The NY Jets finally have a clear plan for the offensive line
By Justin Fried
The NY Jets appear to finally have a clear plan for the offensive line after years of turmoil.
The NY Jets have been attempting to figure out the offensive line for years now. Long-term projects haven’t worked out and neither have short-term stop-gaps.
But after nearly a decade of incompetence, it appears as though the Jets finally have a plan for the offensive line. That plan may not come to fruition this year, it may not even be enacted next year.
But rest assured there is a plan. General manager Joe Douglas had made sure of it.
Douglas went into the offseason with a clear goal in mind of fixing the offensive line. After years of lackluster play, the Jets arguably received their worst offensive line in decades with an abysmal 2019 season.
Something needed to be done — but fixing an entire offensive line in one offseason is a near-impossible task. Instead, adjustments were made to not only solidify the line in the short-term, but to provide hope for a long-term fix as well.
What is the NY Jets’ long-term plan for the offensive line?
The future of the Jets’ offensive line all starts with rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton. The Jets made Becton the No. 11 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and the hope is that he’ll be the team’s long-term solution at left tackle.
More from The Jet Press
- NY Jets: Jonnu Smith would be a smart free-agent target
- NY Jets: 3 non-quarterback trade targets on offense
- NY Jets expected to be ‘much more aggressive’ in free agency this year
- NY Jets: Patriots will not use the franchise tag on Joe Thuney
- NY Jets officially place the franchise tag on safety Marcus Maye
Growing pains are expected and it’s likely that he’s a work in progress, but the talent and physical traits are there for Becton to be a perennial All-Pro at the position. The plan at left tackle is an obvious one.
The same goes for the plan for the right tackle position.
2019 third-round pick Chuma Edoga struggled in his rookie season, but the Jets are still high on the former USC star. They signed veteran George Fant in the offseason to act as insurance in case Becton or Edoga falter.
But make no mistake about it, the Jets want Edoga to be the Week 1 starter at right tackle. And they still believe that the athletic lineman is the future at right tackle.
The plan is evident at both tackle positions, but the interior of the offensive line remains a little murkier.
Connor McGovern was signed in the offseason as arguably the team’s most notable free-agent signing. And the former Denver Broncos lineman is expected to be the short-term and long-term solution at the center position.
McGovern excelled in his first full year as a starting center with Denver in 2019 and the hope is that he’ll continue to fill that role effectively for the entire duration of his three-year deal with the Jets.
At just 27-years-old, McGovern is far from a stop-gap option. He’s a long-term solution.
The team’s two guards, however, are likely more of the former than the latter. Both Alex Lewis and Greg Van Roten likely aren’t expected to be starters for the foreseeable future.
Van Roten was solid with the Carolina Panthers last season but is already 30-years-old. Meanwhile, Lewis is 28-years-old and nothing more than a below-average starting option regardless.
And Brian Winters‘ tenure with the team may not even last past this summer.
None of those players are the future, but there is one player on the roster who the Jets could view as a future starter at guard — fourth-round rookie Cameron Clark.
Clark spent four years at Charlotte playing exclusively left tackle, but many analysts projected him as a guard in the NFL. He won’t be expected to start this season, but don’t be surprised to see him receive playing time as soon as next year.
The Jets are high on Clark and I wouldn’t be surprised if the plan is for him to be a future starting guard for the team.
So what does that leave us with then? What could the future of the Jets’ offensive line look like?
- Mekhi Becton (LT)
- Cameron Clark (LG)
- Connor McGovern (C)
- N/A (RG)
- Chuma Edoga (RT)
If all goes according to plan, the Jets would realistically have one hole to fill on the offensive line next offseason. Is this likely to happen? Perhaps not.
Maybe Edoga doesn’t take the step forward that they hope he does in 2020. Maybe Clark doesn’t develop the way they had thought he would and he’s nothing more than a future backup. Maybe Becton struggles to find his footing in the NFL.
Nothing is guaranteed. But there’s a clear plan for the position.
And after years of short-term “fixes” and stop-gap “solutions,” a plan is really all we could ask for.