We’ve talked about it for two years now, the Jets‘ aging offensive line needs infusion of young talent.
The Jets must add youth on the offensive line in this draft and have them coached up for the 2017 season (barring injury in 2016).
Again, 2006 was their last draft with the offensive line being their priority. That year netted the team Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Ferguson has retired and the Jets scrambled to bring in Ryan Clady.
Clady may pay off as James Carpenter did but overall youth and longevity must be a key factor for this team.
The Offensive line as our currently stands:
Ryan Clady, James Carpenter, Nick Mangold, Brian Winters,Breno Giacomini, Brent Qvale, Ben Ijalana, Wesley Johnson, Dakota Dozier, Jarvis Harrison, Craig Watts, Lawrence Okoye, Luke Marquardt. (The last two have zero NFL experience).
Departures: D’Brickashaw Ferguson(retired), Willie Colon (free agent) with constant knee problems but has stated that he still wishes to play.
Current starters: Clady, Carpenter, Mangold, Winters, Giacomini.
The offensive line has eroded with time and age because of neglect and poor drafting. It simply has not been seen as a priority even when throwing newly drafted quarterbacks into the fire.
Jets are one of only three teams that haven’t drafted a lineman in the first round since 2006.
It’s past time to start replenishing the depth. James Carpenter at left guard figures into the long-term plan. Ryan Clady (pro bowl 2014) is a stop gap at left tackle, as be too will be 30 by opening day.
Mangold’s retirement can’t be far off (He did slide into the pro bowl last year covering an injury player) and the team shed replacement Dalton Freeman last season in favor of Wesley Johnson.
The right side remains uncertain, Brian Winters and Breno Giacomini are marginal starters with team friendly contracts.
The Jets need to draft at least two linemen, (Guard/Tackle) who can be groomed to take over the starting jobs in 2017.
If the Jets do take a lineman with the 20th pick the writing would be on the wall for both Winters and Giacomini. But yet again we just don’t believe the Jets will go that route.
The last offensive lineman drafted Jarvis Harrison – fifth round. In 2013 and 2014 equaled four linemen in the later rounds, none of have panned out.
Potential targets in this draft:
Jason Spriggs, (recently visited the Jets). one of the better athletes among the tackles, ideal in a zone-blocking scheme and a more realistic pick.
He had only two penalties and three sacks allowed in 1,100 snaps last season, per PFF.
Taylor Decker, Ohio State tackle.
Decker (6-foot-7, 310 pounds) played left tackle in college, but many reports project him as a right tackle in the NFL.
Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M (6-foot-6 324 pounds) and long arms (36 inches). Reportedly needs a lot of technique work.
Joe Thuney OG (6′-5″ 304#) “Has played every position along the offensive line. Sharp and can process assignment changes quickly against run stunts. Sees twists and comes off of first blocks instantly to catch up with twisting rusher. Shows reactive athleticism to make quick counter step inside when needed.”
Free Agency pickup:
Offensive tackle Ryan Clady
Trading for the four-time Pro Bowl left tackle Clady could be a steal for the Jets. They didn’t give up much (a fifth-round pick), the contract is reasonable and he could return to a Pro Bowl level, if healthy. D’Brickashaw Ferguson’s unexpected retirement in April put the Jets in a tough spot, but they did well to acquire Clady, who missed all of the 2015 season after tearing an ACL last May. He could be an upgrade. — Rich Cimini