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Offensive Tackle Gauntlet
Good morning 🌟
*You may notice that TJW is a little later today. I’m experimenting with a new release time which will give me more time to react to any news that happens overnight. Also, with a new baby on the way in the next month, I feel a later release time may be needed.*
We wait. We wait. After the Albert Breer report last week that a deal was expected sooner rather than later, I had hoped we'd have some trade compensation to debate today, but it wasn't to be.
I'm not nervous or anxious about the deal, but I'm at a point where I just want it done so we can move on. The Jets are still working to sign Ben Jones and there is a belief that getting Rodgers signed and sealed would accelerate that, along with some other deals like OBJ.
🌊 According to Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic, the Jets hosted USC defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu for a dinner meeting last week. Tuli is a very talented prospect and a productive one too. He registered 13.5 sacks and 22 TFL last season. He's athletic and strong, the slight issue is he's only 266lbs which isn't ideal for inside, and he doesn't have the ideal length to play outside. He'll likely go in the second round and with his motor and commitment, I wouldn't bet against him making an impact next season.
🧐 Calais Campbell revealed his reason for signing in Atlanta over New York saying: “The Jets made a strong offer as well,” Campbell said. “It really came down to where I felt like I could have the biggest impact both on and off the field.” - it's a massive shame as Campbell could have made a huge impact for the Jets and for NY/NJ with his philanthropy, but we move on.
🦅 Another defensive tackle confirmed reports he almost signed with the Jets. Eagles star Fletcher Cox said he almost signed in NY after a strong push from Joe Douglas, who spent time with the Eagles. He even got to the point of thinking about alternative numbers considering John Franklin Myers wears #91, but in the end he re-signed with Philadelphia after struggling to picture himself in another teams jersey.
🌳 Rich Cimini had a good note on Mecole Hardman and what attracted him to New York: “Hardman signed with the Jets, in part, because they promised he'd be able to expand his route tree in their offense. In Kansas City, he was used at the line of scrimmage (jet sweeps, bubble screens, etc.) and on vertical routes, with not much in between. The Jets believe he has untapped ability on intermediate routes.”
Last week we took a detailed look at 14 defensive tackle possibilities in the draft, and today we’re going to switch our focus to the offensive tackle position.
Right now the Jets have a lot of question marks at the position. Soon-to-be 38-year-old Duane Brown is returning for another year, and he played relatively well last year considering he was carrying a serious injury for most of the season.
Mekhi Becton is returning from two years on the sidelines, and while he looks great in his pre-season workout photos, the proof is in the pudding for someone who really hasn’t played since 2020.
Max Mitchell will be returning for his second season after his rookie year was cut short due to hereditary blood clots and then we have some depth pieces like Adam Pankey, Greg Senat, and Eric Smith who’s with the Jets for the third time now, having done a tour of NFL practice squads.
Needless to say, we need to strengthen the position as I don’t think we have a single tackle who I’d call “reliable”, although Duane Brown is pretty close, I just have a problem trusting a guy approaching 40.
So before we get into the meat and bones of this. Here is my breakdown of potential offensive tackles by draftable round. I took some heat last week on social for not including everyone, so just a reminder that I’ve designed this as a guide to show the kind of talent that’s available at each stage, it’s not exhaustive, we’d be here all day.
A lot of people found the defensive tackle one helpful, so I’m going to continue to produce these (with the help of buddy Andres who actually produces the visuals) right up to the draft.
Paris Johnson Jr (Ohio State) - Johnson gained experience playing inside and out at OSU, but his ability and measurables project him as a starting left tackle for a long time. Johnson is a long, strong and athletic tackle who allowed 2 sacks and 1 QB hit starting over two years. He’s not perfect because of a lack of reps, but he put some dominant reps on tape last year despite it being his first year playing tackle in college. A good NFL coach will take the measurables and teach the technique (hands) to make him one of the best tackles in football.
Darnell Wright (Tennessee) - I almost put Darnell Wright as the #1 tackle and preferred option for the Jets, but Johnson’s a better out and out athlete and suits the Jets running system a little more. However, Wright is an outstanding talent with power for days. I would say that he’s the best run-blocking tackle in the draft, but I’d also say that playing on the blindside he’s going to give up some pressure to the more explosive pass-rushers in the NFL. Someone is getting a good player though.
Pete Skoronski (Northwestern) - Small arms be dammned. Skoronski has similar measurables to AVT and for that reason some are projecting him to struggle. As Jets fans who saw AVT perform when pushed outside, we should be wise to that thinking. Technically Skoronski is the best offensive tackle in this draft and in my humble opinion, it’s not partcularly close. He matches his feet with his hands, he has good power and plenty of athleticism. If it wasn’t for the arm length I think he’d be comfortably considered a lock for the top-10.
Anton Harrison (Oklahoma) - I was considering dropping Harrison into the 2nd round, but in the end I think someone buys into his movement skills. Harrison has three years of starting experience at left tackle and he uses his hands like a seasoned pro. The issue with Harrison is that he doesn’t play with a ton of balance and if you spend enough time watching Oklahoma tape you’ll see him put on skates. If I were an edge rusher facing Harrison I woudn’t bother trying to get the corner, I’d just bull-rush all day. The positive is that strength and balance can be acquired, and for that reason I have him in the first…but I’m not that comfortable with it.
