TOJ’s Year In Preview: New York Jets IOL

Stephen Zantz previews the Jets’ interior offensive line ahead of the 2020 season opener.

As we head towards the start of the regular season, the TOJ team will be previewing every position group for the New York Jets. Our own Stephen Zantz takes a crack at the IOL group.

Corner and edge are the two biggest holes on the Jets right now. IOL comes in at a close third. The Jets IOL play has been abysmal dating back to 2019 and Joe Douglas has prioritized fixing this major issue.

Depth Chart: Alijah Vera-Tucker, Connor McGovern, Dan Feeney, & Greg Van Roten (Italics denotes starter)

Alijah Vera-Tucker: Considered the top IOL prospect in this past year’s draft. AVT missed a ton of time during camp with a pectoral injury and did appear in the preseason. Early reports is that when practicing, AVT has looked the part.

Connor McGovern: Returning starter from last year. Was extremely average at best in 2020. The hope is playing next to a player like AVT can help elevate his play the way it was in Denver.

Dan Feeney: The human version of a turnstable. Feeney has been atrocious in the preseason and camp. If he has to play, buckle the hell up.

Greg Van Roten: Returning starter from 2020 as well. Was probably the worst OL on the team last year but he has been solid in camp thus far. Similar to McGovern, playing next to Morgan Moses can help his play improve.

Veterans Available: David DeCastro & J.R. Sweezy

David DeCastro: A career threatening injury is why he is still unsigned. If healthy my god would this be an upgrade.

J.R. Sweezy: Longtime starter in both SEA and TB. His best days are behind him but he cannot be worse than Dan Feeney.

Upgrade/Downgrade: Upgrade

AVT is the only new IOL starter but he is replacing Alex Lewis who was pretty awful last year. Dan Feeney is a downgrade from a depth perspective but let’s hope he never has to play. I’m expecting bounce back years from both Connor and GVR because they have a legit offensive staff. My favorite hashtag #GASEFREEDOMWATCH is in full effect for these young men.

Best Case Scenario: AVT lives up to his potential

AVT has been considered the safest IOL prospect to come into the league since Quenton Nelson. He probably will not be as good as Nelson but if he develops into a top 5 G in the league we should be doing cartwheels. We are expecting big things from this man considering the Jets did move up in the draft to select him.

Worst Case Scenario: AVT gets hurt or struggles while GVR and Connor are the 2020 versions of themselves.

We’ve learned how important IOL play is to help develop a young QB. It’s also necessary to help give holes to RBs who aren’t 37 and don’t go to the outside. If AVT misses time, we are in deep trouble with Feeney stepping in. Feeney playing would also negatively impact McGovern which would be very hard to watch.

Prediction: AVT looks like a solid starter and justifies the trade up

Barring an injury, AVT is going to be 10 year starter for the Jets and sures up the left side of the line alongside Mekhi Becton. His emergence will help the Jets have a strong rushing attack which is what OC Mike LaFleur is looking to achieve. There may be bumps early on given the fact the OL hasn’t worked together much in camp. I do think by year’s end the Jets will feel great about their IOL going into 2022.