Building an Offensive Line

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Let's take a look at the Big Uglies.

Going into last season, the offensive line looked to be a mess. There were two massive holes at right guard, which were ultimately filled by Brian Winters and Willie Colon, after giving Vlad Ducasse and Stephen Peterman a shot. Winters struggled for most of the season, although he appeared to do better towards the end. Colon had a good year, but ended the season, as is now expected of him, on injured reserve.

This offseason, the New York Jets lost right tackle Austin Howard, and replaced him with Breno Giacomini, from the Seattle Seahawks. The other four players on the line, Winters, Colon, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, and Nick Mangold return, but the line isn't quite as settled as one might imagine.

At center, the team seems to be very high on Dalton Freeman, who was injured last preseason. Obviously, he won't overtake Mangold in the near future, but he's someone to keep on the radar. In contrast, Ferguson is entrenched on the left side. However, the team doesn't appear to have anyone on the roster of replacing him. They've drafted both Oday Aboushi and Dakota Dozier, two left tackles in college, but both guys project inside to the guard position in the pros. While Ferguson is entrenched, there doesn't appear to be a long-term replacement on the roster. For Giacomini on the right side, there's no clear successor, although Aboushi and Ben Ijalana might be able to step in if necessary.

The guard spots are where the real competition is. Winters and Colon are the presumed starters, but Dozier, Aboushi, Caleb Schlauderaff, and William Campbell will push them for time. Douzier is the most realistic to be a long-term successor to Colon, but coming from a small school, he will take time to develop.

What do you think? Who will comprise the starting line this year or two years from now?

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