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Filed under: Jets Have Second Best Defensive Line in League

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Gregg Rosenthal of ranked the top defensive lines in the NFL. The Jets fared unsurprisingly well, ranking only behind the Rams.

The Jets' defensive line is so good that it can lose one of football's prime run-stoppers in Damon Harrison and still rank as our top 3-4 defensive lines. Richardson slashes and burns like a player 50 pounds lighter. It is no surprise Rex Ryan used him as a goal-line back in 2013 because it always looks like Richardson is playing downhill.

Wilkerson always looks like the smartest, most complete lineman on the field. He is the rare pass rusher that often picks up his sacks by reading the play in front of him and reacting. If the Jets need to roll with Geno Smith for a season just to save cap room to pay Wilkerson all the money, they should just let Ryan Fitzpatrick walk. Williams should soon be part of the top starting trio in football, while Jenkins could be a sneaky steal for depth. This line forms Todd Bowles' best defense against a sophomore slump.

Rosenthal doesn't even mention Steve McLendon. McLendon is probably the fourth best lineman on the roster, but he could end up being a sneaky value signing. He won't play at the same level as Harrison, but he can give this team quality snaps, which combined with an improvement out of Williams might be enough to take the unit to the next level.

There also has been some buzz around 2015 seventh round pick Deon Simon. Dom Cosentino posted an article with defensive line coach Pepper Johnson praising Simon. When combined with the praise Simon got from Mike Maccagnan mentor Charley Casserly earlier in the offseason, one might wonder whether the Jets are really excited about his potential. The comparison people will likely make is the one Casserly made. Harrison was also an unheralded small school prospect who didn't play in year one. It isn't fair to expect Simon to become Harrison, but if he could become a decent rotational guy for cheap, it would be a win for the Jets and make their depth better.