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Possibility at 17: Larry English

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As we head for the Draft, Gang Green Nation will take a look at some potential picks for the team. Today we will profile Larry English, a defensive end from Northern Illinois University.

What NFL Draft Countdown thinks:

Strengths:
Good natural athlete...Has long arms...Very quick with a burst to close...Physical...Aggressive...Can deliver the big hit...Uses his hands well...Has a terrific motor...Employs a wide array of pass rush moves...Good strength and power...Shows the ability to beat double teams...Smart...Good instincts and awareness...Extremely productive.

Weaknesses:
Does not have the size or bulk you look for in an NFL defensive end...Lacks elite timed speed...May have to make a position change at the next level...Durability is a real concern...Does not have fluid hips...Struggles in space...Did not always play against top competition.

What SB Nation's Mocking the Draft thinks:

Strengths: English is a pass-rush specialist hustles on every play and has a non-stop motor. Keeps nice leverage to get the most out of his strength. When he’s not playing with his hand down, English uses his arms well to detach from blockers. Good productivity, albeit against lesser competition. Good tackler who also like to lay a big hit on an opponent.

Weaknesses: A college defensive end who will likely have to move to outside linebacker due to his size. Questionable agility to move laterally. Seems to just run straight ahead. Sometimes takes himself out of running plays by going straight for the quarterback. Mostly inexperienced in pass coverage. The Huskies had English drop back off the line in zone, but not often. Has had some injury problems. Tore a pectoral muscle as a senior, tore his ACL as a sophomore.

What I think:

The Jets could not generate any sort of pass rush without blitzing last season. Rex Ryan's scheme was known for the success it found through blitzing, but what made it so dangerous was the presence of Terrell Suggs. Blocking schemes first and foremost had to account for Suggs' dynamic pass rushing ability and then had to figure out from what angle an attack might be coming. Suggs drew so much attention that things opened up for his teammates. The Jets lack any comparable rush linebacker.

English will probably never be as good as Suggs, but he profiles favorably with Lamarr Woodley of the Steelers, who had a breakout 2008 with 11.5 sacks. English's best fit in the pros is converting from 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker as he is probably not big or strong enough to succeed on the line. He does one thing well, get after the quarterback. He owns a quick burst off the snap, uses his hands well against blockers, and has a number of pass rushing moves at his disposal. He lacks experience and the elite athleticism necessary to match up well in coverage and is sealed by power blocks in the run game. While he only brings one thing to the table, it is something the Jets need in a position of weakness.

It would, however, be shocking to see Gang Green take English at 17, no matter whether it would be a good idea. It would be an admission the club has no confidence in Vernon Gholston, the first round pick of a year ago who was supposed to be the edge rushing specialist. Rex Ryan is a confident/cocky guy. He has a lot of faith in his ability to turn Gholston into a player and would not blow a first round pick on the position.

If English had the versatility to play on the inside like a Brian Cushing or a Clay Matthews, there would be a better chance of the Jets pulling the trigger. The team could argue the move is purely for linebacker depth and would envision that player as insurance on the outside. English, on the other hand, would obviously be Gholston's replacement. The odds of him lasting to New York's second round pick are not good. Even though many pundits rate him with a second round grade, there are so few players who fit the 3-4 available that they typically go earlier than expected. The Jets will likely not consider English, which is a shame. Even if Gholston pans out, a team can never have too many pass ruhsers.