Ever since the New York Jets hired Joe Douglas as their General Manager, one of his biggest goals has been to revamp the team’s offensive line. Now, retooling an entire unit that has been amongst the worst in the league was never going to be easy. However, nobody could have expected the Jets turnaround to happen so fast, especially when looking at their offensive tackles.
At the position, Douglas went from band-aid blockers at left tackle to a perennial Pro Bowl-caliber player. At right tackle, he ended the Jets streak of relying on late-round picks to bringing in one of the most durable players at the position. Simply put, the Jets offensive tackle situation is the best it has been in years because of the maneuvers Douglas has made.
Here is how the Jets offensive tackle group shapes up for the 2021 season…
2021 New York Jets Preview: Offensive Tackles
The Starters: Mekhi Becton (LT), Morgan Moses (RT)
Where to even begin. Mekhi “Mount” Becton is an absolute beast, as he showed during his rookie season. He proved to be among the best offensive tackles in the league as a rookie, and that was while dealing with lingering injuries. On the year, he finished with grades of 76.0 and 73.9 in the pass and run game from PFF. Entering 2021, there is no reason not to expect Becton to get even better.
As for Morgan Moses, the Jets latest addition brings experience and stability opposite of Becton. Since 2015, Moses has never missed a start, giving the Washington Football Team a rock along their offensive line. The Virginia product earned a 79.9 grade this past season, ranking 18th among 79 qualified offensive tackles. If the Jets could get that production out of Moses 2021, especially as a run blocker, they are more than set at tackle.
Health. That is what will determine the upside of this tackle tandem. Becton has already been dealing with a foot injury this off-season. Moses, despite his career durability, is now over 30-years-old. If they can stay healthy, the sky is the limit. If not, then the Jets are in trouble… but have a backup plan.
The Backups: George Fant (OT)
For the Jets to start Moses, it meant pushing George Fant into the backup/swing tackle role. Luckily, it gives the Jets the best tackle depth they have had in years. Fant was passable as a starting right tackle last season and is more than capable of stepping into the starting lineup in case of injury.
The Bubble: Chuma Edoga (OT), Conor McDermott (OT), Parker Ferguson (OT), Grant Hermanns (OT), Teton Saltes (OT)
Here is where things will get interesting – who will be the fourth offensive tackle? Will it be Chuma Edoga? The former third-round pick who outside of his run blocking this past season has been a liability as a blocker. Maybe it is Conor McDermott, who offers a cheaper option who is also capable of playing guard.
Or do the Jets turn to one of their three undrafted free agent tackles? Parker Ferguson comes to the Jets from Air Force, where he primarily played tackle and displayed his quick feet. Whereas Purdue product Grant Hermanns needs to work on his technique, but his experience and leadership are a major plus in the eyes of Douglas and Head Coach Robert Saleh. As for Teton Saltes, his ability to move in space is a major plus given the Jets need for athletic maulers upfront.
Final Offensive Tackle Analysis
At the end of the day, the future looks bright for the Jets at tackle. A healthy Becton will be in Pro Bowl conversation all season. Moses will be an excellent leader and veteran presence along with Fant for whichever young tackle takes the fourth spot. Simply put, the Jets offensive tackles will provide Zach Wilson with quite the protection his rookie year.
Stay tuned for the next article in the 2021 New York Jets Preview series with interior offensive lineman!
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images