With the New York Jets, what should expectations be for first round pick Darron Lee in his first season? Expectations should be incredibly high in 2016.
Expectations are always high for first round picks, as well as they should be. The New York Jets made an investment in their linebacker corps by drafting Lee out of Ohio State with the 20th overall pick.
Head coach Todd Bowles revealed his plans for Lee immediately after drafting him. Bowles said that Lee will play the ‘Mo’ linebacker position, initially sitting behind Erin Henderson. But it’s only a matter of time before Lee who is faster, stronger and more versatile than Henderson, takes the starting gig. Early expectations for Lee are through the roof.
Lee will be expected to run sideline to sideline, increasing the speed of the Jets’ defense instantly. While also being thrown in coverage situations on running backs out of the backfield, tight ends and even the occasional receiver.
As part of his weekly interactions with the media, Bowles revealed his thoughts on Lee after the rookie minicamp. Here’s what he said provided by the Media Relations Department of the Jets:
Yeah, he’s fast. We’re not trying to tackle in camp. But Coach (Bruce) Arians always taught me it’s better to say, “Whoa,” then, “Sick ‘em.” We will tone it back and make sure that he’s doing the right things.
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With just an early glimpse at the mini camps, Lee has been flying around and laying the lumber.
As Bowles said earlier, he doesn’t want it but he loves the aggressiveness.
For a linebacker corps that has started to look its age, a face lift was long overdue.
Eventually, Lee will take the torch in theory from linebacker David Harris whenever he decides to hang up his cleats.
From a statistical standpoint, Lee should be lighting up the charts. Expect a ton of big plays from forced fumbles, sacks, interceptions as he’s going to make a ton of splash plays.
The only reason he is able to do that, outside of his ridiculous talent, is because of the talented defensive line in front of him. Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams open up huge holes for Lee to come screaming through.
A very symbiotic relationship develops between defensive linemen and linebackers and this could be a marriage that’ll last a lifetime. The big test will be if Lee can cover running backs out of the backfield.
It’s been a trouble area for the Jets for years and it was highlighted multiple times last season. Harris, the current leader of the defense, had a few things to say about Lee via Twitter:
— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) May 16, 2016
The Jets are hoping that Lee can be an asset to this team in the present and the future. Some analysts have questioned Lee’s size and if he can take the beating of a full 16 week schedule.
Bowles said he won’t ask Lee to add weight because he wants him where he’s at in the 230+ pound ball park. Which is revealing from the stand point that we could see a ton of Lee vs Rob Gronkowski action and that could be a lot of fun in seeing if he can contain the tight end that has caused much damage against the Jets over the years.