Facing the last year of his contract with the New York Jets, defensive tackle Steve McLendon wants his experience to rub off on his younger teammates. Here’s his profile as he enters his third training camp as a Jet.
Steve McLendon has been with the New York Jets since 2016 after signing a three-year, $10.5 million contract. This union filled a hole at the nose tackle position. Since then, the Alabama product has been a strong replacement for Damon Harrison, who left the team two years ago. Although three years older, he comes at a much smaller price.
McLendon’s cap charge accounts for three and a half percent of the salary cap while Harrison’s accounts for eight percent. But half the salary does not mean half the production. At 6’3″ and 310 pounds, this human specimen is a force to be reckoned on the field. He is a bona fide run stopper, an intelligent playmaker, and a great locker-room guy. Many say he is underrated as to which many agree that he is a solid part of the Jets defensive line.
Let’s check his profile heading right into training camp.
2017 SEASON REVIEW
Pro Football Focus rated McLendon as 15th out of 79 nose tackles and defensive tackles. He ranked eighth against the run and 40th when rushing the quarterback ending the season with one and a half sacks and a combined 46 tackles.
PFF provides a stat called “stops” – “solo tackles which constitute an offensive failure”. McLendon had one in 12.8 percent of his snaps, wrapping up 34. His percentage rate is second best only to, coincidentally, Damon Harrison. His total stops ranked fifth among defensive tackles. Also, he finished second in run tackles for no gain or a loss behind Grady Jarrett. He had 14 and Jarrett 16 among inside defenders.
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2018 SEASON OUTLOOK
For the 2018 season, Jets fans should expect the same kind of display by No. 99. McLendon should continue to be disruptive in the opponents running game and bringing solid leadership in the locker room. We should not expect any pass-rushing improvements as it is his weakest attribute. However, he excels containing quarterbacks in the pocket preventing exits up by the middle.
McLendon only played 43 percent of the defensive snaps last season. That’s low for a four million dollar cap hit. Nevertheless, if he continues to produce and to be a good presence with the Jets, that money will be justified.
He just wants to win as he said to Olivia Landis of NewYorkJets.com:
“I’m here to do one thing and one thing only, and that’s just try to win. Help this team, help this club win a championship. And that’s what I try to rub off on every other guy, and not try to talk about it but try to show everyone by my works.”
That will be difficult this season knowing the Jets are in rebuild mode. This may be a hint that he probably wants to stay in New York after 2018.
TRAINING CAMP PREDICTION
It’s a lock. McLendon will definitely be a part of the 53-man roster. Maybe last year there were some doubts but after this season, all of them have been erased. He is a strong-minded player with a lot to prove so pay attention to what he does this year.