By Marc Sluis, Staff Writer
The defense has one clear problem: getting pressure on the quarterback, something Rex once excelled at. There couldn’t be a better draft to upgrade that need as there are is a plentiful crop of aspiring sack artists, especially ones that fit the ever evolving role of rush end or rush OLBs. I previously ranked the top three options based on talent and value (#1 Jarvis Jones, #2 Sam Montgomery, #3 Barkevious Mingo) and I’ll continue on down the line.
4. Dion Jordan OREGON 6’7 241
Jordan is relatively thin, but his extraordinary athleticism (once a top TE recruit) seems to translate beautifully to a potentially explosive edge rusher the Jets currently lack. If he proves he can handle the increase in physicality that comes with the Pro game, he could really find a nice niche role in the NFL.
5. Margus Hunt SMU 6’8 280
The hulkish Estonian has yet to create much of an impact as a defensive end, but his 6’8 280lb and massively muscular frame makes scouts drool nonetheless. Whether or not he becomes an impact pass rusher is unknown, but at the very least he projects as an intriguing defensive prospect who could play 4-3 DE or even 3-4 DE when they want to cranck up the pass rush. His strength, build and long arms should be ideal for controlling blockers and then disengaging to make tackles which are the main task of a 3-4 end, yet he isn’t the typical 300 pounder teams look for. If he fails to produce on the field you know he’ll impress at the combine, but could still slip past the first two rounds and start to become a high risk high reward physical stud and a good bang for the buck. Oh and by the way he’s blocked an astounding 17 kicks as a Mustang.
6. Jonathan Jenkins GEORGIA 6’3 358
The 6’3 358 pounder is a better prospect than Hunt, but could very well take a top 15 pick to grab. That said he would make the Jets defensive line that much better fitting in nicely as a gap controlling NT and allowing Mo Wilkerson, Quinton Coples and Mike DeVito to concentrate on increasing the average pass rush. It would also give them the flexibility to concoct exotic packages and take advantage of more four down lineman sets. They could even throw a Jenkins/Ellis or Jenkins/Pouha combination up the middle, packing almost 700 pounds of humanity inside.
7. Jackson Jeffcoat TEXAS 6’5 250
Jeffcoat has prototypical 3-4 OLB/ 4-3 DE qualities of length and athleticism but a season ending injury cut his season short. If he declares he could be available outside of the top 40, which could be a great value for a team looking for developmental edge rushers to groom into stardom.