The NY Jets upgraded a number of position groups this offseason, but one area of concern entering the 2022 season is the team's interior run defense.
The Jets lost their best run defender in Folorunso Fatukasi and failed to adequately address interior defensive line depth. The options to upgrade the unit at this stage are few and far between which means the team may need to wait until next offseason to do so.
Perhaps they could turn to the 2023 NFL Draft.
"Robert Saleh will continue to invest in his defensive lines no matter where he’s plying his trade. Ika brings something to the table that the Jets don’t quite have currently after Folorunso Fatukasi walked in free agency, and that’s an immovable block in the middle of the defense. He’s more than just that, however, as the 6-foot-4, 350-pounder earned an 85.7 pass-rushing grade last season, as well. "- Michael Renner
Does Siaki Ika make sense as a future draft target for the NY Jets?
Ika stands at 6-foot-4, 350 pounds, and served as the anchor of Baylor's defense last season. The former four-star recruit originally attended LSU but transferred to Baylor ahead of the 2021 season.
In his first season in Waco, Ika recorded four sacks, 24 tackles, and six tackles for loss en route to being named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. He didn't necessarily light up the stat sheet, but his impact was certainly noticeable.
Ika made the largest impact as a run defender, but as Renner points out, he was effective as a pass rusher too. He isn't some hulking, unathletic run-stuffing nose tackle. Ika has some Jordan Davis and Vita Vea to his game.
The Jets could certainly use some extra size in the middle of their defense, although it's fair to wonder how Ika would fit into Robert Saleh's defensive scheme that emphasizes speed and athleticism more than size and power.
Ika is a good athlete, but he may not be nimble enough to play in a Saleh-led defense. After all, that was the biggest reason the Jets didn't decide to bring Fatukasi back.
Look for the Jets to address their defensive interior next offseason, although it's a bit too early to predict whether Siaki Ika will be a potential target.