Jets Pushed to Replace $85 Million Starter With ‘Active Ball Hunter’

Trenton Simpson, Clemson

Getty Clemson Football defender Trenton Simpson celebrating after a game.

It might be time for the New York Jets to invest in the second level of its defense.

That is what NFL draft analyst Russell Brown of Fantasy Pros argued on my radio show on Friday, April 21.

“I am curious about one specific fit and it came to me today before the show. It’s the thought of Trenton Simpson to the New York Jets. Now obviously at [pick No.] 13 that’s a little rich for some because he doesn’t have the consensus first-round grade but as we know the first round can get a little crazy from time to time. When I think about Robert Saleh and I think about his history drafting linebackers or having [a] really talented LB, I’m very intrigued with what he would be able to do with a player like Trenton Simpson in the middle of his defense.”

The Jets still have veteran linebacker CJ Mosley who is in the middle of his record-breaking $85 million contract. However Brown thinks Simpson can replace him in the lineup.

“I get it they got CJ Mosley but they can move on from his deal after this season. I’m just very intrigued with that potential fit if I had to speak to the New York audience if you will.”

Dane Brugler of The Athletic described Simpson as an “active ball hunter with the pursuit speed and appetite for contact to fill multiple roles” in The Beast draft guide.

Trenton Simpson Is a Name to Watch for Jets During Draft

Russell Brown mentioned the possibility of Simpson at No. 13 overall for the Jets, but it is far more likely he’s an option in the second round.

Gang Green currently owns a pair of selections in that range at No. 42 and No. 43 overall respectively.

The NFL Mock Draft Database projects Simpson to be a second-rounder and his typical range is between pick No. 45 and pick No. 48.

Simpson is 21 years old but he will turn 22 before the start of the 2023 season. He played three seasons for the Clemson Football team from 2020 through 2022.

During that span, he racked up 13 sacks, 23 tackles for loss, forced three fumbles, and registered five pass deflections.

Brugler ranked him as the No. 2 linebacker in the 2023 class in The Beast for The Athletic.

The 6-foot-2, 235-pound LB impressed in the drills that he participated in at the NFL combine. He ran a blazing 4.43 40-yard dash, put up 25 reps on the 225-pound bench press, and delivered a 1.55 10-yard split.

Jets Need to Start Thinking About the Future

This offseason Gang Green re-signed Quincy Williams on a three-year deal for $18 million. He is only 26 years of age and he will turn 27 before the start of the 2023 season.

That is one young piece to build around, but the Jets could use another.

Simpson was described as a “chiseled weakside linebacker with rare speed for the position to run down the action in all directions,” according to NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein.

During his time at Clemson, he got experience playing both inside and outside linebacker which should be incredibly attractive to the Jets.

If Gang Green selected him he could slot in as the third linebacker starter and then next year if/when they move on from CJ Mosley, he could take his place.

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