NY Jets general manager Joe Douglas has emphasized on numerous occasions how important it is to build through the trenches.
Keeping your quarterback protected makes everything easier for your team and Douglas understands that. The former Philadelphia Eagles executive took over in 2019 and it's been an uphill battle ever since to improve this offensive line.
During the 2019 season, the Jets trotted out an offensive line that consisted of Kelvin Beachum, Kelechi Osemele, Ryan Kalil, Brian Winters, and Brandon Shell.
This unit struggled mightly as they averaged a league-low of 0.7 rushing yards before contact per attempt. To add insult to injury, they allowed pressure in 2.5 seconds or less on 27.5 percent of their dropbacks which ranked second-highest in the NFL.
The NY Jets have revamped their offensive line over the last two years.
The offensive line revamp began last offseason when Douglas signed Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, and George Fant in free agency. McGovern and Van Roten both struggled at times last season but improved throughout the year.
McGovern finished the season with a 70.5 Pro Football Focus run-blocking grade while Van Roten had a 71.5 pass-blocking grade. The team believes each will play better in their new offensive scheme.
Fant held up fairly well in pass protection but struggled with run blocking. He finished the 2020 season with a poor PFF run-blocking grade of 56.9.
The Jets landed a stud at left tackle when they selected Mekhi Becton with the 11th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-7 mammoth offensive tackle had an impressive rookie campaign finishing 11th among left tackles with a 73.9 run-blocking grade.
Becton had multiple plays throughout the season where he shoved someone out of the TV screen. The standout tackle played well in pass protection finishing with a 76.0 PFF pass-blocking grade.
Douglas continued to solidify the left side of the offensive line by trading up for standout USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker. Vera-Tucker was widely considered to be one of the safest picks in the draft.
He only gave up three QB hits in 927 career pass-blocking snaps. The Oakland native has the versatility to play both tackle and guard at the next level. Vera-Tucker will likely start at left guard next to Becton as they look to protect Zach Wilson's blindside.
Morgan Moses and the Jets had a mutual interest in pairing up. Head coach Robert Saleh acknowledged the team wouldn't stay away from signing good players — and they made good on that promise.
The Jets and Moses agreed to a one-year deal worth $3.6 million that can reach $5.3 million with incentives last month.
Moses had a career year in 2020 finishing with an 80.6 overall PFF grade. The 6-foot-6, 335-pound tackle ranked second among all right tackles with an 85.9 run-blocking grade.
The Richmond, Virginia native has shown extreme durability playing 97 straight games for Washington since taking over as the starting right tackle in 2015. He's expected to start at right tackle and be an immediate upgrade over Fant.
This move likely means that Fant will move to that swing tackle position which adds more depth to this unit. He has the versatility to play both tackle positions.
The new-look Jets offensive line has the potential to be very good, especially in the run game as the Jets implement their new wide zone run scheme.
Saleh made a promise to Wilson on draft night that the Jets organization would be there for him and uplift him.
"This organization is going to lift you. Not the other way around," Saleh said.
The NY Jets have made serious moves to ensure their new franchise quarterback is protected. With training camp rolling around soon, we should get a real look at this new unit in pads.