New York Jets Shaking Up Some Defensive Positions

By Dan Pizzuta
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

When the New York Jets drafted Sheldon Richardson with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the pick was puzzling.

Richardson was listed as a defensive tackle, but at under 300 pounds, would most likely not be an effective nose tackle in a 3-4 defense like the the one the Jets run. If Richardson couldn’t play inside, it seemed the plan was to convert him into a defensive end. The problem was the Jets had two young, productive players at the ends already in Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples. That would instantly make Richardson a rotation player which is not something teams will spend a first round pick on unless they’re the New York Giants.

The Jets have announced a plan that, in theory, makes sense of all of this.

The plan is to move Coples to outside linebacker for the 2013 season. Moving Coples to linebacker fills a hole the Jets have at that position while also opening up a spot for Richardson on the defensive line. Again, in theory this makes sense.

There are still parts of this plan that raise questions. If the Jets realized they needed to create a pass rush from the outside linebacker position, why not just draft an outside linebacker? Jarvis Jones was on the board at No. 13 when the Jets selected Richardson. Why not draft Jones to play linebacker and keep Coples at a position where he thrived — 5.5 sacks — in his rookie season? Instead, the Jets are moving two players to new positions.

At least there is a plan in place for players brought in — not always something the Jets can say. If there’s a defensive coach who can make this work, it’s probably Rex Ryan, but there had to have been an easier way fill out the defense than this.


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