Right Tackle Should Remain Area of Focus Regardless of Vladimir Ducasse's Development

HOUSTON - AUGUST 15: Quarterback Greg McElroy #14 of the New York Jets looks for a receiver as offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse #62 blocks outside linebacker Jesse Nading #72 of the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on August 15, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

There is one school of thought that the Jets do not need to find a right tackle. The thinking is Vladimir Ducasse will improve with an offseason of work with Tony Sparano and will turn into an excellent tackle. There is some evidence this might be Mike Tannenbaum's thinking. I am highly skeptical of this theory. It is certainly possible, though, that Ducasse was hurt by not being able to work on his game a year ago with his coaches since he entered the league extremely raw. Even if this line of thought pans out, though, I think the Jets really need to look at bolstering the right tackle position.

Think about offensive line depth right now. The Jets have none. The only addition the Jets have made is Kris O'Dowd, an interior lineman who has never played a real snap in the NFL. Nick Mangold's injury last year showed how ugly things can get when the team needs to rely on subpar players for depth. When somebody goes down, backups become starters. The offensive line is too important to lack quality backups.

Imagine Ducasse suddenly getting better. Over the course of one offseason, he becomes a quality starter. If the Jets already have a good right tackle in place, Vlad can give the Jets peace of mind. If a tackle or a guard goes down, he can slide in and prevent the team from missing a beat. If Nick Mangold gets hurt, Ducasse goes to guard, and Matt Slauson sides to center.

Given the way Ducasse has looked early in his career, it probably would be best to not depend on him in 2012. If he improves, it can be a big bonus.

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