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Why the Jets Shouldn't Sign OT Duane Brown

This former Jets scout does not think that New York should sign Duane Brown after watching his game film.

The game film doesn’t lie.

It’s important to make this real clear.

Yes, five-time Pro-Bowler Duane Brown has been in town visiting with the Jets, but he is no longer a high-level talent on game film.

This is further substantiated by the fact that NFL training camps have begun, and Brown is still unsigned.

What sense does that make?

There is a logical answer to that question.

Brown, who is coming up on his 37th birthday at the end of this month, looks very average on game film.

His production in 2021 published by the Washington Post provides further evidence.

Brown gave up seven sacks last year.

That is a radical departure from the four seasons prior, where Brown gave up seven sacks combined from 2017-2020.

Pro Football Focus additionally credited Brown with giving up 33 pressures in 2021.

In the world of pro scouting, some NFL players decline slowly in the twilight of their careers, while the performance of others drops off a cliff.

Brown appears to fit the description of the latter.

Left tackle is a premium position, and teams around the league are not in the business of sleeping on talent.

If someone as high profile as Brown looked great on game film, teams would’ve been lining up to sign him.

If Jets’ General Manager Joe Douglas signs Brown, it will likely have more to do with familiarity.

Brown spent time playing in Seattle with current Jets’ starting OT George Fant.

Brown additionally began his career in Houston, where Jets’ Head Coach Robert Saleh spent time on the defensive coaching staff.

The caveat on Brown is his off-field legal issue surrounding a TMZ report last month. Brown was arrested on a weapon’s charge after attempting to take an unloaded gun through security at Los Angeles International Airport.

Brown was scheduled to appear in court on August 3, but the results have yet to be made public.

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Signing a player like Brown would be another league-minimum stop-gap move in attempt to bolster the offensive line depth.

While that may still make sense to a team that’s set at OT, it’s a move that doesn’t make sense for the Jets.

Both starters at OT (George Fant and Mekhi Becton) had offseason knee surgery.

Fant has been slowly attempting to make his way back into training camp action according to reports, and Becton was spotted wearing a knee brace by multiple sources observing practice.

Rookie reserve OT Max Mitchell was seen limping off the practice field on August 1 as well.

Last season, quarterback Zach Wilson had a knee injury of his own, plus he was sacked 44 times (third-most in the NFL).

Throw in Becton being a wildcard who has only played in 15 of 33 career games…

For the life of me, I have not understood Douglas’ nonchalant approach to this, especially considering the Jets’ schedule is littered with elite pass rushers.

As a former Jets’ scout, I believe the situation at OT is far more dire than anybody is talking about.

I believe it is the number one area on the roster that is most vulnerable.

Grading Duane Brown

6-foot-4, 320 pounds

2021 Seattle game film reviewed: (9/12) IND, (11/14) GB and (12/26) CHI

Grade: C - (average; nothing special about the player)

Scouting Report

Big frame with natural strength, average lateral foot speed and marginal anchor. In pass pro has good initial ability to slide out and shield the perimeter of the pocket. Vulnerable to speed through the back door, power inside and bull rushes. In all three games, pass rushers put him on skates and drove him into the quarterback. To his credit, battles like a street fighter and gives top shelf effort. This helps him to compensate sometimes, but not always. Inconsistent picking up blitzes off his edge. On running plays, he is a positional, hold the point blocker, who does just enough to get by. Sometimes that’s enough and again, sometimes it’s not. Does his best to pull and get to the second-level but it’s hit and miss. Marginal back-up type or emergency short-list player at this point. There was more neutral and negative in my notes than positive.

Bottom Line

The Jets need to acquire an OT who has the ability to step in if needed and play at a high level.

That’s not Brown.

At this stage, the one possibility of the Jets finding such a player only exists through a trade involving high-round draft capital.

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