TOJ Jets Roster Preview – Old Man, DD, No Neck, Special Teams ACE

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Yesterday we broke down the defensive tackles, today we are going to look at the inside linebackers on the New York Jets. Do you think we are overrating or underrating somebody? Let us know in the comment section below or over on Twitter

David Harris, #52 – 1,098 defensive snaps (99.8 percent) – 124 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 FF

The greybeard of the Jets defense, Harris bounced back from a fairly rough 2012 to have a steady, consistent season in 2013. It is no small task to play 99% of the reps, particularly in Rex Ryan’s defense, which is constantly moving players all over the place and making mass substitutions. Harris is rock solid against the run, has a nose for the screen game and knows Rex’s defense inside and out by this point. He lacks speed and quickness, which makes him a frequent liability in the passing game and can hurt him getting to the edge against speedier backs. Harris is entering the final year of his contract and it isn’t out of the question that this could be his last season in New York. If he is brought back, you’d have to think it would be for a low-cost, short term deal. There is less and less of a place in the NFL for linebackers built like Harris.

Regardless, any time there is anywhere near a reason to post this highlight, I will…

Demario Davis, #56 – 1,046 defensive snaps (95 percent) – 107 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT

The third year player is already a fiery leader of the Jets increasingly younger defense, which endears him to fans. Davis has an impressive physical skill set and moves very well for a linebacker. However, he still struggles in the passing game and is caught of place too frequently. Davis was strong against the run in 2013 but in reality is still an average at best starter. Is this the season he makes the leap? The talent is there but we still haven’t seen Davis put it all together on a consistent basis yet.

Nick Bellore, #54 – 2 defensive snaps – 17 tackles

A core special teams player who doesn’t have a role in the Jets defense. You can make an argument that Jeremiah George being taken in the 5th round threatens his roster spot but there is likely room for both of them. Bellore is used all over the place on specials and has a good amount of experience which will be valuable to new Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey.

Jeremiah George, #53 – Rookie, No Neck.

I mean, look at this guy! He is built to barrel down the field on kickoff and blow up wedges. George was probably a reach in the 5th round but has a skill set that should translate well to special teams immediately, while he learns behind Harris and David. I have limited expectations for George on defense but maybe he could fight his way into a few short yardage personnel groups.

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Troy Davis, #58 – 16 defensive snaps – 5 tackles

Saw a little defensive action last season and played some special teams. Davis will have an uphill battle to make the roster after the addition of George through the draft.

INSIDE LINEBACKER SCALDING HOT 2014 TAKE - Harris will take a small step back from 2013 but re-sign with the team in the offseason on a 1-2 year, low cost contract. Davis will remain a relatively average starter, only making slight improvements from 2013 and be back as a starter in 2014. George will make the roster and be a quality special teams contributor alongside Bellore but neither will contribute much, if anything to the defense.

  • KAsh

    George seems much better built for passing situations than short-yardage ones. Then again, he did notch way over 100 tackles in his last college season. If you ignore his height and weight, he has the potential to contribute in both aspects of the game.

  • JetOrange

    There is not a whole lot of depth at the ILB position. The good news is that Rex can use a lot of packages subbing a safety or a CB. There is a possibility that Reilly or Edds could be added to the mix on a limited basis. The success of Pace gives me a little optimism signing Harris and keeping a veteran linebacking group. Davis needs to step it up this year, consider, George & Davis as a lighter faster ILB combo, adapting to the changes in the game, and improving overall pass defense in 2015.

  • Dan in RI

    George may be the dark horse in this race. He doesn’t have great size, but he’s built like a tank, and he’s fast. He may surprise a lot of people with his ability to make plays.

  • Mark

    Forget pass coverage from any of the Jets LB’s, inside or out. The pressure is on the safeties to improve greatly, and I think they will.

  • John Hunter

    Hopefully Barnes can remain healthy. His threat on the edge would be a game changer for this unit.

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