New York Jets Draft LB Darron Lee In First Round

Joe Caporoso with initial reaction to the New York Jets first round selection of Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee

The New York Jets continued their run on defensive players in the first round by selecting Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee with the 20th overall pick. Our initial scouting report on Lee is right here. This was a fairly common mocked pick to the Jets considering Lee’s skill set and how it would in Todd Bowles’ defense. We know the Jets wanted speed and versatility, particularly at linebacker. Lee addresses that while providing strong value at the 20th overall spot.

Lee is 6 foot 1, 232 pounds and clocked a 4.47 forty yard dash. At Ohio State he racked up 146 tackles, 11 sacks, 3 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles over the past two years. Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan repeatedly referred to Lee as an inside linebacker in their post pick press conference but he will be a movable chess piece in their defense, who is capable of lining up in multiple spots on all three downs. We have seen Bowles utilize Deone Bucannon in a somewhat similar fashion before in Arizona so he is familiar with how to take advantage of an undersized linebacker with speed.

Considering the amount of spread offenses the Jets (and every NFL team) faces, it is necessary to have linebackers who can go sideline to sideline. Lee still needs to refine his coverage skills and how he finishes tackles but he will be protected by a great defensive line and have two veterans to learn from in David Harris and Erin Henderson. You will see Lee in a variety of positions for the Jets depending on the down and distance. Do not get wrapped up on his depth chart placement, he will see time at inside linebacker, outside linebacker, slot and maybe even safety.

The Jets badly needed speed and to begin the process of remaking their back seven for the long haul. Lee should be a critical component of that. They went with Lee over Myles Jack and Paxton Lynch which will likely remain a comparison point going forward but Lee has a skill set that is a logical fit in this defense and he should reach his potential here.

Photo Credit: BaltimoreSun.com

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the EVP of Content at Whistle Sports