SB Nation ran an interesting article today in relation to a hypothetical situation for all NFL teams. Quite simply, if you had to protect one player in an expansion draft, which player would that be?
There are a few rules in place to make it more interesting. First and second year players are exempt and QB's are off the table, not that anyone would want any Jets QB.
Here's the interesting part, SB Nation picked Matt Forte as the player the Jets would protect. Personally, he wouldn't be the player I'd select. He wouldn't even be the first running back I'd select, and he likely wouldn't have been in the top 10 either. Here's the logic for the pick:
After the Jets cut Eric Decker and David Harris, you may think that everybody on the roster is expendable. But the team insists it isn’t tanking, even though it’s going to have to roll with either Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg, or Bryce Petty under center next season. That means the Jets need to hold on to Forte, who had 813 yards and seven touchdowns last season.
As I mentioned above, I completely disagree with this. Had it not been for salary implications being completely against the Jets, I think Matt Forte would be with another franchise today. It's nothing against Forte, he's a decent player. However he's also 31 and ran for 3.7 yards per attempt last year. Bilal Powell is 28 and ran for 5.5 yards per attempt last year, so If I had to protect one of them, I'm taking Powell every single day.
However Leonard Williams is now a 3rd year player, so he'd be my choice for protection. He went from 63 tackles and 3 sacks as a first year player to 68 tackles and 7 sacks as a 2nd year player, he can do everything and he's only going to get better. He's also got a great head on his shoulders, so for me, this isn't even a particularly hard selection.
Going back to Forte, here are just a selection of players I'd protect over him. Williams, Wilkerson, Richardson, Powell, Enunwa, Carpenter, Winters, Mauldin, Marcus Williams... you get the picture.
So I ask you Jets fans, if you could only protect one player, who would it be and why?