The 24-year old Deculus is listed at 6’5” and 321 pounds. He was a sixth round pick out of LSU for the Texans in 2022. He’s played in 13 NFL games, starting one.
Deculus was a four-star recruit out of high school. He weighed 355 when he arrived at LSU and mostly played on special teams in his freshman year.
In his sophomore year, Deculus started the second game of the season at left tackle and the rest of the year at right tackle. He remained as the right tackle for the next three seasons as well.
At the end of his career, which included a fifth year due to the Covid-19 special rules, Deculus had set a school record for appearances and started 46 of his last 49 games.
He was invited to the scouting combine and played in the Shrine Bowl, with most analysts rating him as a potential late round pick. He would ultimately be selected in the sixth round of the 2022 draft by the Texans.
In his rookie year, Deculus played in five games but only saw action on special teams. However, this season, he started one game despite initially being released in final cuts and signed to the practice squad. He played 38 snaps as he split duties with another player in that lone start.
He had only played one other offensive snap in his other six appearances this year, prior to being waived and claimed by the Jets.
Now let’s take a look at what Deculus brings to the table, divided into categories.
As noted, Deculus had to lose a significant amount of weight at LSU before he could be a candidate to start. He has good length and a solid frame at 321 pounds.
Scouting reports suggest he is limited athletically but, at the combine, he ran a solid 5.08 in the 40-yard dash and posted a 109-inch broad jump.
His vertical jump and agility numbers were about average, as was the 24 bench press reps number he posted at his pro day.
Deculus has only played tackle, although he did get some practice reps at guard during his college career with the Tigers.
As noted, he started one game at left tackle and the rest at right tackle with the Tigers, but at the NFL level he’s seen both preseason and regular season action at left tackle. He has primarily played right tackle in preseason action but not in the regular season. He also played one rep as a jumbo package tight end this season.
Deculus showed some improvement as a pass blocker during his college career. He allowed four sacks as a senior but none in his fifth season. His pressure rate was also improved in his final season.
He uses his length well to repel blockers but can sometimes be slow to get depth when he drops into his stance.
He has good upper body strength and can anchor against a bull rush but, on this play, he is overpowered by the initial punch and loses leverage immediately so his man can get upfield for the sack.
Deculus battles hard in the trenches but can, at times, be slow to react to inside counters.
Deculus is at his best at the point of attack. He impressed with his drive blocking during Shrine Bowl week and can get a good surge or drive his man laterally.
He does have a tendency to lean into his blocks though, which can lead to his man working off the block to get in on the play.
When blocking on the move, Deculus can struggle to find and engage with a target but he looks surprisingly impressive when he gets out on the move.
Deculus can drive his man off the line, so he is a good option to try and run behind in short yardage situations. However, on this play, he lets his man get under his pads so the run is bottled up.
While Deculus isn’t at his best in space, he has shown that he has the athleticism to leak out and make a block on a screen.
Deculus moves his feet well to reset angles and mirror in pass protection and is also pretty good at working his hands and using his length in pass protection. He can allow his hands to be swatted away when facing fast pass rushers though.
As noted, pad level is something he needs to be conscious of at all times when blocking in the trenches.
Deculus showed good on-field discipline over the past three seasons of his college career, with only two penalties in each season. This was an improvement from his sophomore season where he had six. He does a good job of keeping his hands inside to avoid getting called for holding.
At the NFL level, he has no offensive penalties in preseason or regular season action, but he did have one on special teams.
On special teams, Deculus has mostly contributed on the placekicking unit as a blocker. However, he’s also taken some snaps on the field goal rush unit and even blocked a field goal in college.
On one such play at the NFL level, he jumped offside on 4th-and-goal at the six-yard line. This ended up working out in the Texans’ favor as the Colts were tempted to go for the touchdown on 4th-and-goal at the three and failed, then ultimately went on to lose by one point.
With over 60 games at the college level Deculus entered the league with some good experience and has been praised for his knowledge of the system at LSU. He can have issues picking up stunts at times, though.
Deculus was recognized once on the all-SEC academic honor roll while he was at LSU.
Deculus was a member of the LSU leadership council and served as mentor on and off the field to some of the Tigers’ younger players. He was considered a coachable player with toughness and a good attitude.
He displays plenty of aggression in some of his blocking and with how he finishes things.
Over the years, Deculus has had a series of minor injuries but not many that have caused him to miss time. It was a bit of a running joke among Tigers fans that a game wasn’t complete until there had been an Austin Deculus injury timeout, but he showed toughness by returning with a heavily-taped ankle in one game and a bandaged knee in another.
He missed a few games with a shoulder injury in 2021 and a knee issue in 2019 and also played through a wrist injury in 2018 and missed time in preseason in 2020 with an undisclosed injury. At the NFL level, he dealt with an ankle issue in 2022.
Unlike most of the Jets’ recent offensive line additions, Deculus doesn’t have direct experience in Keith Carter’s system but his skill-set and smarts should hopefully make him a quick study.
He was a teammate of current Jet Jarrick Bernard-Converse at LSU and practice squad member Lance McCutcheon when he was with the Texans.
The Jets are in a situation where they basically have room on their roster for any functional tackle and, even without knowing the scheme in advance, they will hope that Deculus is someone that can do a job for them in an emergency.
At 24, Deculus may still have some upside, so even if he is not called into action in the second half of the season, he could be someone they bring back to compete for a role next year.