By Kenneth Alcott
Taking Jachai Polite in the third round of this year’s draft will either make Mike Macagnan look like a genius, or a man who was desperate to keep his job. With a focus on the defense at the top of this Jets draft, Gregg Williams’ fingerprints seem to be all over the Jets first two picks with Quinnen Williams at number 3 and Polite in the third round. At this point, Williams must be like a kid at Christmas who can’t wait to try out his new toys when training camp starts. But if anyone in the building at 1 Jets drive is more excited than Williams, it might be outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins.
Jenkins, the Jets fourth year ‘backer who will only be 25 when the season starts is entering a contract year in 2019. He is coming off his best season as a Jet with 7 sacks, 20 hurries, 8 quarterback hits (per PFF), 2 forced fumbles and 6 tackles for loss. With Williams in charge of the defense, the Jets’ base defensive alignment will be staying in a 3-4 despite historically using a 4-3 scheme. This will allow the linebackers much more flexibility and versatility both inside and outside. With C.J. Mosley and Avery Williamson in the middle this year, Williams will have nearly limitless options to keep opposing offenses on their toes.
With Williams often calling for defenders to blitz off the edge, Polite and Jenkins could have a field day with increased pressure up the middle from the “Williams brothers” in Leonard and Quinnen Williams. If all goes well, the defense may be primed for big results this year. For Jenkins, this couldn’t come at a better time as he looks for his first pro season with double-digit sacks.
Polite does appear to fill a hole the Jets had in looking for their first true edge rusher in over a decade. Williams’ 4-3 thrives off of speedy defensive ends, so if he can stay focused, this former Gator who had 11 sacks, six forced fumbles and 19.5 tackles for a loss this past year is a big addition. By adding Quinnen Williams, who will most likely demand double teams to the mix, the Jets have a solid middle core throughout their defense from the line through to Jamal Adams at Safety. The Jets may finally have the edge rusher they have been looking for since the John Abraham days. Meanwhile, Jenkins may be packing for camp now as he seeks an uptick in production, and a new contract in the near future.