Year-to-Date Jets Defensive Roster Evaluations: Which Positions are Better or Worse?

May 27th, 2013
Dee Milliner

Dee Miller will have big shoes to fill as a rookie. (Photo: US Presswire)

By Ryan Alfieri, Editor

With a new regime in place, the Jets have undergone plenty of personnel changes over the last five months.

However, despite being the perceived strength of the team, the defensive side has undergone at least as much turnover as the offense, losing seven starters from last year’s eighth-ranked defense.

Let’s take a look to examine whether or not the Jets can field a better defense in 2013 amid the constant change.


Defensive End

Key Losses: Mike DeVito

Key Additions: Sheldon Richardson

Despite making him a priority in free agency, the Jets could simply not match the Chiefs offer, and the Jets are now without their top run stopper.

Now, the Jets are relying on sophomore Quinton Coples and rookie Sheldon Richardson to fill the void. There is a ton of potential in this unit combined with the dominant Muhammad Wilkerson, but run defense could be an issue. Quinton Coples struggled with his run technique, and Richardson is more of a pass-rushing specialist than a run-stuffer.

Worse or Better: WORSE


Defensive Tackle

Key Losses: Sione Pouha

Key Additions: Antonio Garay

As a 35-year-old with back problems, cutting Pouha was not a shocking move, even if he is just two years removed from a dominant 2011 season. The Jets are now counting on the oft-injured Kenrick Ellis to be the nose tackle, who did flash when he was healthy.

The Jets also seem to be high on Damon Harrison, a UDFA who made the team and was never pushed down to the practice squad last year.

This position could be better next year, but they will be reliant on a lot of young players to step up and stay healthy.

Worse or Better: WORSE


Inside Linebacker

Key Losses: Bart Scott

Key Additions: None

Bart was technically opening day starter, but the Jets have been preparing for his eventual departure when they drafted Demario Davis in the third round last year.

Davis is more of a finesse player and had an up-and-down rookie season in his starts, but he has tremendous leadership skills and athleticism and can make a big jump in year two.

Worse or Better: BETTER


Outside Linebacker

Key Losses: Bryan Thomas

Key Additions: Antwan Barnes

Once again, the jets are fielding a pair of old outside linebackers and failed to land a young prospect in the draft. However, they were at least able to land Antwan Barnes in free agency to help a bit in the pass-rush department.

This is still a position of need, but it couldn’t get much worse than last year.

Worse or Better: BETTER



Key Losses: Darrelle Revis

Key Additions: Dee Milliner

The loss of a player like Darrelle Revis is immeasureable, but the Jets were at least able to soften the blow with the selection of Dee Milliner 9th overall. However, cornerbacks tend to struggle in their first season, and Alabama prospects like Milliner (who is coming off shoulder surgery) tend to be worn down by the time they enter the leageu.

As big of a loss as Darrelle Revis was, they did field one of the best pass defenses in football in 2012, but they will be relying on Antonio Cromartie to have another stellar season.

Worse or Better: WORSE



Key Losses: LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell

Key Additions: Yeremiah Bell

The Jets will field an entirely new safety tandem in 2013, replacing LaRon with his brother Dawan Landry to play next to last year’s sixth-round pick Josh Bush…for now.

There will be plenty of competition for these two spots, with Antonio Allen in the mix as well. Don’t be surprised if the Jets continue to tinker with this position well into training camp.

Worse or Better: WORSE

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