Throughout my New York Jets fandom, the offseason has been my Super Bowl. Hypothesizing about how Mike Tannenbaum, John Idzik or Mike Maccagnan will turn this team around is always a fun game. In the Rex Ryan era we were always an edge rusher and second corner away (LITO SHEPHERD YOU COST US THE GAME AGAINST THE COLTS!) from taking the next step as a defense.
I’d watch the Senior Bowl religiously as well as the combine seeing which edge rusher could help us because our interior line *elite*.
It was hours upon hours spent looking at how Brooks Reed three cone drill was historically good, Justin Houston’s off the field issues weren’t that serious, how Melvin Ingram’s height would not be an issue because he was so explosive, how Vic Beasley would prove to be a three down lineman despite his frame and Noah Spence was worth taking a shot on despite limited competition. In the end, the Jets would choose a 3-4 defensive end (three times) or an ILB over these players and here we are 10 years later still without an explosive edge rusher.
This year I have accepted the Jets most likely WON’T get an edge rusher with their first pick. I’m a fan of Bradley Chubb but I can’t see the Colts or Browns at #4 passing on him (this is if the Jets get Kirk, obviously if they don’t, they are taking a QB at #6). I also don’t expect the Jets to sign a big name free agent pass rusher. DeMarcus Lawrence will certainly be franchise tagged and Ziggy Ansah is not a 3-4 OLB, is frequently injured and he will command a huge contract despite having very limited production the past few years.
Here are three pass rushers that hopefully the Jets will use one of their two second round picks on.
- Arden Key— Going into this season, Key was being discussed as a top 10 pick. He certainly had the production last season with 11 sacks. However this year he was limited to 8 games and only had 4 sacks. Despite that he is a very productive pass rusher while in the game and would give the Jets a presence off the edge that they’re lacking from Jordan Jenkins, Josh Martin and whatever CFL or small school older prospect they play. Despite off the field issues, Key is an LSU alum and I’m confident that Jamal Adams can help keep his former teammate on the straight and narrow.
- Ogbonnia Okoronkwo— If Jets don’t get Baker Mayfield they might benefit from adding this Sooner. Maccagnan has proven to be a fan of players from big schools and Oklahoma is one of the most successful teams from this past season. While shorter at 6’1 Okoronkwo has figured out how to use his size to gain leverage and would help add a spark to our defense.
- Uchenna Nwosu— Nwosu a late bloomer who didn’t start until his Junior year, is very athletic. He put on a show in the Senior Bowl and while he proved he can pass rush (he had 9.5 sacks this past season) he actually showed off his coverage skills as well. With tugboats manning our OLB’s like Jenkins and Mauldin (if he’s still on the team) having a pass rusher that can also cover will really help Todd Bowles open up his playbook.
Photo Credit: LSU.com