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Jets positions of need: 8 OTs on Daniel Jeremiah’s top 50 big board

Very much of interest to the New York Jets, eight offensive tackles, including seven in the top 22, were listed on the third edition of Daniel Jeremiah’s big board for the 2024 NFL Draft.

9. Taliese Fuaga, Oregon State

10. Joe Alt, Notre Dame

12. Troy Fautanu, Washington

15. Olumuyiwa Fashanu, Penn State

16. JC Latham, Alabama

20. Amarius Mims, Georgia

22. Tyler Guyton, Oklahoma

44. Jordan Morgan, Arizona

Bolstering the offensive line is a must for the Jets this offseason. The 188 pressures that the Jets’ offensive line allowed in 2023 were the second-most in football. The 64 sacks surrendered were the fourth-most, and a pressure rate of 27 percent was also the second-highest, according to Pro Football Reference.

Even for a quarterback of Aaron Rodgers’ caliber, a clean pocket versus a collapsing one matters greatly. During the 2022 season in Green Bay, Rodgers completed nearly 70 percent of his throws at 7.1 yards per attempt from a clean pocket but only 47 percent of his passes when under pressure and at only 5.8 yards per pass.

That drastic drop in completion rate and effectiveness is not specific to only Rodgers; every quarterback experiences that to varying degrees, but it does go to show what we all know: consistent play from the quarterback, and therefore the rest of the offense, starts with the offensive line–especially for a 40-year-old coming off an Achilles injury.

More time for the quarterback also means more time for the receivers and tight ends to create separation.

Naturally, how the Jets go about making sure that they keep Rodgers upright will garner much of the attention this offseason, but it’s important that the offense has a run game to lean on as well.

Success on the ground helps keep the offense ahead of the chains and out of predictable passing situations, thus taking away some of the bite from the pass rush.

Being in short down-and-distance situations then opens up the playbook for the play-caller and, in general, opportunities in the passing game off of play-action. When defenses have to worry about both the run and the pass, it forces them to defend the entire field, which creates better spacing for Rodgers to take advantage of.

Current offensive tackle options on the Jets roster include Alijah Vera-Tucker, Max Mitchell, Carter Warren, and Austin Deculus.

Vera-Tucker is an option to play tackle. GM Joe Douglas said at the NFL Combine that they haven’t yet determined where Vera-Tucker will play in 2024, but he did say that wherever he ends up, he is staying. The plan is not to continue to bounce Vera-Tucker around from spot to spot.

If the Jets choose to keep Vera-Tucker at guard, then realistically, they need to add two more starting-caliber tackles to the roster. If Vera-Tucker takes one of the tackle spots, then only one tackle is needed, but then there is a hole at guard to fill.

Deculus, a 2022 sixth-round pick, has played just 39 career snaps. Mitchell played 815 snaps over the last two seasons but ranked 80th out of 90 eligible tackles in PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency metric in 2023. Warren played 401 snaps as a rookie but also struggled in pass protection, ranking 69th in pass-blocking efficiency.

With the 10th overall pick in the draft, the Jets will be able to address this major need. However, they won’t select again until pick 72. If Fuaga or Alt are off the board by pick 10, perhaps the Jets could entertain the idea of trading down to accumulate an additional top-100 selection to further bolster the offensive line or address another position of need.

Along with eight offensive tackles being among Jeremiah’s top 50 prospects, he also has three interior offensive linemen on his big board–a position that becomes a greater need if Vera-Tucker is going to play tackle.

At such a key position in football, no team ever wants to have a major roster hole to fill at offensive tackle, but the good news for the Jets is that there will be no shortage of options for them in what is turning into a historic tackle class.

Story originally appeared on Jets Wire