When the Jets drafted Defensive Tackle Sheldon Richardson with the 13th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, many people were scratching their heads. This was the 3rd straight year Rex Ryan got a defensive lineman in the first round and I just knew he had to have something up his sleeve when they made this move. Two years ago it was Muhammad Wilkerson, who now appears to be the leader of this defense moving forward, and last year was Quinton Coples. Coples was now moved to pass rushing outside linebacker which now makes the Richardson pick make a lot more sense and can make the Coples pick even that much better. So Jets fans, on this one, I think you guys should trust Rex Ryan and new Jets General Manager John Idzik.
Coples has proved he can get to the quarterback. He led the Jets with 5.5 sacks last year and he was not even getting starters snaps. Now he is expected to get a lot more snaps and chances to get to the quarterback with his new position. Getting to the quarterback is something the Jets have really lacked the past few seasons. So this move to me, doesn’t only make the Coples pick better (which I was not a big fan of when it happened but now I am), it makes the Richardson pick better. With that young core, the Jets could potentially have one of the best young defensive lines in the league next year.
To fit the position, Coples will have to drop some pounds. Coples was at 290 pound last year and he is already down to 285. I would like to see him lose a little more than that so he will be able to drop back in coverage as well as chase down players with the ball. I also believe the transition will be a smooth one. Coples had some experience playing outside linebacker when working out for NFL teams before the draft.
This is a move that I am very excited about, especially since before the draft many scouts said the Jets biggest need was a pass rusher. Now they have one. I expect Rex Ryan to come up with many different packages for these young guys and I think in 2 or 3 years they can be one of the most dominating defensive lines in football.
Even though the Jets had 2 straight poor seasons, their defense still put up numbers and ranked high. I believe they can still be a top 10 defense this year. Now If only they can get that whole offensive part of the team working, they may have a respectable record.
My next blog will be my thoughts on the Jets current 6 (I mean 5, sorry Tebow) man quarterback carousel. Let’s just say that will be a fun one to write..