1. Edge Rusher

Yes, the quarterback spot will most definitely be the top spot of concern entering training camp. In such a QB-heavy league, it has to be.

However, if there’s one position that can take a unit from producing great numbers to absolutely dominating ones it’ll come in the form of the edge rusher on defense.

Look around the Jets defense for a moment. Every spot is accounted for and downright filthy aside from two. One is the free safety, the other is outside linebacker. This includes a cornerback and interior defensive line crop that can be filthy.

Should Bowles get any quality production out of his edge rushers, he’ll then be in a position to play straight up defense without having to blitz out of necessity. It’s the one spot that can shoot this defense into the stratosphere with the likes of the Seahawks.

Quinton Coples is the top dog here. Still only 25-years of age, Coples has compiled 16.5 sacks over his first three seasons. Little by little though, he’s progressed into the position. Remember, he began his career as an interior guy in the 3-4.


Calvin Pace is slated on paper as the starter on the other side, but needs to be beaten out by another guy if this defense truly wants a chance at greatness.

Guys like Trevor Reilly and Jason Babin can contribute in certain situations, but the real wild card comes in the form of rookie Lorenzo Mauldin.

Mauldin is a third-round rookie from Louisville who profiles as a pass rusher in every sense of the word. He uses speed and a solid frame (6’4” 256 lbs.) along the edge that could work very nicely with the inside dominance the Jets possess.

Prediction:

Coples will of course start along the edge on one side, but they’ll need Mauldin to put his big boy pants on and scare opposing quarterbacks on the other side.

The interior lineman cannot be the only pass rushing presence the Jets employ all season long. Something must shake out along the edge for this defense to become truly scary.

If Mauldin can become that guy, then watch out.

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Robby Sabo is a co-founder, CEO and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor - Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. SEO: XL Media. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (Sold in 2020). SEO: XL Media. Email: robby.sabo[at]jetsxfactor.com