full by clicking here—this is a team that's building through the offensive line going forward. It never hurts to have a surplus of depth, Elflein has proven versatility at center and both guard positions and who knows, maybe a change of scenery will do him some good.
After all, Elflein is a "potential starter," according to ESPN's Field Yates.