There are only a few guarantees in this life: yes of course death and taxes, but also that Nick Mangold and D-brickashaw Ferguson will be the Pillars of the Jets Oline now and in the future. While it is saddening that their careers are turning to post-prime rather quickly, they are still both upper echelon players and still two great goddamn new york Jets. They came in together and will probably retire together, they will go on trips together, move next door to one another, and their sons will probably be best friends. They will probably be buried next to one another, their wives are probably best friends. They probably go on double dates all the time and even have swingers parties together. Brick and mangold are close, put it that way.
The only small minor issue is the other 3 spots on the O-line, which havent been solidified since the incredible O line of Brick Faneca mangold Moore and Woody during our AFC runs. Matt Slauson looked okay but not great, then we let him walk to the bears and now hes looking like Gene Freakin Upshaw (minus the weird neck roll, add the breathing). Wayne Hunter was supposed to be the future...that was funny. Jason Smith was supposed to be at least decent...nah. Austin Howard was a nice little surpise...not worth $30mil though. Even Robert Turner, our utility lineman turned into a damn good starter after we let him walk. We've had a pretty iffy O-line situation as of lately, that does not seem to transitioning to great in the immediate future.
Giacomini will start at RT...he will be okay, decent run blocker I think. I think Aboushi will serve as the primary backup LT and RT, though i've heard they like him at guard...if so they Ijalana is the swing tackle? I'm okay with that, he was a passable starter in Indy. We brought in some UDFA rookies, but none that were highly regarded. I was hoping for that kid from Boston College Patchan (more polished, reached his ceiling) or Antonio Tiny Richardson / Seantrel Henderson (boom-bust type athletic freaks who could be pro-bowlers) to come in and possibly make the team. There are also veteran FA's who could provide stability depth rather than a question mark at tackle like aboushi or the kid Qvale theyre bringing in UDFA from Nebraska (seems most likely prospect to make it over the small school scrubs they got). Older guys who were once decent starters but would now take the vet minimum would be a nice option as a swing tackle or incase of injuries. Eric Winston was once one of the best RT in the league, granted hes lost a step but he could provide great depth and even push the IMO overrated giacomini for a starter role. Levi Brown and JMarcus Webb would also be improvements over our current tackle depth. It seems like our draft picks on the OL lately have all been projects with some good potential but low floors. It would be reassuring to draft or sign a smart line player who may have maxed out his potential but at least youd know what youre getting from them (someone like an experienced starter at a big-time program, well coached, versatile, high floor) For instance I loved barrett jones ALABAMA last year and Wesley Johnson VANDY this year. May never be dominant starters but can plug and play as a sub for multiple spots without missing a hitch. We need to find some of those to avoid our next man in being a complete project or greenhorn. One project player is fine, but not the whole line.
As far as Center, we have mangold for awhile. Best center in the game on his good days. Behind him, id like to see dalton freeman finally step up and claim the backup spot that everyone says he is capable of (All-ACC center, highly regarded in draft circles), making schlauderaff expendable. Freeman could also backup a guard spot which is nice. I think Ideally youd want 8 OL on your 53-man: (your 5 starters, a solid swing tackle as primary RT and LT backup, an Interior line backup who can play Center if needed and both Guards, and then another guy whos primarily a LG+RG backup who can also play tackle if need be. That way Everyone is covered.
I liked the Willie Colon Signing last year, tough as nails, versatile, and a local hofstra guy. He could play any position on the line and has in pittsburgh but seems at home at guard. He was a very pleasant surprise last year, hopefully stays healthy. He can give us another year of quality starting at RG. after that I wouldnt mind bringing him in as a versatile veteran backup for the twilight of his career but that probably wont happen. Behind him on the Depth chart is Campbell, the DT convert. This makes sense because its the least experienced guard backing up the most experienced, and colon can teach campbell. I gotta say im not too optimistic about how campbells gonna turn out, were thin at guard.
At left guard we seem to have winters and Dozier. Winters didnt look good at all last year and is more of a natural RT it seems. Then again, slauson looked pretty bad initially but now we would kill to have him back. I could see Winters progressing nicely at LG or even eventually making the move to RT if Giacomini doesnt play to his contract. Dozier is behind Winters and is yet another project tackle convert from a small school (ducasse??). the experts say he'll be good but once again I woulda rather taken a plug and play more polished guard prospect who were available (Yankey, Cyril Richardson). I think Winters continues to improve and dozier eventually takes over for Colon at RG in the future. I also think we are due to draft a tackle early in the next few years or sign a good one via FA. I am interested in seeing if Dbrickashaw would make a successful transition to RT as he gets older/slower.
As the story with tackle, we could bring in some veterans with solid starting experience to push winters or injury insurance for colon (Travelle Wharton, Davin Joseph, Colledge, Incognito? Harvey Dahl) are all savvy veterans who are better than winters right now, but maybe he will blossom. I also like these UDFA who are more polished and could provide immediate help: (Ryan Groy OG Wisconsin, Anthony Steen OG Alabama, Ikard G/C Oklahoma, James Hurst T/G UNC) I like my linemen from the Big Ten, SEC, and big time conferences, not from D2 with no experience or technique.
our Left to Right of Ferguson, Winters, Mangold, Colon, Giacomini is not bad. But having your Starting LG as a project is scary enough, I dont want my swing tackle and both guard backups to be projects too. I think we need some veteran backup presence like i said before to push winters and dozier. as well as some non-project "safer" linemen for designated reserve roles. In the future I'd like to see us pursue a great Offensive Linemen in the draft and invest a lot in one in the near future, not taking multiple swings at low-tier FA's and late round project draft picks and relying on developing them from nothing to something. Time to bite the bullet and go after some big uglies that can hold the fort down for a decade straight with no questions just like what we got when we drafted Brick and Mangold