When New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas arrived in 2019, the offensive line was in shambles. Despite the issues, they hadn’t selected a first-round hog molly in 14 years.
This desolate wasteland was the unstable foundation of a losing organization. Fast forward to 2022 and the line is healthy and has a few budding stars that deserved some extra attention this week.
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A well-deserved notoriety
Each NFL offseason, ESPN reporter Jeremy Fowler polled a wide range of NFL executives, players and coaches to determine the top 10 at each league position.
Sunday July 10 he revealed results for interior offensive linemen. Again, no Jets members made this elite group, but several were listed in the honorable mention category.
We’ll start with Alijah Vera-Tucker who has been listed as a “clear building block” for the future.
“Vera-Tucker played 975 offensive snaps as a rookie for the Jets, a clear baseline for an offense that could be on the rise in 2022. Vera-Tucker ranked 62nd among 68 guards in catch rate. race bouldering victory last year (62.5%), and his bouldering success rate of 90.5% was 43rd. His presence in the honorable mention category is more a recognition of the direction of his career than a reward for his rookie year.
AVT was an absolute road leveler in the running game, but left meat on the bone in the passing sets of his rookie season. Although when you talk to a number of NFL personnel, they believe he’s a future All-Pro and a multiple-time Pro Bowler and his placement on this list only solidifies those beliefs.
This offseason, the former USC stud got some help through free agency. Gang Green splurged on the high-end market to lure Laken Tomlinson from the West Coast to the East Coast.
It cost them $40 million over the next three years, but the talented big man is already making headlines.
“The former Detroit first-round pick had a successful five-year stint with the 49ers, winning his first Pro Bowl in 2021. “He’s a perfect example of how pattern and fit matter,” said an NFC executive. “He started slowly [in Detroit] but it was a good choice in San Francisco, which used its athleticism.
Tomlinson also earned an honorable mention spot on Fowler’s list for ESPN.
A good bet to make
The Jets haven’t been very good for the past 11 years and have had several empty ballots when it comes to the Pro Bowl.
Although if you were placing future bets before the 2022 season, the position group you might want to take a look at is the inside offensive line.
AVT turned heads as a youngster and now he will learn from one of the best guards in the business.
Vera-Tucker will switch from left side to right side so Tomlinson can stay in his natural left guard position. Tomlinson is the senior statesman and is coming off a Pro Bowl campaign. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, the line seems appropriate here.
He also talks about what confidence the Jets coaching staff is that AVT is so versatile they can put him anywhere and he won’t miss a beat. To AVT’s credit, he handled the move like a champion and highlighted his days at USC where he had experience on the offensive line.
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