The NY Jets have activated Folorunso Fatukasi and placed Harvey Langi on IR.
Fatukasi was placed on the COVID-19 list last Thursday after he was deemed a close contact with someone who had tested positive. As a result, he was forced to miss the team’s Week 15 game against the Los Angeles Rams — and subsequently their first win of the season.
It was Fatukasi’s first and so far only absence of the season after playing in the team’s first 13 games. Fortunately, it appears as though his stay on the reserve list was only a brief one and that he should return this week.
Fatukasi has been nothing short of fantastic this season. After breaking out last year, the former sixth-round pick has followed up his success in 2019 with an even better 2020 campaign.
In 13 games, Fatukasi has earned a fantastic 86.2 Pro Football Focus grade that ranks eighth out of all interior defensive linemen in the NFL. His 89.9 run-defense grade is the best of any player at his position.
With the Jets possibly losing Quinnen Williams to a concussion, for the time being, the return of Fatukasi will provide a much-needed boost to the defensive line.
The NY Jets will scramble for linebacker help with Harvey Langi out
That said, the Jets did lose one of their most exciting defensive players for the season in Langi. Langi suffered a neck injury this past Sunday but still managed to play in all 59 defensive snaps.
However, after the game, it was determined that the veteran linebacker would be forced to miss some time and, as such, the Jets have placed him on IR thus ending his season.
The Jets have dealt with their fair share of injuries at the linebacker position this season. Both Blake Cashman and Patrick Onwuasor have missed significant time while C.J. Mosley opted-out and Avery Williamson was traded away midseason.
All of that means that Langi, a natural edge-rusher, has been forced to learn a completely new position on the fly. And to his credit, he’s performed about as well as you could expect.
Now, Langi is nowhere near the player that most fans likely think he is. He’s consistently a major liability in both pass coverage and especially in run defense, despite his flashy, hard-nosed play.
His horrendous 34.9 PFF grade which ranks 84th out of 89 qualified linebackers is evidence of that.
Still, the Jets are extremely thin at linebacker meaning his absence will be a significant one. The only other inside linebacker on the Jets’ active roster is Bryce Hager, but expect practice-squad linebacker Noah Dawkins to be promoted in the near future.
Dawkins has been elevated twice already and seems in line for a full-time promotion now that Langi is out. One of either Hager or Dawkins will likely be starting over the last two weeks of the season.
The Jets lose one defensive starter, but return another one in this early-week injury update.