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Defensive line will be impossible to defend

Oct 4, 2015; London, United Kingdom; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) is pressured by New York Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin (55) and defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) in Game 12 of the NFL International Series at Wembley Stadium. The Jets defeated the Dolphins 27-14. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 4, 2015; London, United Kingdom; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) is pressured by New York Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin (55) and defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) in Game 12 of the NFL International Series at Wembley Stadium. The Jets defeated the Dolphins 27-14. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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The New York Jets have arguably the best defensive line in all of football. But how does it compare to the New York Sack Exchange? We asked Greg Buttle.

The New York Jets have had quite the busy offseason in 2016, especially when it comes to retaining their talent. The Jets were able to successfully re-sign their starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and retain their Pro Bowl defensive lineman, Muhammad Wilkerson.

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With Wilkerson re-entering the fold, the Jets now have one of the most potent defensive lines in the NFL. Despite the loss of defensive tackle Damon Harrison this offseason, the Jets should be better in 2016.

But how do they compare to the infamous New York Sack Exchange from the 1980’s? Listen to the audio clip above as I asked a member of that vaunted defense, former Jet Greg Buttle on ESPN’s afternoon show, Orange Nation.

One of the things Buttle highlighted about this current Jets’ defensive line, is the versatility with this unit. Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson can literally play any position along this front and with that can play in every technique.

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While as Buttle noted, second-year star Leonard Williams isn’t quite at that level yet, he has all the potential in the world to deliver big results.

While the stars aren’t the only players along this defensive line, the Jets also added Steve McLendon and Jarvis Jenkins in free agency as well.

Both of these players add incredible depth at the position and will both help to fill the gigantic void left by Harrison in free agency.

The great thing about the Jets’ depth is the fact that they can constantly rotate their guys, to keep everyone fresh.

The Sack Exchange was one of the most dominant fronts in NFL history as it consisted of Mark Gastineau, Joe Klecko, Marty Lyons and Abdul Salaam. We talked about the recent successes and failures in our “race to the quarterback” piece, in regards to the Jets getting after the quarterback.

So how to compare the Sack Exchange with today’s Jets? Well, sacks is a great statistic to measure and compare between these two dominant fronts.

1981 was perhaps the pinnacle of the Sack Exchange, Gastineau and Klecko combined for 40+ sacks as a duo. In terms of that season alone, it by far exceeds any statistical barometer this current unit has ever put together.

Another way we could compare these two units is by the metric that Buttle gave the current unit so much credit for, versatility. Well, no one is more versatile in NFL history than Klecko, who is one of two players to ever make the Pro Bowl at three different positions: nose guard, tackle and end.

While this current unit of youngsters is mighty impressive, they’re not the New York Sack Exchange. Another nugget to keep the Jets’ ego in check is that they’ve had only had two players with double digit sacks in the same season once during the 21st century so far.

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They’ve got a long way to go before they can be in the same breath as Klecko and the boys. But this unit has the potential to be one of the best in the league for the next several seasons, if they can all stay together. At the current state of things, the Jets’ defensive line will be impossible to defend against by opposing offensive lineman as this positional group can be special this upcoming season.

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