By most accounts, this is the going to be the opening day Front 7 for our New York Jets. Only the Davis position may be questionable, and then only if someone better shakes loose before camp.DE -- Wilkerson
NT -- Ellis & Garay
DE -- Richardson
OLB -- Barnes/Pace
ILB -- Harris
ILB -- Davis
OLB -- Coples
How do we feel about this unit, vs. the run? vs. the pass? Creating pressure? Turnovers?
Wilkerson appears to be a developing potential star at one end position, doing quite well at times despite almost constant double-deams.
Ellis has been something of a dissapointment on the field thus far, albeit a dissapointment the front office clearly thinksis ready to step into a starting role (if not, you do not let both Devito and Pouha go so easily).
Garay is something of an avergae player, not much to really say. I'm not that familiar with his resume, but it seems somewhat average.
Richardson at the other DE (or DT when Coples plays on the line in the 4-3) is supposed a talent in the pass rush game, but potentially a weakness at the NFL level (to start) vs. the run.
Barnes is a pretty solid LB, probably a step-up vs. Bryan Thomas. Pace is Pace, old, but at least he's now cheap. Perhaps a soldi fill-in to generate some extra pass rush.
Harris is a pretty good ILB, one of the better on his good days, but he has days where he seems to dissapear. Makes alot of tackles, but has never been much of a pass rush threat and is questionable in coverage.
Davis is somethign of an unknown, a younger player we've not seen in a starting role. Has alot of fans (as all backups do) amongst the fans, but is unproven.
Coples is moved from DE to OLB (with some likely DE style lineups). He clearly has alot of talent and potential, but like many on this unit, it's all an unknown right now.
Overall, we appear to have a young unit full of kids with upside and potential, but darm little real productivity yet. The front 3 (4) are all top end draft picks or recent vintage, and appear to be a little hit or miss thus far (Ellis a miss, Wilk a hit, Coples a tbd). The linebacker group appears to be a weakness, but the Ryan system has somewhat adequately overcome similar weaknesses int he past few years, to varying degrees. Harris is the only standout in the group going into opening day.
With that said, the unit as a whole got much younger, faster, andhopefully hungrier. Unit speed is considerably improved, and the hope being that increased speed can and new talents can finally generate some system-based pass rush potential.
We still lack anything like a clear-cut pass rush stud, and interesting omission that has existed throughout the Rex Ryan era. Pass defense vs. the growing trend of Backetball playign TE's and RGII-styles running QB's could be better, again due to more unti speed and (hopefully) disruptiveness, but that will be countered by a rather large lack of experience and unit cohesiveness, especially early on.
This group appears to be one building towards the longer term, at the expense of today, with the hope that both Wilkerson and Coples develop into valid outside threats, and Richardson can become a moden inside rush threat of a type less common now-a-days (technique and speed over bulk and force). The unit will very likely suffer early in 2013, hopefully growing better each week as things start to settle out.
I'd expect at least one LB to be either a string FA aquisition ro draft pick in 2014, to contineu the youth movement and speed/rush potential going into that season, probably at the expense of Pace (surely gone) and/or Barnes.