Leonard Williams, New York Jets
(Photo by Ed Mulholland/Getty Images)

The New York Jets will rely on a strategy they’ve employed before to create pressure in 2018. Here are the names to watch out for that could help that process. 

You can’t fill every hole in the NFL Draft, but the New York Jets tried to plug as many of them as possible. But one obvious gaping wound they let continue to seep was at edge rusher.

Not only did they ignore adding an edge rusher in the draft, but they didn’t bother to try and add one through free agency, either.

That means the Jets have no choice but to rely on generating interior pressure in 2018. Buth they’ll have to do it without two familiar faces—Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson.

Wilkerson was released after the 2017 season and signed as a free agent with Green Bay Packers. Richardson, meanwhile, was traded to the Seattle Seahawks before the 2017 season began.


That leaves Steve McLendon and Leonard Williams to be at the forefront of those efforts. But McLendon is more clogger than pass rusher, while Williams, for as phenomenal a player as he is, has only 12 career sacks.

After them, there’s a lot of unproven pass rushing potential, including 2018 draft picks Folorunso “Foley” Fatukasi (sixth round) and Nathan Shepherd (third round).

To be honest, expecting McLendon and Williams to be able to generate pressure by themselves is somewhat unrealistic. But it’s better to expect magic up front than it is in the outside linebacking corps. There’s just a whole lot of nothing there.

  • Lorenzo Mauldin
    • A wonderful story that I was really hoping would work out. But the NFL isn’t about nice stories, it’s about what you can do for me on the field. Your best ability is availability and Mauldin hasn’t been able to stay on the field.
  • David Bass
    • Showed some potential in spot duty, but has just been a bum thus far. The team re-signed him this offseason to a “show me” deal.
  • Freddie Bishop
    • Sorry, he’s no Cameron Wake who jumped from the CFL to the pros and dominated. That’s what Jets fans were hoping for, but so far it’s been more hype than reality.
  • Dylan Donahue
    • Expecting Donahue to be the guy is a bit presumptuous. He can’t even keep an eye out for himself. Donahue got into some DUI trouble that could’ve cost him his own life and the lives of others. He needs to clean himself up before he can help the Jets.
  • Jordan Jenkins
    • Jenkins reminds me of Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas. Nothing spectacular, but a blue-collar player who punches in and punches out. He’ll probably never be a double-digit sack guy, more like someone with a five-to-eight sack a season ceiling.

New York Jets

Pass Rush By Committee?

Perhaps the Jets’ best chance, at least temporarily, is to employ a pass rush by committee approach. The team has nobody that opposing offenses have to fear on an individual basis. They don’t have that guy that the other team has to circle on the game sheet.

The Jets had a slew of resources at their disposal this offseason and yet, they chose to take a backward-thinking mentality for solving their pass rushing woes.

Let me explain. Usually, teams have a dominant pass rush, which forces quarterbacks to get rid of the ball quickly and, thus, gives the secondary an advantage.

Because the Jets don’t have an elite pass rusher, they invested a ton of capital into the secondary. Don’t forget: they signed Trumaine Johnson to the second-largest deal for a cornerback in NFL history.

So they’re hoping the secondary can cover receivers long enough so the guys up front can get to the QB. I’m not saying it won’t work, but it’s a bit unorthodox.

Unfortunately, the Jets have no other options at the moment. They’ve got to play with the cards they were dealt—mainly by themselves—in 2018.

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