New York Jets 2019: Ranking the 53-man roster — No. 9 Brandon Copeland

With the New York Jets season over, it’s time to evaluate this 53-man roster. This daily ranking continues with No. 9, Brandon Copeland.

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Brandon Copeland

Linebacker, New York Jets

New York Jets former general manager Mike Maccagnan got a great return for his 2018 investment in Brandon Copeland.

The former Lions/Titans/Ravens edge-rusher and special teams ace had spent two seasons on practice squads and one on injured reserve since 2013. He started for Gang Green in 2018 and expressed high expectations going into his fourth full pro season.

Copeland is an Ivy League, University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business graduate, who runs his own real estate firm and teaches financial literacy at Penn. He just might be the most intelligent man in the room.

But such wisdom hasn’t made him the smartest of athletes. He got suspended for 2019’s first four games, for violating league PED policy (he blames the supplement manufacturer). That means that the esteemed savings guru forfeited 25% of his $1.75 Million NFL contract! Good thing he’s been faithfully saving 90% of his pay!

Copeland flashes ability as Gang Green’s smartest baller on the field. While hardly the league’s most devastating edge rusher, he offers great value for his versatility, able to compete across the front-seven for DC Gregg Williams. Not to mention those special teams skills.

Yet the 6-foot-3, 260-pound mad-backer never got on-track in 2019, reflected by his bland 54.8 PFF rating. In 2018, Copeland had 5 sacks, this year he caused just 1.5. To offer further perspective, PFF’s “Hall of Fame Monitor” ranked Copeland’s season just 2.3 on a HOF scale requiring at least 103.9.

Last week, Brandon got named 2020 Alan Page Community Award, the NFLPA’s highest honor for community outreach. Last summer, he held his fourth annual youth football camp in Baltimore — for which over 400 volunteers packed for underprivileged kids 1,000 book bags with hygiene kits and school supplies. This March at Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center he’ll host a star-studded benefit: “The Basketball Classic: Celebrity Edition.” Talk about giving back to the community!

The 28-year-old locker room presence definitely merits a 2020 pay raise — and expect other teams to bid on the unrestricted free agent — but he won’t break the bank.

Next: New York Jets: Matt Miller 7-round 2020 mock draft (pre NFL Combine)

Over the past two seasons, the LB-thin New York Jets have forced Copeland into a starting OLB role that fails to maximize his skill set. New GM Joe Douglas has no allegiances, but he must recognize the upside of re-signing yet another heady, relatively inexpensive, middle-of-the-roster, high-character, situational pass rusher as part of an ascending organization.

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