As the New York Jets prepare for training camp, their defensive line situation is looking to be incredible as it’s going to be one of the top strengths of the team in 2016.
The defensive line of the New York Jets is flat-out scary. You could honestly say that it’s the team’s strongest unit even with the loss of nose tackle Damon Harrison. It does hurt to lose your best run stopper, but general manager Mike Maccagnan was smart in not matching the New York Giants’ offer of $9M per year. ‘Snacks’ is a tremendous talent, however $9M is a bit steep for a two-down player. Gang Green will be just fine in terms of stuffing the run.
New addition Steve McLendon logged in six under the radar seasons as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers in which you have to respect. The 30-year-old has a career total of 90 tackles, five sacks and three forced fumbles. At 6’3, 310, he doesn’t have the frame of Harrison, although he does bring more to the table as a pass rusher.
Five sacks in six seasons may not seem like much, but as a 3-4 nose tackle, it’s actually quite the accomplishment. Despite having a boatload of tackles, Harrison does have a mere 1.5 sacks in three years, giving McLendon the upper hand in that department.
Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams are simply freaks who make the line as stout as it is. ‘Mo’ finally got the long-term extension that he’s been waiting for and Richardson will have a huge chip on his shoulder when he returns in Week 2.
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Williams on the other hand is entering his second campaign and he’ll look to keep the phrase “sophomore slump” nowhere near his name.
These are three guys no offensive line should want anything to do with.
Jenkins was signed on a two-year deal worth $7M while Simon is a project who was taken in the seventh round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
With Leger Douzable out the door, you’d have to assume that Jenkins will be taking his role in the rotation. People are calling Simon the next Harrison, so expectations are beginning to rise for him without question.
Mike Catapano, Julien Obioha, Helva Matungulu, Claude Pelon, Lawrence Thomas, Shelby Harris, and Tarow Barney round out the rest of the defensive line. Catapano and Harris have an ounce of experience in the NFL while the others are newbies.
Thomas (Michigan State) and Obioha (Texas A&M) both are coming out of great programs at the college level, but making the next jump is a huge test. Come training camp we’ll see if they’re ready for it.
Overall, there isn’t too much to say about this group. They have star power, depth and a handful of youngsters who have the chance to be diamonds in the rough. If all goes well, this could yet again be one of the better units across the league.