NY Jets’ nose tackle Steve McLendon was named the most underrated player on the team.
Pro Football Focus recently released an article listing the most underrated player on each NFL team and McLendon was named the Jets’ representative.
McLendon has spent the past four years with the Jets serving as their on-field emotional leader all the while providing a steady presence on the defensive line. And this past season might have been his best yet.
The 34-year-old recorded a PFF grade of 81.2 which ranked him as the No. 12 interior defensive lineman in the entire NFL. McLendon added 36 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and career-highs in both tackles for loss (10) and QB hits (7).
And as PFF noted, his consistent run-stopping ability over the past few years grades up there with some of the best nose tackles in the league.
“He is one of just five defensive linemen with a run-defense grade of 90.0 or higher since 2017 when lining up over or shading the center, joining Damon Harrison, Brandon Williams, Michael Pierce and Linval Joseph.”
NY Jets’ nose tackle Steve McLendon was compared to some impressive players.
Those players have been considered some of the best at their position for a long time and host a combined three Pro Bowl nominations and one first-team All-Pro nod. McLendon, however, has flown much further under the radar.
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The Jets rewarded their team captain with a one-year extension through the 2020 season back in October and he’s expected to be the leader of a strong, but young defensive line group once again this season.
Of course, there are few positions that often get overlooked as much as nose tackle. It isn’t exactly a glamorous role conducive to highlight-reel plays.
But McLendon does his job well and he’s been doing it at one of the highest levels in the NFL for the last three or so years. The former undrafted free agent out of Troy didn’t find this level of success with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Yet, he’s managed to put together his best NFL seasons in what is normally the twilight of a player’s career. But at 34-years-old, McLendon continues to play like he’s in his prime.
Here’s to hoping that McLendon can keep up his quiet, but superb production with another fantastic season in 2020.