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Could Micheal Clemons find work inside at Defensive Tackle?

New York Jets v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images

Last off-season defensive line coach Aaron Whitecotton spoke about Micheal Clemon’s versatility, and how the Jets planned to work him inside and out, as they do with John Franklin Myers. Although that was tested through camp, it really never happened once the lights came on. According to PFF’s positional charting, Clemons only had 12 snaps inside of the offensive tackle all season.

Fast-forward to yesterday and the prospect of moving Clemons inside more came up during a Jeff Ulbrich press conference, where the Jets defensive coordinator compared the 2nd-year player to JFM and elaborated on Clemons's potential considering he’s packed on even more muscle to the frame:

“I think Mike has the same ability(as JFM). Mike is, as you’ve probably seen, he’s not a small man. I don’t know exactly what he was weighing last year, but he’s in the 290s, I think, so he’s a guy that could easily reduce inside and have a lot of success in there. He’s a guy that’s a good athlete outside, but he’s a great athlete inside, so it’ll be fun to see him get work at both.”

Moving him inside does make a lot of sense for the Jets. Despite the signings of Al Woods and Quinton Jefferson, the Jets really only have Quinnen Williams as a long-term option at defensive tackle. Whereas outside they have a number of players to find reps for, including first-round defensive end Will McDonald.

It’s unlikely that Clemons will become a full-time defensive tackle this year, but having the flexibility to play inside and out will ensure he gets the reps needed to develop while allowing the Jets to distribute more reps to the likes of Bryce Huff, Will McDonald, and fellow 2nd-year player Jermaine Johnson, who came in for heavy praise during the press conference yesterday:

“He is in such a better place this year. You can just feel that he’s settled. He understands exactly what he wants to get accomplished, and more importantly, he understands how to get that accomplished. Seeing him work out here, it’s not just a guy just straining and flailing and working hard. There’s a deliberate approach to every drill that he has. He’s really, he knows exactly the things that he needs to work on and improve, and I’m excited about what he could become, really am.”