The Jets will need to make a decision on one of their two starting outside linebacker roles ahead of the regular season.
Jarrad Davis is new to the organization, but as far as the outside linebacker position in a 4-3 is concerned, he’s likely the most talented option on the roster. The Jets inked Davis to a one-year, $7 million deal in March after he proved to be productive on the tackling front in Detroit. Through four years with the Lions, Davis averaged 5.5 combined tackles per game.
However, the second outside linebacker spot carries some question marks at the moment. It’s very much unclear who could earn the starting job in that specific role — the Jets will have a decision to make prior to the Sept. 12 Week 1 matchup with Carolina.
Who could assume the duties?
This is, at least in my opinion, the most probable choice for the starting outside linebacker role.
Blake Cashman is a tad bit more experienced than his competitors (rookies Hamsah Nasirildeen and Jamien Sherwood) and could just be a temporary option if the coaching staff isn’t looking to make a long-term investment in him.
Despite injury-plagued seasons in each of his first two years in the league, Cashman averaged 5.7 combined tackles per game through seven matchups (40 total tackles) in 2019. Thus, there is a certain level of production he could reach that would be beneficial to the team.
Cashman additionally possesses experience playing alongside some of the defensive counterparts.
Hamsah Nasirildeen/Jamien Sherwood
The Jets drafted Sherwood in the fifth round out of Auburn before selecting Nasirildeen in the sixth round out of Florida State.
I understand active head coaching/general managerial regimes usually prefer guys they acquired (this Robert Saleh/Joe Douglas regime brought in these two rookies, not Cashman).
However, I just can’t see either of the two first-year players starting right away.
Both could grow into talented defensive weapons for the Jets sometime down the road. But to initially commence their respective NFL careers, it would make more sense for them to assume reserve/special teams roles.
Cashman on a short leash?
While I believe Cashman could ultimately earn the job, that’s not to say he’s a perfect option.
If Blake struggles through the first few regular-season games and the coaching staff notices development within either of the two aforementioned rookies, the enhancement of Nasirildeen’s and/or Sherwood’s role is certainly possible.