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Jets should move Darron Lee to outside linebacker

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 11: Tony Washington #12 of the Jacksonville Jaguars is is pursued by Darron Lee #50 of the New York Jets after making a catch during the second quarter of an NFL preseason game at MetLife Stadium on August 11, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 11: Tony Washington #12 of the Jacksonville Jaguars is is pursued by Darron Lee #50 of the New York Jets after making a catch during the second quarter of an NFL preseason game at MetLife Stadium on August 11, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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There’s no doubt that the New York Jets should play Darron Lee at outside linebacker in 2017. It makes the most sense due to his frame and skill set.

The New York Jets tried to follow an NFL trend of moving smaller guys who are also quick to the inside to give them an edge against less athletic NFL guards. There’s one problem with that. Linebacker Darron Lee’s frame isn’t suited for the constant banging at the position.

When you watch highlights and game tape of Lee at Ohio State, the Buckeyes did play him some inside. However, they predominantly played him at outside linebacker. They did play a 4-3 defense, but, even in a 3-4 defense, he’s more suited to play outside linebacker.

Lee missed some valuable time due to an ankle injury last season. The constant pounding of NFL guards more than likely factored into the injury. The combination of Lee and Jordan Jenkins on the outside, along with Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams on the defensive line, would be a formidable pass rush foursome. You might ask yourself, “Where would the Jets move Lorenzo Mauldin?”

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Mauldin, Bruce Carter, and Demario Davis should be in a three-man rotation at inside linebacker.

Mauldin has the perfect combination of body type and athleticism to play against guards in this league. Lee, Jenkins and Dylan Donahue should be the outside linebacker rotation.

The Demario Davis trade was perfect to set this up. At his size and build, he’s perfect for an inside linebacker rotation. Davis is versatile and could also play outside.

When he was drafted, NFL.com listed him as an outside linebacker, and this is what draft expert Mike Mayock had to say:

“He’s today’s NFL outside linebacker. He ran a 4.47 40 at 232 pounds. He’s a sideline-to-sideline, three-down linebacker. His weakness is if you cover him up against a big body, he will struggle.”

He was covered by big bodies last season, and he did struggle with the move inside. It would be better suited for him to rush the quarterback and cover from the outside rather than the inside. It’s also better to have four pass rushers that are good, rather than hide one of them.

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