Best/worst-case scenarios for all five NY Jets starting OL in 2022

NY Jets, Connor McGovern
NY Jets, Connor McGovern / Steven Ryan/GettyImages
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NY Jets, Laken Tomlinson
NY Jets, Laken Tomlinson / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

Laken Tomlinson, LG, NY Jets

Best Case: Laken Tomlinson playing at a Pro Bowl or even All-Pro level for the Jets would instantly bring smiles to the face of the front office and to the fans validating their biggest free-agent signing of the offseason.

More than just his play, Tomlinson can bring veteran leadership and a winning mentality to the Jets that the team doesn't have quite yet.

He knows what it takes to play for a team that made a Super Bowl run (when the 49ers won the NFC in 2020), and with that experience, he can be a mentor to the younger players on the offensive line.

Consistency and availability are to be expected from Tomlinson, but the impact that he can make off the field could be equally as important to the mindset of everyone on the offensive line.

Worst Case: It's hard to imagine Tomlinson's play suffering at all compared to last season. With that being said he is being paid as the sixth-highest guard in the league in terms of average annual value so expectations should be high.

While he is coming into a very similar scheme that he was used to in San Francisco, adjustments still may need to be made. If Tomlinson's performance starts off slow at all, expect him to get things settled fairly quickly.

NY Jets
NY Jets, Connor McGovern / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Connor McGovern, C, NY Jets

Best Case: If Jets fans see the Connor McGovern that was steady during the 2021 season, it will be a great asset for the interior of the offensive line. McGovern was ranked by PFF as the best player on the Jets offense last season.

He surely improved from his less-than-stellar play in 2020 and provided stability to the line as the season progressed. With an even more stable guard presence this season in Tomlinson and Alijah Vera-Tucker, he should be able to maintain this consistent above-average level of play.

If this were to happen, McGovern could be rewarded with a nice contract from the Jets to cement him as the answer at center for at least the next couple of years. While he turns 30 this year, he should have more in the tank if his play is at a similar level to 2021.

Worst Case: If the Jets see the 2020 version of McGovern then there will be issues for the present and future at center.

The Jets were rumored to be exploring the possibility of upgrading the center position during the offseason, both in free agency and in the draft. This could imply that the organization feels McGovern is not someone who will be on the team past this season.

If his play does regress, it will leave a hole on the offensive line that will need to be addressed, similar to how Joe Douglas has seemingly needed to do during every offseason since he arrived.

NY Jets
NY Jets, Alijah Vera-Tucker / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Alijah Vera-Tucker, RG, NY Jets

Best Case: When the Jets traded up for Alijah Vera-Tucker in the 2021 draft, they were willing to do so because they saw All-Pro potential in the product from USC. While it is only his second year in the league, he could elevate his play to that level as soon as this season.

Rightfully so, most people are talking about a second-year leap for Zach Wilson and even Elijah Moore. Vera-Tucker could ascend to becoming one of the best guards in the league if he reaches his potential.

Another component of a successful year for him would be adjusting to the switch from left guard to right guard effortlessly. He was accustomed to moving around the offensive line often in his college days, so that should play a factor in his ability to move to the other side of the line.

The claim that Joe Douglas made about having one of the best guard combinations in the league could be put on full display this season.

Worst Case: It would be hard to imagine a drop in play from Vera-Tucker, but the aforementioned switch over to the right side of the line could take a bit more adjustment than expected.

If this is the case, the first couple of games of the season might be where he struggles some. Vera-Tucker should become plenty comfortable with the right guard position by the first month or so of the year considering he has known about the switch for the majority of the offseason.