Broderick Jones (Georgia) - Jones is another guy who’s on the border between the first and second round, but like the Athleticism works for Harrison, the power works for Jones. He has the kind of raw power that NFL coaches love, he’s a people mover and he’s no slouch in terms of his feet either. There will likely be growing pains for Jones in terms of pass-protection, but he’ll come in and dominate on the ground straight away.
Dawand Jones (Ohio State) - Here’s a man who broke the combine record with his wing-span, his size is unmatched. He came in at 359lbs which will worry a few Jets fans considering what we’ve seen from Becton, but Jones carries the weight well and moves well for a man his size. He will nearly always make contact first because of his arm length and that gives a real advantage. Logic would suggest he is better in a gap heavy scheme, but he actually graded out significantly higher in zone. You won’t confuse his foot quickness with Paris Johnson, but he’s an impressive athlete.
Cody Mauch (North Dakota State) - Just like Pete Skoronski, people are questioning Mauch because of his arm length, he may well end up inside but I’m hopeful that a team will give him a chance at tackle. He looked good at the senior bowl but he’s definitely going to need considerably coaching at the next level, especially with his hand usage. Athletically he’s as fluid as any tackle in the draft and I do think he could switch to guard or center at the next level and excel if asked to do that.
Jaelyn Duncan (Maryland) - Duncan has a ton of experience at left tackle as a four year starter and he moves well off the snap and in space. Like a lot of guys who aren’t first round picks, hand usage is where he can improve the most, his placement isn’t very effective and they don’t work independently which is a problem at the NFL level. Saying that there is so much to work with, good size, good base, good anchor, good movement. Both Duncan and Bergeron make sense for the Jets in the third round.
Matthew Bergeron (Syracuse) - Bergeron plays with a good anchor and showcases some good athletic ability out in space. When he doesn’t reset the hands he gets in trouble and that’s evident by the 5 sacks he allowed in 2022, he’s also not overly physical and can get pushed around in the run-game. Bergeron is a well balanced athlete but he doesn’t play with a ton of power or authority and that worries me at the next level.
Blake Freeland (BYU) - Drafting someone from BYU? Run for the hills! Blake has allowed 1 sack in three years with the Cougars, one at right tackle and two at left tackle. He’s got the size and length that you want on the outside and how he explodes off the snap so quickly at 6’8 is anyones guess. He also knows how to use his hands and length to his advantage, which is a huge +. The issue with Freeland is he doesn’t play with a ton of balance and his lower half doesn’t match the upper half.
Tyler Steen (Alabama) - Steen is another T-Rex for the draft class, his arm length is very short and that causes issues in terms of engagement, and chances are he’ll need to move inside if he hopes to stick in the NFL. Steen has the power but not the balance and that translates much better inside, especially when you add the lack of length on top. He does have plenty of experience and he moves well which will get him drafted around here, but I think he’ll get drafted as a guard.
Braeden Daniels (Utah) - Doesn’t get spoken about half as much as he should. He’s a highly athletic tackle with the quickness to stay in front of defenders. He fires off the snap and plays with an urgency and aggression that you love as a fan and coach. He has some technical issues that he’ll need to iron out, his feet can get a little too happy and not setting negatively impacts his balance, but all his issues are correctable and he has the athleticism to play in the kind of zone system the Jets operate.
Curtis McClendon (Chattanooga) - One of my favourite prospects towards the back end of the draft. When you play at Chattanooga there are always going to be questions around the level of competition, but he allowed 0 sacks this year and that’s all you can do. He’s as powerful as they come and he loves the physical side of the game, he has experience inside and out and has ideal measurables with ++ arm length. He’s a ball of clay to mould, his hands are awful in pass protection, but that’s why you pay coaches.
Carter Warren (Pittsburgh) - A New Jersey native, Warren missed a good chunk of the 2022 season through injury. Before that he protected the blindside and his combination of size and strength will gain the interest of plenty of NFL coaches. He’s got good hands that work independently and that’s a huge + for any prospect, unfortunately he doesn’t play the leverage game well and can get stood up too easily.
Connor Galvin (Baylor) - Galvin’s draft stock is a all over the place, I’ve seen him as high as a third and as low as a UDFA. He has plenty of experience having started 50 games at Baylore and with the zone system (kind of) they run, he will be a popular name with teams like the Jets, especially because he pairs athleticism with experience. Galvin doesn’t have the length or strength to go higher than the 5th round for me, but I have him here in the sixth. If he goes in the third, I’m gonna look a bit silly.
Asim Richards (North Carolina) - It’s likely that Richards moves inside at the next level as he doesn’t have the body control to set the edge, but I liked his hand placement and he has power in the lower half. He also has a strong punch which rocked more than one ACC defender this season.
Trevor Reid (Louisville) - Reid is my dark horse in the proces at tackle and I had to get him on this graph. Reid is a highly athletic tackle with good length and perfect body control. He works well in space and is explosive off the snap. He understands angles and leverage and uses them to his advantage. He doesn’t possess a ton of upper body strength and there is a lack of experience there, but again, in the later rounds of the draft I’m taking highly athletic traits and then trusting the coaches to distill the technical aspect of the game.
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