The time for Jets linebacker Darron Lee to get slapped with the “bust” label may not be all that far off if his early performances this preseason are anything to go by. Lee seemed to impress those on hand in Florham Park early on in training camp when the pads came on and he looked to be playing at high speed. Since then, Lee looks to have stalled out, and his poor play didn’t go unnoticed by former Jets linebacker Bart Scott.
"I don't want to say he's soft, but he is a little plush right now. If I was in that locker room I tell him you either need to drop your marbles or you got to go."- Bart Scott with harsh words for #Jets linebacker Darron Lee
— Carlin, Maggie, and Bart (@CMBWFAN) August 17, 2018
Appearing on his WFAN program Carlin, Maggie and Bart, Scott stopped short of calling Lee soft, but did say he’s “plush” and that if he were in the Jets locker room, he’d tell Lee that he needs to…ahem..”drop your marbles or you got to go”. A clear shot at Lee’s unwillingness to mix it up in the middle of the Jets defense. This, combined with Lee continually coming up short in pass coverage, and even the most optimistic fans have to be questioning whether or not Lee will ever live up to his first round billing.
Plenty of fans were critical of the Lee selection when he was chosen in the first round of the 2016 draft due to his diminutive stature for an inside linebacker, and his early struggles earned him plenty of criticism. However, the fact that Lee was still relatively new to the position and a handful of quality performances last season offered a glimmer of hope.
However, the strong play was short-lived and Lee struggled as the season came to a close. Now, through two preseason games, one could make the case that Lee has been outplayed by Neville Hewitt, Kevin Pierre-Louis and Kevin Minter at his own spot, be it in practice or games.
If the Jets are willing to be honest with themselves, Lee won’t see the field nearly as much as he has in the past, and with four first-round picks under his belt (Leonard Williams, Lee, Jamal Adams, Sam Darnold), Mike Maccagnan would be saddled with an undeniable first round bust in Lee.