All Out Blitz
Jumping over to the other side of the ball, one unit that underwhelmed in 2016 was the highly touted defensive line. The unit of Leonard Williams, Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson and Steve McLendon unfortunately were not the “Fearsome Foursome” Bowles and Maccagnan had envisioned.
Williams was the most productive of the group, earning his first Pro Bowl selection when Khalil Mack was removed due to injury. He finished the season with seven sacks, almost as many as the other three combined. Williams was a bright spot this season, as he will likely grow into one of the more formidable lineman in the league.
One of the challenges that Maccagnan and Bowles will have with this group moving forward is the money that gets invested in this area of the roster. With Wilkerson receiving a big deal last offseason, the same will be expected with Richardson and Williams. The Jets could explore moving Richardson for a pick to avoid paying him, but Williams is more likely to receive a deal.
With the exception of 33-year-old David Harris, the linebacking corps of the Jets is rather young. Last year’s first rounder, Darron Lee, along with Jordan Jenkins and Lorenzo Mauldin, can grow together, with all three being under the age of 25. That trio combined for six sacks and over 100 tackles in 2016.