Sheldon Rankins, Vinny Curry agree Jets D-line can be lethal in 2021

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Scott Thompson
·4 min read
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Sheldon Rankins applying pressure while wearing white Saints uniform
Sheldon Rankins applying pressure while wearing white Saints uniform

Jets GM Joe Douglas saw Quinnen Williams take a big step forward last season, looking like the No. 3 overall pick the team believed he would be two seasons ago. But this offseason, he made the defensive front even scarier after adding veterans Sheldon Rankins and Vinny Curry.

Both tackles spoke to New York media for the first time since joining their new team, and both had the same sentiments about the group they're now a part of in the defensive line room.

"I think the sky’s the limit," Curry said about the D-line. "I think I fit right in with those guys with the way I play the game. I think once we all get around each other, get a feel for each other, man, I think we have the potential to really be a force up front.”

Rankins added: "With me feeling healthy again, get to myself, I feel like I can slide right in and dominate in that front.”

Curry and Rankins also did their homework on Robert Saleh's defense, which makes coming to the Jets even more intriguing.

There's a reason that Saleh has such a high respect in the league, and that's because he's able to tap into his defensive players' strengths and exploit them the best way possible. The proof is in the tape with the San Francisco 49ers.

For Rankins, especially, that was a main reason he decided the Jets was the right fit.

“I love the way they’re always attacking," he said of Saleh's defensive scheme. "I feel like one of the things that makes me the player I am is my explosion, my get-off, being able to be disruptive. So seeing the way he deployed those guys when he was in San Fran and the type of havoc they caused — truly winning games with their front four. That got me excited."

Curry's New Jersey roots and relationship with Douglas during their time with the Philadelphia Eagles might have drawn him home a bit, but he also recognizes what Saleh has been able to accomplish.

“Anybody that watches football, I will hope they paid attention to that. What he did was amazing for his starters to get hurt and then he comes with a second group and does what he does," he said. "And even those guys have a rotational group. It’s just amazing man.”

Rankins and Curry are expected to be immediate helps on a line that can rotate like Curry just mentioned. Along with Williams, Foley Fatukasi, John Franklin-Myers and another newcomer, Carl Lawson make for a group that has the potential to be devastating up front.

Williams, especially, was a player both Rankins and Curry touched on.

“I think he’s a beast," Curry said. "I think last season he got into his groove, got into his own, got real comfortable and started just wreaking havoc. I think he’s only going to get better from there.”

"I’ve followed Quinnen since he was at Alabama and obviously the type of player he was down there," Rankins added. "The whole country was watching him so just seeing that and obviously I’m a junkie of this game, so I’m watching other D-tackles and stuff like that. So I watched Quinnen the first couple years with the Jets, watched Foley [Fatukasi], watched all those guys. So I think not only Quinnen, just me pairing up with all those guys on the inside, I think we’re going to do some damage.”

So the Jets are certainly prepared to get into the backfield this season to wreak some havoc like these two believe they can. And Rankins made a good point here, too...

"The great thing about talent on the defensive line is can’t double everybody," he explained. "Whether it’s them trying to put extra guys on Carl, extra guys on Quinnen, extra guys on Foley, John Franklin-Myers — when you really look at the depth of this defensive line, there’s not a lot of guys that you can honestly truly give 1-on-1s to and them not win. So listen, I’ll be extremely happy they double everybody else and give me all the 1-on-1s. That would be a beautiful thing.”