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New York Jets: Offensive line still remains an issue

Dec 13, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets center Nick Mangold (74) congratulates running back Bilal Powell (29) after scoring a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 13, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets center Nick Mangold (74) congratulates running back Bilal Powell (29) after scoring a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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As the New York Jets finished making their picks for their 2016 NFL Draft class, their offensive line still remains an issue.

The Jets entered this year’s draft with a ton of question marks, quite possibly the biggest one remaining on their offensive line. Their Pro Bowl left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson decided to hang it up and veteran guard Willie Colon is battling retirement questions as well.

Related Story: Analysis of all draft picks in Rounds 4-7 for the Jets

The current projected starting lineup for the Jets on the offensive line is left tackle Ryan Clady, left guard James Carpenter, center Nick Mangold, right guard Brian Winters and right tackle Breno Giacomini. Needless to say, they’re all up there in age and are just an injury away from causing major problems that affects the entire offensive line.

new york jets
new york jets

Nov 30, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Denver Broncos tackle Ryan Clady (78) pass blocks on Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali (91) in the third quarter at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The problem is Clady has missed nearly three out of the last four seasons and durability has always been an issue. When healthy, he has arguably a higher ceiling than Ferguson ever had. Carpenter was the steal of last year’s free agency period for the Jets. He’s been an above average play-maker who can do it all in the trenches.

Mangold is a stud and a potential future Pro Football Hall of Famer, but with Ferguson retiring you’ve got to worry that Mangold may be close. They went in the same draft back in 2006 and he’s in his 30’s.

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Moving to the right side of the offensive line, that is where the main issue lies. Winters has had an up and down career with the Jets.

The Jets could have used an upgrade there at the right tackle spot, Giacomini has been nothing short of an utter disappointment.

He signed a four-year deal worth north of $18M dollars two seasons ago.

Just when it seemed the Jets would completely ignore their biggest need on the team, they made their last draft selection to address it in the seventh round. The Jets traded back into the fifth round of the draft and selected offensive tackle Brandon Shell out of the University of South Carolina.

Finally, the Jets made a move in the trenches, Shell should come in and compete with Giacomini for the starting role. Despite that selection which cost the Jets a 2017 fourth-round pick, issues still remain on the offensive line.

Bowles said he’s “very comfortable” with his offensive line backups right now. Jets haven’t picked an OL yet. Two 7th round picks left.

— Darryl Slater (@DarrylSlater) April 30, 2016

The tweet was before the aforementioned trade, but the comment is interesting that head coach Todd Bowles “feels comfortable” with the backups. The backups on this team contain a ton of question marks in terms of their development thus far early in their careers.

Offensive lineman Ben Ijalana was recently re-signed as insurance because of Clady’s injury history. Ironically enough, Ijalana has had his own injury history as well, tearing his ACL twice.

More jets: Breaking down the big three draft picks of the Jets

The Jets are hoping that their investments in Dakota Dozier, Brent Qvale and Jarvis Harrison can make leaps. Qvale was a dark horse candidate last season to make a run at a starting position, Dozier has some versatility with experience playing multiple positions on the line and finally Harrison was the Jets fifth round draft choice from last season and was inactive but has a ton of raw talent. Until it’s proven otherwise, the Jets might have bigger issues on their hands than who is under center.

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