The Jets just wrapped up their three-day rookie minicamp with a good portion of the spotlight on second-round draft pick, quarterback Christian Hackenberg. The quarterback position is obviously an area of concern for the Jets, however, it’s not their only area of concern.
When the New York Jets went into their prep work for the 2016 NFL Draft, general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles put an emphasis on addressing the linebacker position. New Jets draft picks Darron Lee and Jordan Jenkins were brought in to bring much-needed speed, youth, and depth to a position in need of all three.
If all breaks right, the duo of Lee, a first-round pick from Ohio State, and Jenkins, a third-round pick from Georgia, could help take an already strong Jets defense into another gear.
The Jets will be expected to turn to Lee for his ability to drop back into coverage and utilize his quickness. The opposing team’s running back that slips out into the flat or the pass-catching tight end have been areas where the Jets defense has struggled.
Maccagnan and Bowles made the decision to use this offseason to make it a top priority to get younger and faster. Veterans Calvin Pace, Demario Davis, and Quinton Coples are gone. Lee, along with Jenkins and second-year pro Lorenzo Mauldin, represent the future at linebacker for the Jets.
“Well it was a priority for us to get better (as a team),” Bowles said at Jets rookie minicamp. “We didn’t know which position we were able to get (in the draft). We just happened to be able to get the linebackers that were available to us. We are happy with the guys that we got, obviously. We’re younger, there is a lot of experience that they have to replace and they have to learn a lot of things but we are happy with the guys that we got.”
Jenkins brings top-notch run-stopping ability to the defense from his college days at Georgia. While it remains to be seen if he’ll provide an impact rushing the quarterback, Bowles appears to like what he sees of Jenkins and Lee working well together so far.
“I like the fact that teammates are getting along,” said Bowles.”I know they have a lot of work to do, but if they are willing to put in the work, which I think they are, they will be fine.”