Looking Ahead: Jets 2013 Defensive Line

Brian Bassett , TheJetsBlog.com

Quinton-Coples-New-York-Jets

Over the next few weeks, we’ll take a look at each position on the Jets roster and take a look ahead at what the Jets might expect and might need to address this coming offseason.  Now? The defensive line!

Coming Off The Books

DE Mike DeVito — DeVito has been a great utility player for the Jets, able to move around and assume different roles as necessary.  DeVito is a great rush defender, but has never been a fearsome pass rusher for the Jets.  Still, his contributions are important and Rex Ryan has really been able to use his skillset to good effect for the Jets during their four years together.  Still, Coples will only take more time on the line in 2013 and DeVito’s impact might not be as valuable to the Jets as it has been in past years.  Meanwhile, a coach who is very familiar with DeVito’s skillset is inheriting a unit in Buffalo was one of the absolute worst against the run in 2012.  Could someone like DeVito make an impact there?  Let’s just say that from what we hear, Mike Pettine has muddied the waters for at least one other Jets defender under contract.  Try to re-sign to a low-level deal.

On The Books

DE Mo Wilkerson — While JJ Watt was far and away the best 3-4 DE in the league,  according to PFF, Wilkerson was the second best player in the league in that regard and came close to Watt in his ability to stop the run.  Wilkerson might never get the attention Watt does, but the two are going to be great for a long time and the comparisons are valid, but what Wilkerson lacks is that playmaking knack that Watt seems to be so adept at … even so … not a bad player to be compared to.  Wilkerson is bearing out to be the inexhaustible juggernaut of this line.  While his play suffered some at the start of the season from not getting the help from an as-of-yet healthy Sione Pouha, Wilkerson shone more and more as the year went on.  Wilkerson’s work against the run and interior pass-rush will be a cornerstone for the defensive line for years to come.  Maintain current role, work in offseason to further refine pass-rush.

DE Quinton Coples – The physical tools that Coples brought to bear in 2012 were impressive, but he had his share of ups and downs as most rookie players do.  Coples got snared on penalty issues as well as against the run … but time and technique can easily increase both.  Of the pair of he and Wilkerson though, Coples looks to be the athletic freak who will flash more while Wilkerson plays the steady game over the longer haul.  Neither is bad and we think they will complement each other quite well.  Refine technique and increase role in 2013.

NT Sione Pouha – Pouha stepped in so well in replacement of Kris Jenkins that Jets fans might have been spoiled.  Pouha’s forte is playing the thnakless tw0-gapping run stopper in the middle of the defense.  He’s the heart and soul of the defense and has brought many of the younger players under his wing.  Pouha is everything the Jets need on the field and the locker room, but his bout with a back injury last year brought into focus how effective he can be at this point of his career.  Also, in a cash-strapped season can the Jets afford to pay a 33 year old nose tackle more than $6 million against a cap where the Jets are going to take some sever austerity measures in less than a month?  If Pouha is cut, he could be another target in Buffalo by a coach working to rebuild a bad defense.  Approach Pouha about restructuring his deal – if not …  

DT Damon Harrison – Big Snacks saw some time on the field and didn’t do anything to dissuade the team from seeing a potential backup and special teams role in future years.  Hang on and let compete for a spot in camp.

Need More Data

DE Claude Davis, 6-2 235, South Florida
DE Jacquies, 6-2 260, Missouri
Tevita Finau, 6-5 288, Utah

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