Next up on our rankings of the top 25 New York Jets is the team’s longest tenured player (if only by a couple hours), left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Ferguson has been a stalwart at the left tackle position since the team took him 4th overall in 2006, starting every single game and making three Pro Bowls.
Ferguson was considered an elite left tackle at one point in his career, but his play has begun to drop off a bit from that point. One of Ferguson’s greatest attributes has been his athleticism, as he has the lateral quickness and footwork to stay in front of edge rushers and protect the blind side. However, Ferguson has slowed just a bit with age, and it showed against elite speed rushers like Chandler Jones of the rival New England Patriots. This area is certainly a concern going forward, but Ferguson remains one of the better left tackles in the NFL.
The Jets gave up the sixth most sacks in the NFL last season, though it would be unfair to lay the blame at Ferguson’s feet. Geno Smith was known for holding the ball far too long, and Ferguson was forced to cover for Brian Winters‘ poor play frequently. However, it was clear that he wasn’t as dominant as he once was, and the Jets can’t afford to have Ferguson’s play slip below his normal high standards. Ferguson has huge cap hits over the next four seasons, but the dead money declines significantly every year. The Jets aren’t likely to release Ferguson, but if his play takes a significant decline than it will certainly have to become a discussion.
However, that discussion is not likely to become a concern for couple years. Ferguson remains a very good left tackle, and although age will take its toll, there is no reason to believe that the Jets have anything significant to worry about. Ferguson has been excellent since they drafted him, and he is sealing his place as one of the greatest players in team history. Ferguson is one of the few players 30 or older that the Jets rely on heavily, and they need him a couple more strong seasons from him as the rest of the team continues to develop. Ferguson still has enough left in the tank to play at a high level, and he remains one of the Jets best players. He may not be quite at an elite level anymore, but Ferguson certainly deserves his spot near the top of 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, No. 16 Willie Colon, No. 15 Dee Milliner, No. 14 Calvin Pace, No. 13 Breno Giacomini, No. 12 Nick Folk, No. 11 Demario Davis, No. 10 Jeremy Kerley, No. 9 Chris Johnson, No. 8 Chris Ivory, No. 7 David Harris