Continuing with our rookie review series, today we turn to the Jets 3rd round selection. With the 72nd overall selection, 10th in the 3rd round to be specific, the New York Jets took offensive guard Brian Winters out of Kent state. At Kent state Brian Winters started every game since joining the team and earned All Mid-American Conference honors his last three years, with first team honors in his senior year. At the beginning of the season he was listed on the depth chart at the left guard position behind Vladimir Ducasse, a second round selection of the Jets from the 2010 draft. Winters would wind up taking the starting spot from Ducasse due to poor play and lack of improvement and go on to play 16 games for the green and white this season while starting 12.
Coming from a celebrated college career Brian Winters rookie season was not so impressive. His saw his first playing time in week 3 against the bills and graded out at 0.0 on Pro Football Focus. Not great not detrimental, but this was limited sample size to judge. One of the most important things when evaluating an offensive linemen is consistency and with such a sampling in his first game we are unable to judge if it was good start or not. Unfortunately now that we have twelve games to grade him out on the news isn’t good. In 13 eligible games Brian Winters graded out in the red an alarming 10 times, with no sign as to whether he was consistently better as a run blocker or pass blocker, and finishing with an average rating of -2.2.The problem here is that the numbers here aren’t enough, it takes time for a offensive linemen to get up to speed to the NFL level simply because of the higher level of talent and years of technique training.
Unfortunately for Winters this might not be enough to excuse such lackluster performances and lack of consistency, not to mention 47 sacks allowed to his name. However, I am pleased to report some positives that can be built upon. He had his best game at the end of the season grading out at a surprisingly high 2.4 on PFF, and he was trending upward since his worst performance of the season in the week 13 loss to Miami. The fact that he had his worst performance and his best performance against the same team later in the season shows improvement. The other good piece of news is he was not penalized very often, getting penalized only 7 times for 61 yards. To contrast Kyle Wilson in week 2 against Buffalo 3 times for 34 yards.
In the off season Brian Winters will have some time to grow as well as having the benefit of the opportunity to work on his hand technique. Those who read my review of Sheldon Richardson might remember how I mentioned the game within the game in the trenches. The way the pros train to get good in this battle of technique is mixed martial arts training and if he can get some of this training he could marked improvement. Unfortunately for Winters the offensive line coach’s job is in question, and stability and consistency is just as important in the NFL level with the coaches as it is with the players. However, if he is replaced with a high level O line coach his future could be bright, because in the end he has shown his durability as well as professionalism, which could be a strong foundation to a promising career.