NY Jets defensive line
- Quinnen Williams, Sheldon Rankins, John Franklin-Myers, Bryce Huff, Folorunso Fatukasi, Ronald Blair, Nathan Shepherd, Jonathan Marshall, Hamilcar Rashed Jr. (9)
A lot has changed for the Jets recently at the defensive end spot.
The team has lost mega star edge rusher Carl Lawson and proven veteran Vinny Curry for the entire season. There's no doubt that Joe Douglas has been and will be working the phones leading into the regular season.
But the Jets might have to go to war with what they have.
In this projection, the Jets are carrying nine defensive linemen on their active roster, but I suspect that it won't last for long. Jabari Zuniga, depending on his injury status, could sneak onto the 53-man roster by default as the fifth defensive end.
But for now, John Franklin-Myers, Bryce Huff, Ronald Blair, and Hamilcar Rashed Jr. will be tasked with carrying the load on the outside.
The Jets' strength up front is their interior at defensive tackle. Provided that they both stay healthy, Quinnen Williams and Sheldon Rankins are an excellent tandem on the inside.
Folorunso Fatukasi is an excellent run stopper, and he has value if the Jets ever decided to shop him on the open market. But the uncertainty of Williams and Rankins' health, coupled with Fatukasi's value in the trenches, should steer the Jets away from trading him.
Jonathan Marshall has a ton of upside and looks like the prototypical pass-rushing three-technique defensive tackle in the Jets' new 4-3 scheme. The Jets could try to sneak him on the practice squad, but there are only so many players a team can prevent from losing each week.
Nathan Shepherd should make the roster, but there's a chance that he doesn't because of the numbers game. Despite the Jets making the move to a four-man front, the need for five defensive tackles isn't a great one.
But based on how good Shepherd has looked this summer, it will be hard to part ways with the former third-round pick.