Offensive guard Brian Winters heads into training camp of the New York Jets ready to capitalize on his big year in 2016.
For any NFL offense to put points up on the board while additionally producing a successful quarterback, it all starts up front with a strong offensive line. The New York Jets third round draft pick in 2013 headed into last season with question marks.
2016 SEASON REVIEW
One of the few bright spots for the Jets in 2016 was the emergence of Winters on the presumably weak offensive line. Out of Kent State, in the final year of his rookie deal last season, Winters had himself a solid season that made him one of the top NFL free agents in 2017.
Preceding this last season, Winters had bounced back and forth from left guard to right guard before finally settling into the right guard position in which he started a total of 13 games for the Jets.
The 2013 third round pick ranked 29th out of 72 guards by Pro Football Focus. Winters compiled an above average PFF grade of 75.6, improving from his 2015 grade of 50.3.
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Winters, while not being overpowering, is steady and holds his ground against most NFL defensive linemen. While showing improvement each year we can anticipate him improving once again this upcoming season. During the 13 games Winters started, he allowed just two sacks while being called for only six penalties.
Winters injured his right shoulder during Week 15 in Miami tearing his rotator cuff that required surgery. It ultimately landed him on the team’s injured reserve list. While producing a solid 2016 season, the Jets signed him to a four-year extension that contains $15M in guaranteed money. Winters will make $8M in the very first season of his new deal and has built himself into being one of the Jets building blocks as they head into their 2017 season.
2017 SEASON OUTLOOK
Alongside fellow guard, teammate James Carpenter, who had another solid season at the left guard position, compiled a PFF grade of 81.2. For once, the Jets tandem at guard is a strong point for an offensive line that had lost the likes of two All-Pro offensive linemen in D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold.
Right tackle Brandon Shell played astonishingly well when he was plugged in as the starter for the final three games of the season, conversely accumulating a PFF grade of 79.4 in his very first year. The Jets could very well have themselves three solid foundations on their offensive line.
TRAINING CAMP PREDICTION
Winters did not participate in the year’s organized team activities as he is recuperating from shoulder surgery. His injury is not expected to be an issue once training camp begins, however, Gang Green will rightfully be taking the cautious approach. Winters workload will be light toward the start while gradually increasing in reps during this year’s training camp as he’ll definitely make the final 53-man roster.