This is part 2 of the roster evaluation, you can read the 1st part featuring the offense here. Today we’ll look at defense and special teams. Although most of the resources have been spent on the offensive side of the ball, there are some new faces to the squad on defense and special teams. Let’s see what the post draft depth charts look like compared to last year. Defense Defensive Line – 2013 starters Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison, Sheldon Richardson key reserves Kenrick Ellis, Leger Douzable. 2014 Exactly the same - The Jets defensive line was the standout unit of the whole team in 2013 so it is no surprise that they decided to keep the young unit together and let it grow under coach Karl Dunbar. 16.5 of the team’s 41 sacks came from the defensive line led by Muhammad Wilkerson‘s 10.5. Tackles for loss were also a big area of strength as the team had 52 compared to opponents having 33. The defensive line had 29 led by Defensive Rookie of the Year Sheldon Richardson‘s 12. The unit seems thin on depth but does not take into consideration that Antwan Barnes, Calvin Pace, Quinton Coples played defensive end in some formations last season with Coples also sliding in at defensive tackle all the way from outside linebacker.
Advantage: None although growth from the younger players is expected
Inside Linebacker – 2013 starters David Harris, Demario Davis key reserves Nick Bellore 2014 starters Harris, Davis key reserves Jeremiah George, Nick Bellore, Steele Divitto - Harris and Davis are both 3 down linebackers for the Jets or at least they were last year. They combined for 231 tackles, 3 sacks, and 13 tackles for loss. The problems were that Davis looked lost in coverage for the most part and while Harris started the season improving his coverage skills, he tired by season’s end because there was no depth at the position. Nick Bellore is a special teams ace who is a key player for the Jets but he is not good enough to be out on defensive. For 2014, the team addressed the position by adding Jeremiah George in the 5th round of the draft and Steele Devitto as an undrafted free agent. George is an undersized player at 5’11 235 lbs. who ran a 4.65 forty yard dash at his pro day and lifted 30 reps on the bench press. George led the Big 12 in tackles at Iowa State with 133 tackles (4th in nation), 12 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and 2 interceptions. He has the skills to do well in coverage but his issues include getting off of blocks, speed in open space is average, as well as patience, discipline and anticipation. George plays all out as CBSSports.com says “plays like his hair is on fire”. George will be a huge help on special teams but is a project at inside linebacker. Divitto is a player long on intelligence, strength and desire and short on athleticism.
Advantage: None Davis will probably improve but Harris is starting to deteriorate at 30 and there is no depth you can count on