The New York Jets continue to do work beefing up the trenches on both sides of the ball. Plus why Johnathan Hankins can be the steal of free agency.
Heading into the 2018 offseason, a big critique of the New York Jets was their depth on the offensive line. It was razor thin and even the starters weren’t that great.
That’s not a ripe recipe for success. So the Jets went out and changed that with a slew of signings and even re-signings.
We've re-signed OT Ben Ijalana.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) April 5, 2018
A versatile swing tackle in Ben Ijalana was exactly what the doctor ordered. He can play on the left-or-right side, which is great for depth and versatility.
It finally seems like a streak is going to be broken in 2018. Over the last three years, the Jets have had a different starting left tackle: Kelvin Beachum (2017), Ryan Clady (2016), D’Brickashaw Ferguson (2015). Could 2018 bring stability?
It sure seems that way with Beachum en route to return to the team next season.
But the team hasn’t used a first round pick on an offensive lineman since the Ferguson/Nick Mangold days. That drought will likely continue with the team looking at a quarterback with the No. 3 pick, but they’ll have to eventually go to the well to improve the quality of the line.
Speaking of lines, a hole remains on the defensive line for the Jets. That’s Muhammad Wilkerson’s old stomping grounds. But it appears the Jets could be willing to add some beef to that side of the line as well.
DT Johnathan Hankins is visiting the New York Jets today. Former Giants second-rounder was cut by the Colts last month after one year. Hankins also has visited Washington. He just turned 26 on Sunday, and Pro Football Focus had him as the third-best… https://t.co/Ic2lb55FCv
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) April 5, 2018
Locking in Hankins is even more important after losing reserve defensive end Kony Ealy to the Dallas Cowboys on a one-year deal. But what a find he would be for the Jets who as ESPN Insider Dan Graziano notes is the “third-best run-stopping DT in the league last year, behind Damon Harrison and Ndamukong Suh.”
The Jets tried to get Suh and let Snacks walk, but Hankins would be the best of both worlds: a cheaper version of Harrison with less of the Suh attitude. This could be a match made in heaven.