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Top Five Position Battles #5: Defensive End

In the Mark Sanchez trade, the Jets gave up a starter to get a starter. If Sanchez pans out, I don't think anybody will be in tears over losing an average defensive end, Kenyon Coleman. Still, Coleman's departure left a hole the team has to fill. At this point, there appear to be two primary contenders.

Marques Douglas is an accomplished veteran with experience in Rex Ryan's system. When he was signed, it seemed like his role was going to be taking C.J. Mosley's place as a rotational player. Now he is the favorite to land the starting job. While not much of a pass rusher, he has been excellent against the run. He ranks third in the league in the past six years in tackles for a loss.  For a scheme that demands holding the gaps like Eric Mangini's, Douglas might not be valuable. For one based on attack like Ryan's, Douglas could play a big role. The 32 year old has only been a part-time player recently, though. How much of the load can he handle?

Mike Devito, a Maine product, cracked the lineup in 2008. The overachiever was able to provide pressure on passing downs. He'll have to improve his play at the point of attack to be more than a third down player. Although the coaching staff saw enough in him to play him at nose tackle in Week 3 when Kris Jenkins was banged up, Devito was sealed on big running plays multiple times near the end of the year.

A couple of tackles could end up playing a role. Howard Green, a 320 pound space eater with experience in Ryan's system figures to get some reps if Rex wants to play Kris Jenkins at end to create mismatches at times. Sione Pouha was Jenkins' primary backup a year ago and played unevenly. With a new coach, everybody has a clean slate, but Pouha will have to impress the staff. The signing of Green has to be something of an indictment on the staff's opinion of Sione.

Handicapping the race:

Neither Douglas nor Green is a full time player. Rex Ryan has experience working with both, though, and signed them because he likes both. They'll probably end up splitting playing time on the first two downs with Devito getting work on third and longs.