We will be providing position-by-position breakdowns leading up to Jets training camp this Thursday. For now, we focus on the defensive line.
Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comOn the roster: DL Damon Harrison, DT Sheldon Richardson, DL Muhammad Wilkerson, DT Leger Douzable, DT Kenrick Ellis, DE IK Enemkpali, DE Tim Fugger, DE Anthony Grady, DE Kerry Hyder, DT TJ Barnes, DT Tevita Finau (editor’s note: for sake of ease we are using the Jets own roster to delineate LBs and DLs)
2013 notes: The Jets moved from their defensive line simply being a group on the rise in 2012, to the Sons of Anarchy during the 2013 season. The groups ability to stop the run much of the season was uncanny. Wilkerson was his usual excellent self, Damon Harrison was dominant on the interior and rookie Sheldon Richardson played the run like a man shot out of a cannon and only looks to get better. The group stopped runners better than any defensive line (not including linebackers) has for the Jets since Ryan took over stuffing 26% of running plays.
The defensive line was a force to be reckoned with, but also did need to get to the passer more quickly. The group only sacked the quarterback on 6.2% of plays; only good enough for 24th in the league.
Overall outlook: With the same personnel back in 2014, there’s no reason to see why the young group can’t build on their 2013 successes. While the team was able to provide pressure on quarterbacks, it didn’t necessarily translate to sacks for the front group. Rex Ryan likes his linemen taking down the quarterback, he doesn’t value it over getting his defense off the field. Even so, Richardson’s strength as a rookie was against the run, but look for his growth as a pass rusher and expect his development with the rest of the group to come together quickly when it comes to pressuring the quarterback.
Camp competition: The Jets first team is set so look for Kenrick Ellis and Leger Douzable to make their claims to the first backup spots. Beyond that group, the Jets will likely seek to secure a roster spot for rookie draft pick IK Enemkpali if possible, but he and and the rest of the group will be fighting for the final two spots.