Is Ropati Pitoitua a Sleeper to Start at Defensive End?

I have discussed a number of potential scenarios about the defensive line. There is one I have neglected, though. It involves Ropati Pitoitua taking on an enhanced role. Ropati is a 6'7" 315 pound giant. His size is obviously more than adequate for NFL standards in the 3-4. The coaching staff seemed enthused last year in training camp about the way things were finally starting to click for him playing good technique consistently. It seemed like he was ready to take a role playing in the defensive line rotation.

A torn Achilles tendon in the preseason at Carolina ended those hopes. He could very well see more action on a young defensive line this season. The status of Shaun Ellis and Trevor Pryce is anything but certain. Muhammad Wilkerson and Kenrick Ellis are both going to be rookies. A golden opportunity will be there for Pitoitua to earn himself a bigger role.

It might be a bit too much to ask for a young guy coming off a serious who has never gotten a ton of playing time in the past to take a starting role on a Super Bowl contender. If the Jets let both Ellis and Pryce walk, though, it could be an indication they think Ropati is ready, kind of like how letting Marques Douglas go last year indicated the coaches were ready to put more trust in Mike Devito.

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