]Another New York Jets season is in the books which means it’s time to evaluate this 53-man roster. This daily ranking continues with No. 6, Steve McLendon.
What does it say about a rebuilding New York Jets team that a core roster player is Steve McLendon — a 34-year-old ageless wonder brought in by the previous regime to replace Damon Harrison almost four years ago.
Since the 2016 season, this 6-foot-3, 310-pound 2010 undrafted free agent nose tackle out of Troy has played 43 games in green-and-white, amassing 119 tackles and six sacks.
The ex-Pittsburgh Steelers project underperformed so poorly in 2018 that coming into 2019 training camp, he was definitely not a lock to make defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ final 53.
But by mid-October, general manager Joe Douglas made sure to extend him, with $1.65 million guaranteed in 2020.
McLendon has earned his nasty NFL reputation for unrelenting physical tenacity against the run. He started every game this season and finished 2019 with an outstanding 79.8 Pro Football Focus grade.
As a rotation contributor, he tied for 35th in the league with 27 solo tackles, along with his three sacks and six quarterback hits.
Adam Gase raves about his team captain’s vocal positivity — particular his gym rat influence on “can’t miss” and heretofore bust defensive linemen Quinnen Williams.
After watching the Super Bowl, one sees a seismic difference between number-two overall pick Nick Bosa and number three Quinnen Williams
McLendon offered a potent message for Gang Green at the end of the season.
“The [6-2] finish tells you what type of team we are, and what type of team we can be. Now, we have to make sure that we come out next year and capitalize off what we just did. We need to keep this winning going. Complementary football is all we need to do. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. The process is the process and the standard is the standard. We will not change. Our mindset will not change. Help one another. Push one another. Encourage one another. Uplift one another and have so much fun because this is a brotherhood.”
Expect more intense competition and veteran leadership in 2020 from “99.”