Buzz: LB Jamaal Westerman Turning Heads?

Look out for former Rutgers star DE/LB Jamaal Westerman, might be one of the summer surprises for the Jets. Westerman faced some tough challenges that set him back at the end of his senior season, a torn bicep slowed forced him to miss his bowl game and scouting circuit. Westerman was a player that the Bears and Texans were very interested as well, but the Jets won out, due to their detmination and Westerman’s affinity for Rex Ryan, according to Hutch.

“I thought this would be the best place,” Westerman said in between practices Saturday on the second day of the Jets’ three-day rookie minicamp in Florham Park. “I like what coach Ryan is doing. I like the defense.”

It appears to be a match made in football heaven. After playing with his hand on the turf at Rutgers, Westerman is now a stand-up linebacker in the Jets’ 3-4 scheme and looks like a natural.

“He definitely has a chance,” Ryan said. “He’s a guy that we really went after.”

In fact, in his first four practices at his new position, Westerman has been more impressive and instinctive than 2008 first-round pick Vernon Gholston, who made a similar switch last season. The 6-3, 260-pounder looks at ease dropping back in pass coverage and, of course, he can get after the quarterback.

“A lot of times when you have a defensive lineman transition to a linebacker spot, it’s difficult and the biggest part of it a lot of times is the mental part,” Ryan said. “You start talking coverages and that’s totally foreign to a lot of those guys. But with (Westerman), he has picked it up better than any of the other linebackers.

“I’m like, ‘Hey, this guy is pretty sharp.’ And obviously, he has some physical traits we really like. He loves to play, a passionate guy, was well-coached, a physical player. I think when the pads come on he’s actually going to raise his level.”

Although the starting lineup for linebackers is seems set, Westerman will have to compete for spots with the likes of Kenwin Cummings, Marques Murrell and Jason Trusnik for a special teams / backup linebacking spot. Ryan does seem to like what he’s doing so far, so see how he does as the offseason continues.

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