Next up on our rankings of the New York Jets’ top 25 players is the first offensive lineman to appear on the list. Right guard Willie Colon was supposed to be a stop gap solution last season, but he proved to be an effective player and was brought back for this season after the Jets failed to land a top guard in free agency. Colon has been injury prone throughout his career and recently had his knee scoped, but he is expected to be fully recovered well before the start of the season.
Colon’s biggest contribution to the Jets was as a run blocker, and he helped the Jets finish 6th in the NFL in total rush yards and 10th in yards per carry. Colon lived up to his reputation for being penalty prone, but he offered enough value to overcome those mistakes. This season, Colon will be expected to start next to the newly acquired Breno Giacomini and create what should be a formidable run blocking tandem on the right side of the line.
However, it will be interesting to see what Colon’s health situation does to affect the offensive line. Second year player Oday Aboushi filled in for Colon in OTAs, and was reportedly impressive enough to be in contention for a full time starting job. On the left side, Brian Winters struggled tremendously last season, so it is possible that Aboushi could force him out. However, given that Colon is 31 years old and on a one year contract, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the young players given an opportunity if Colon can’t get healthy.
That being said, Colon should still remain the starter. His intangibles are very valuable to the Jets, as he is a leader and respected veteran both on the field and in the locker room. At this point in his career, he is not likely to become less penalty prone or more than an average pass protector. However, his ability to be a road grader for a run first team like the Jets is a major asset, and his performance last season warranted his ranking on this list.
Previously: No. 25 Bilal Powell, No. 24 Kenrick Ellis, No. 23 Geno Smith, No. 22 Dawan Landry, No. 21 Jeff Cumberland, No. 20 Antonio Allen, No. 19 Quinton Coples, No. 18 Calvin Pryor, No. 17 Michael Vick