1. John Franklin-Myers, DE, NY Jets
In the end, there is one factor that must be taken into consideration — what does head coach Robert Saleh want?
Does he prefer to start a reliable veteran or young spark on the edge? For example, veterans Vinny Curry and Ronald Blair are consistent guys that Saleh knows what he is getting from.
Or maybe he elects to let John Franklin-Myers loose. Back in 2019, New York claimed Franklin-Myers off waivers from the Los Angeles Rams. At the time, the former 2018 fourth-round pick was a developmental prospect who flashed when healthy.
Back healthy in 2020, Franklin-Myers showed everyone what he is capable of, albeit in a situational role. In 15 games (two starts), Franklin-Myers had three sacks, 13 quarterback hits, and two fumble recoveries.
In the Jets 3-4 defense, the 6-foot-4,288-pound Stephen F. Austin product was used all over the defensive line.
Playing 44 percent of defensive snaps, Franklin-Myers graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 18th best pass rusher out of 111 qualifying edge defenders. Again, all while being just a piece of the Jets defensive line rotation.
Just imagine what Franklin-Myers could do in a starting role. New York would be adding a hungry rusher with high upside to their lineup. Turning 25-years-old this season, Franklin-Myers is also set to hit free agency after 2021, meaning he is playing for a major pay raise this year.
There is a lot for Saleh and Ulbrich to take into consideration when discussing how to fill the hole Lawson’s injury leaves behind.
However, one thing for sure is that there are young players on the roster who are already capable of taking on such a role in 2021.