The New York Jets have not had a threatening pass rush in quite some time. After notching 45 sacks in 2014, the Jets have seen a declining total each year since. Further perpetuating the issue of lacking edge talent, 14 of the 45 sacks in 2014 came from Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, both of whom applied pressure from the interior. Truthfully, the Jets have lacked any sort of edge pass-rushing threat since Calvin Pace recorded 10 sacks in 2013. As a result, the Jets’ brass will surely be looking for ways to improve at the position this offseason. Here are some ways the Jets can achieve this.
Ways to Address the New York Jets Edge Rusher Need
Sign Trent Murphy
The edge rushing free agent class was primed to be top loaded before the tagging of both Ezekiel Ansah and Demarcus Lawrence. With both players off the market, there is a bit of a lack of talent at the position. One option that may pay off is signing Trent Murphy from the Washington Redskins. Murphy was drafted in 47th overall in 2014 from Stanford by Washington. Murphy’s breakout season came in 2016 as he recorded nine sacks. Looking to build off that in his 2017 campaign, Murphy suffered a torn ACL in the preseason and missed the year. Murphy brings large upside and should come at a relatively low price as he is coming off a serious injury.
Draft Bradley Chubb
If the Jets manage to address the quarterback position through free agency, that leaves them with the luxury of being able to select another position sixth overall. One option to improve the pass rush is NC State’s Bradley Chubb. The 6’4″ prospect has the ability to contribute as a three-down player given his impressive strength on the edge and ability to read and react to run plays. Chubb also recorded double-digit sacks in back to back seasons and would be an immediate building block on the young defense that the Jets currently have.
Draft Kemoko Turay
In the event that the Jets address quarterback at the sixth pick, they will surely look to add an edge rusher later in the draft. One such player may be Kemoko Turay of Rutgers. Turay is a 6’6″ specimen with immense physical potential. He will need coaching to try and reverse some of the regressions he experienced in 2015 and 2016, however, two shoulder surgeries may be to blame for the dip in production. Turay lit up the Senior Bowl and may sneak into the second round, where the Jets hold two selections this year.
Trade for Dante Fowler Jr.
If the Jets choose to address their pass rush via trade, Dante Fowler of the Jacksonville Jaguars may be a target. Fowler, the former number three overall pick, has underwhelmed thus far in Jacksonville. His role has mainly become a situational pass rusher, rather than a three-down contributor. Yet, it is important to remember that Fowler missed his entire rookie season due to a knee injury. His play has shown steady improvement and Fowler showed an ability to be a three-down player while at Florida. His versatility would be welcomed by Todd Bowles and would immediately be an upgrade to the roster. Jacksonville’s defense is immensely talented, and it will be difficult for them to keep everyone in the near future. The Jets have the draft pick ammunition to get a deal done for Fowler.