Entering the last year of his rookie contract, New York Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin knows he needs to step up his game to keep his spot on the roster.
New York Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin has entered a critical point in his career with the team. After a lost season due to a back injury in 2017, the University of Louisville product enters 2018 on the last year of his rookie contract. There is a big chance that Mauldin could be a training camp casualty if he does not prove he can be a reliable asset to the defense.
Mauldin had a solid start to his Jets career, recording four sacks but those numbers dropped to only 2.5 in 2016. Coming into 2017, Mauldin was ready to prove he could be a consistent pass rusher for the Jets but a bulging disc in his back eliminated any chance of that happening. Mauldin had surgery after the annual Green & White scrimmage last August and never got a chance to play another down last season.
Mauldin acknowledged those sacks numbers need to drastically improve and ever since his surgery, he feels like a “new man” according to an article by Daryl Slater of NJ Advance Media. Here is what Mauldin had to say:
Those are low sack numbers, I feel like I’m a new man. Now I’ve got an extra step to me. I feel like I’m on my way.”
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Ever since John Abraham left over a decade ago, the Jets have been unable to find a consistent pass rusher. Muhammad Wilkerson was the closest thing that the Jets had to a consistent pass rusher with two double-digit sacks seasons; 10.5 in 2013 and 12 in 2015. Unfortunately, Wilkerson’s poor behavior and performance after he signed a new deal in 2016 led to him being released this offseason.
The Jets desperately need to find a consistent pass rusher and that is where Mauldin can make his money if he can prove he is fully healthy in training camp. That is easier said than done, but Mauldin has no choice and needs to fight like crazy to keep his roster spot.
During the team’s first spring practice on Tuesday, Mauldin acknowledged he knows what is at stake heading into training camp and is ready to fight for his spot. In that same article by Slater, here is what Mauldin had to say:
I’m definitely trying to fight for my roster spot, I’m overwhelmed, actually, because now it’s like: It’s now or nothing.”
For Mauldin, he has been fighting his whole life. From growing up in the foster care system, constantly changing schools, and being thrown into a juvenile detention center; Mauldin had to fight hard to be where he is now. Mauldin’s fight and never give in attitude helped him become a star player at the University of Louisville and now the 2015 draft pick needs that same fighting spirit to stay with the Jets.