Even in an off season that has seen the Jets fill some of their biggest needs by drafting quarterback Sam Darnold and adding cornerback Trumaine Johnson, their roster is still devoid of any player who poses a legitimate threat to get to opposing quarterbacks. After reportedly refusing to part with a pair of first-round draft choices to acquire former Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack, it’s back to the drawing board for Mike Maccagnan who hopes he may have found a diamond in the rough.
The Jets signed little-known free agent linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, formerly of the Chargers and 49ers who, in 38 career games (10) starts, has notched 10 sacks.
Jeremiah Attaochu's best season was 2015, when he posted a 74.9 defense grade (21st of 65 qualified edge defenders) and racked up 48 total pressures. The highest pressure count for a #Jets edge rusher last year was 30 by Jordan Jenkins. https://t.co/YETaZV1hpi
— PFF NY Jets (@PFF_Jets) September 3, 2018
His 10 career sacks are 1.5 more than the Jets top three outside linebackers have registered in their careers as Jordan Jenkins (5.5), Josh Martin (2.5) and Brandon Copeland (0.5) have combined for just 8.5 sacks since entering the league. And as you can see from the tweet above, his 48 total pressures a few seasons ago would have far outpaced anyone on the Jets roster last season.
Here, we see a Attaochu fake to the inside before getting around the edge to bring down Saints QB Drew Brees. pic.twitter.com/OkxVrBqYDU
— Glenn Naughton (@AceFan23) September 4, 2018
So why was Attaochu available this late in the offseason if he has shown he has the ability to get to opposing quarterbacks? The most likely answer at this point would have to be durability issues.
Attaochu missed significant time when he was hampered by a high ankle sprain and a broken right foot in 2016 before missing time with a hamstring in jury in 2017. Missed time due to injuries and a drop in production led to Attaochu falling out of favor with a coaching staff that sat him for much of the year.
While Attaochu’s pro football focus grade of 69.2 this preseason with the San Francisco 49ers is far from dominant, it’s better than any grade a Jets got from any of their outside linebackers who played a minimum of 30 pass rush snaps.
Bowles doesn’t rule out trading/adding another pass rusher #jets
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) September 3, 2018
Clearly the move doesn’t rule out the possibility of team adding another edge rusher via trade as head coach Todd Bowles acknowledged yesterday when addressing the media, but if the Jets can get Attaochu to play at a level anywhere near what he did just a few seasons ago, it will go a long way toward fixing what ails their defense.