Jets’ General Manager Joe Douglas has done so much to improve things this offseason, while all but neglecting the offensive tackle position.
This one oversight could cost himself, his team and the quarterback he drafted everything.
The best rushers come off the edges, and if you look at the current team’s depth chart, this is where Douglas has left New York most vulnerable.
Douglas has doubled down on left tackle George Fant (who is coming off a knee injury) and right tackle Mekhi Becton (who many are questioning if he is a bust) to keep QB Zach Wilson upright.
Those are the two starting tackles at two of the most important positions on the team. Outside of possibly fourth-round rookie right tackle Max Mitchell, no QB would want any of the rest of the reserves starting.
Granted, Fant only allowed 18 pressures in 15 games (which ranked third in the league), his contract has one-year left and New York has not extended him yet.
This makes one wonder how much the team believes in Fant, who is holding down the most important position on the offensive line?
It also makes one wonder what Douglas’ evaluation of Fant is and how concerned the team is about Fant’s knee, which required surgery this offseason?
Other than that, it makes no sense to hold off on an extension for 29-year-old Fant. The only thing that will happen between now and the next contract Fant signs is the price tag is only going to go up.
That is how it works with left tackles, who play the premium position on the offensive line.
On the other side of the line is Becton, who is a couple seasons removed from being a first-round selection by Douglas. Becton began his Jets’ career on the left side, but after battling weight issues and injuries, New York now has him “penciled in” to start on the right side.
Becton only played 48 snaps for the Jets last season and missed much of the year with a knee injury that required surgery, and there were reported rehab issues surrounding his weight.
According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, Becton ballooned up to 400 pounds at one point. He was reportedly “working his way back into shape.”
Those are your two starting offensive tackles for the 2022 New York Jets.
That is like building a house that is supported by two cracked pillars wrapped in duct tape.
Hopefully they hold up…
New York did draft Mitchell as mentioned, and while nobody has seen him play yet, the league tends not to let great pass protectors slide into the fourth-round.
The rest of the offensive tackles on New York’s roster are mostly a collection of cast-offs and low-round draft picks with a combined 18 career starts.
• Chuma Edoga (2019 third-round New York, 12 career starts)
• Connor McDermott (2017 sixth-round New England, New York is his third team, 6 career starts)
• Greg Senat (2018 sixth-round Baltimore, New York is his sixth team, 0 career starts)
• Parker Ferguson (2021 undrafted free agent New York, 0 career starts)
• Grant Hermanns (2021 undrafted free agent New York, 0 career starts)
To Douglas’ defense, this is not fantasy football and it was not possible to fix everything in the first-round of this past draft.
However, it was possible to do better in free agency than breaking the bank for a run-blocking guard, Laken Tomlinson.
It amazes me that Douglas could address several ways to help Wilson, but then leave him so incredibly vulnerable at the same time?
Instead, Douglas dealt one of his second-round picks (No.35) and other selections, to move back into the first-round to take defensive end Jermaine Johnson (who is a better run defender than a pass rusher).
Douglas could have instead not made that trade and landed offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere (who the Titans took with the Jets pick in the third-round No. 69). Then Douglas could have traded back into the third-round and selected Bernhard Raimann (No. 77) and been set at the position had he landed both. Petit-Frere and Raimann could have been quality starters for New York at left and right tackle respectively.
Instead, Douglas selected tight end Jeremy Ruckert late in the third-round after signing two tight-ends earlier in free agency.
Wilson, who missed time with a knee injury last year and was the third-most sacked QB in the league is probably sleeping with one eye open.
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