There's no question the Jets need to address their offensive line in this year's NFL draft. Considering the organization chose not to sign any starters in free agency, perhaps New York will take multiple linemen within the first several rounds.
That in mind, why not consult an expert?
Paul Alexander has been an offensive line coach in the NFL and at the college level for close to four decades, making stops with the Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys along the way.
Asked about the importance of adding to the offensive line in this week's draft, Alexander said the Jets have some serious work to do up front.
"I think the key is 'three'. Three means that you need three of the five to be 'above the line starters,' Alexander told Jets Country via email this week. "Above the line means at least average NFL starters at their position. In my opinion, Becton is the only player who will become and above the line starter. Not Lewis, Van Roten, McGovern or Fant. So I think the Jets need two more quality offensive linemen."
With BYU quarterback Zach Wilson likely starting his career in green and white, the former offensive line coach emphasized the importance of protecting their rookie quarterback. Beyond giving him time to work in the pocket, he's going to be an investment that they'll want to keep healthy for the long haul.
"Many say that you need to get a QB 'weapons.' I say the best weapon is self defense," he explained. "It’s tragic what has happened historically to David Carr, Andrew Luck, Joe Burrow. I see the same possibly for the New York Jets."
Barring a trade up in the first round with their second first-rounder, New York won't be able to choose from the top options at the position. Penei Sewell, Rashawn Slater and perhaps even Alijah Vera-Tucker will be off the board by the time the Jets are on the clock at No. 23.
That said, Alexander delivered four options for New York to take a look at late in the first or Day 2 of the draft:
Wyatt Davis, Ohio State
Wyatt Davis is a physical specimen. Of course he has the great genes from his HOF grandfather. But he’s a very athletic guy with strength, agility and explosion. He has the talent to be a top tier OG in the NFL.
Drake Jackson, Kentucky
I’ve worked quite a bit with Drake and what he lacks in size he makes up for in leverage and technique. He’s a very bright guy with an NFL maturity who I’m certain will make it.
Quinn Meinerz, Wisconsin-Whitewater
I worked with him last week and was a bit skeptical going into the workout because of the small school stuff. But he has strong hands and real quickness. I like him. I left the workouts feeling he will be a starting NFL center.
Sam Cosmi, Texas
"Sam Cosmi is the guy in the group who always is working harder than the other guys. He’s blue collar, hard working who knocked it out at his pro day with his speed, agility and strength numbers. He a safe bet since he has the physical and competitive traits to play in the NFL."
Alexander was last in the NFL as an offensive line coach with the Cowboys. Since then, he has been active on the speaking and clinic circuit, even offering coaching courses at CoachTube.com. The series of instructional lessons and classes at CoachTube, an online resource for coaching videos, offers everything from technique-driven lectures to pass protection and evaluating offensive linemen.
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