Last Call to Improve Offensive Line

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Fans of the New York Jets react during the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Tonight is a very important night when it comes to constructing the 2012 New York Jets. It is one of the final opportunities to upgrade the roster in a meaningful way before the season starts. There might be a small ticket veteran signing in the weeks to come like Braylon Edwards. There might be a late addition of a training camp casualty like Pete Kendall in 2004. This is one of the last significant chances to add meaningful players, though.

Most players selected in rounds 4 through 7 on Saturday are project players. A few who are ready to make an immediate impact might have flown under the radar, but most players who will play a big role as a rookie go in the first three rounds.

The Jets entered the Draft in a position where they were never going to be able to fill all of their holes. Too many existed, and the team had too few early picks. Tonight we will find out which holes they choose to fill. Much of it will be based on how the teams in front of them select players.

One area I think deserves special attention is right tackle. If the Jets go into next season with only Wayne Hunter and Vladimir Ducasse for that position, it might be difficult for the team to have a successful season. Hunter is probably not going to get any better. He is a 31 year old journeyman who was one of the worst tackles in the league in his one year as a starter. Ducasse is still young and could get better with an offseason for coaches to work on his technique and understanding, but it is a bad idea to go into training camp depending on somebody you simple hope has improved from a subpar player into a capable starter.

If the Jets want to be a team based on the run game, they need to upgrade at right tackle. It is difficult to be a successful power run team with a weak link on the offensive line. The idea for the Jets is going to be to run the ball at will, even with eight men in the box to set up play action and create favorable one on one matchups. Beyond this, Mark Sanchez will probably be out of the lineup injured if he gets the same kind of protection he got last year.

I don't think you can ever set out to pick a player at a certain position no matter what. That is where you end up reaching and making a mistake. With four highly rated linemen on the board at the start of the second round in Jonathan Martin, Cordy Glenn, Mike Adams, and Bobbie Massie, the value will likely be there at 47. Unless there is a player at another position who blows these guys away in terms of potential impact, I think the Jets need to look long and hard at the tackle position in the second round.

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