New York Jets Pre-Free Agency/Draft Roster Breakdown – Defensive Line

Before you know it, your favorite NFL team will undergo a dramatic facelift and hypothetically improve their prospects for the 2014 season. Don’t forget, however, the 2013 rosters are still set and old faces will play just as important roles as the new ones. As of today there are six days until NFL Free Agency and the start of the new league year. So, each day, we at TOJ will address a new position group and where there will be change. Today, defensive line. 2013 New York Jets Depth Chart:

  • Sheldon Richardson- Under contract through 2015
  • Damon Harrison – Under contract for 2014
  • Muhammad Wilkerson – Under contract for 2014
  • Kenrick Ellis – Under contract for 2014
  • Leger Douzable- Unrestricted Free Agent

As Currently Constituted: The Jets defensive line was the best unit on the team last season and, arguably, the best in the league. Though the Seahawks and Panthers may have something to say about that, no one can question this unit’s ascendant season. Kenrick Ellis and Leger Douzable could easily start for another team. They were rotational players for the Jets.

Harrison played Lou Gehrig to Ellis’ Wally Pipp and never looked back. With Ellis out due to a back injury, Harrison came in and flourished. Harrison, bookended by Wilkerson and Richardson, made for a commanding trio. With Douzable and Ellis coming off the bench and Coples putting his hand in the dirt, Rex Ryan and Karl Dunbar had a field day in the trenches.

 Keeping it In House: Douzable is the only free agent of the bunch. He played a pivotal role on defense and subbed in at every spot along the line. When he came in to the line up there was little-to-no drop off. He is certainly worth bringing back into the fold, however, some team might ante up and pay him “starting money.” This could effectively price him out of Green and White.

The Market: If the Jets entered the season with the same defensive line depth chart as last season, none would complain. That being said, Douzable is likely a goner and, even with him, the depth was questionable (the Jets could just field a front four). Now the Jets are likely not looking to spend big money on defensive linemen in free agency (sorry Lamar Houston fans) and, as such, we should focus on depth or rotational players.

One of the more intriguing options is Jared Allen. The Jets could still use some juice in their pass rush and, if he came at a reasonable price, Allen could be a solid fit. Picture a passing down with Richardson and Wilkerson (playing the interior) bookended by Coples and Allen. Scary stuff. Brett Kiesel could be a more direct fit to fill Douzable’s shoes. He, like Douzable, is more suited to be a 3-4 end. He seems to have a renewed energy when rushing the passer and is a passable run stuffer. Finally, Jay Ratliff may be an option because of his familiarity with a Ryan family scheme.

For more on the FA DL see:

Author: Cole Patterson

Cole has attended American University in Washington DC and is currently completing a double major in history and global communications at Ramapo College in Northern NJ. He has served as an NFL Analyst for a local DC radio show, Fanatic Radio. He lives and dies with the New York Jets. Cole will help lead Jets coverage and analysis.