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Jets 2017 Roster Breakdown: Will Ben Ijalana Claim a Starting Job?

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NFL: New York Jets at San Francisco 49ers Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Our countdown of the Jets roster moves on as we take a look at Ben Ijalana.

Name: Ben Ijalana

Number: 71

Year with Jets: 5th

Projected Role: Possibly competing for starting right tackle job/swing tackle

His 2016: Injuries along the offensive line provided Ijalana with the first substantial playing time of his career. Early in the season, he split right tackle duties with Brent Qvale in place of the injured Breno Giacomini. After Ryan Clady suffered an injury, Ijalana was pressed into duty at left tackle. The results were not great. PFF noted Ijalana allowed 8 sacks and 43 pressures. He struggled to separate himself from Qvale. Maaaaaaaybe you can live with him at right tackle if you have a quarterback who knows what he’s doing in the pocket and talent at other offensive line spots to compensate for his struggles. You really don’t want to see him at left tackle if 2016 is any indication, though. Somehow the Jets felt this all added up in value to the 2 year, $10.25 million contract they gave Ijalana when the tackle hit free agency.

2017 will be a success if: Ijalana grabs a hold of the right tackle job and turns into a quality starter overnight at age 28. That’s really the only way the Jets can justify the kind of money they are paying him. Presumably he will competing against Brandon Shell for the starting right tackle spot. He’s around the middle of the pack at the position if he wins the job. He’s quite an expensive backup if he doesn’t.

Odds of making the roster: Lock (>99%)