64 days until the NFL season kicks off. 67 days until the New York Jets kick their season off at home against MATTY SCHAUB and the Oakland Raiders. Today, we are going to begin our roster preview with a look at the defensive tackles: Damon Harrison, Leger Douzable and Kenrick Ellis. We will hit every player likely to make the roster in the coming two months, so stay with us and leave your player predictions in the comment section below on ON THE TWITTUHHH
Damon Harrison, #94 – 497 defensive snaps (45.2 percent) – 66 tackles, 1 sack
It isn’t a hyperbole to say Harrison was an absolute beast in the middle for the Jets last season. The former UDFA played at an All-Pro caliber level and was one of the main reasons the team had the top rushing defense in football. More importantly, he has arguably the best nickname on the roster, BIG SNACKS (who was clever enough to name a 350 pound mammoth this?). The Jets run a heavy amount of nickel, which leads to Harrison’s relatively low usage rate. He is likely heading toward a nice sized contract from the Jets after this season. Some people still question if Kenrick Ellis can push back for the job Harrison took from him but the former UDFA has been durable and if improves this year anywhere near the amount he did from year 1 to year 2…that isn’t going to come close to happening.
Leger Douzable, #78 – 236 defensive snaps (21.5 percent) – 20 tackles, 1.5 sacks
A quiet May addition before last season, Douzable worked his way into being a strong part of the Jets defensive line rotation and earned a new one year contract this offseason. Down the stretch he ended up regularly getting more playing time than Ellis, finishing the season with 28 more snaps than him. Douzable is a versatile player upfront who Rex Ryan loved to move around and who has nice pass rushing ability for a man of his size, while being able to hold up well against the run. When Douzable is your 4th or 5th defensive lineman in a 3-4, you are in very good shape.
Kenrick Ellis, #93 – 208 defensive snaps (19 percent) – 16 tackles
A 2011 3rd round pick, Ellis has battled a handful of injuries throughout his short career but flashed plenty of POTENTIAL when on the field. A bull against the run, Ellis moves tremendously well for a 6’4, 346 pound human being. Last season our Mike O’Connor wrote an article that floated the idea of trading Ellis and ever since TOJ has been hit with unusually high amounts of ELLIS OUTRAGE (you would have thought he demanded trading Muhammad Wilkerson). Personally, I didn’t find the article so crazy. Should the Jets be actively seeking to trade Ellis? No. He provides excellent depth for Harrison. If the right deal comes along from a team desperate for defensive line help, do the Jets take that call and give it some real thought? Probably. They brought Douzable back quickly this offseason and considering how the playing time was trending at the end of last season, Ellis is really the team’s fifth defensive lineman in the rotation as of now. I think Ellis is on the team throughout 2014 but that it ends up being his last in New York.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE SCALDING HOT 2014 TAKE - Harrison has another strong year leading the Jets rush defense and earns a new contract from them next offseason. Douzable plays 40-60 more reps than Ellis and finishes with 2-4 sacks. Ellis is solid off the bench but leaves in free agency next offseason. I think too many Jets fans sleep on Douzable’s value and still have too high of hopes for Ellis.