Some around the New York Jets community believe the roster is set ahead of training camp while others worry that potential holes could lead to problems later on.
One area of need is at defensive tackle. Jets X-Factor co-founder and media member Robby Sabo highlighted this position in a recent article on training camp storylines. “Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of this Jets roster is what’s inside on the defensive side,” he voiced. “Where’s the beef?”
Sabo continued: “The Jets do not have that traditional 1-tech defensive tackle on their team… This means the Jets’ defensive line has intentionally downsized in the attempt to attack gaps in a quicker way.” He closed out his thought by suggesting that John Franklin-Myers move inside full-time, but what if there was another solution?
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Jets Writer Suggests Davison Signing
As Sabo noted, it’s become clear that the Jets have no interest in employing a clogger (or 1-tech type of DT). At least, they aren’t interested in the ones that are available after reportedly missing out on B.J. Hill and D.J. Jones in free agency.
Solomon Thomas and a Nathan Shepherd return were plan B but if those options fail, a plan C could be in order. The Jet Press writer Justin Fried suggested a free-agent connection that might make sense for this coaching staff.
The Jets could really use some extra depth at defensive tackle. Unfortunately, they did miss out on their reported top target as Larry Ogunjobi — who visited with the team in the spring — signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers last month. There are still a few options available, though. Players like Tyeler Davison, Ndamukong Suh, former Jet Sheldon Richardson, Malik Jackson, and Darius Philon remain free agents and could serve as upgrades. Davison has experience with Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich and has over 100 career games under his belt. At the very least, he could bolster the Jets’ interior run defense.
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Creative Link Could Help on Run Defense
While you’ve surely heard some of these free-agent names before, Fried’s featured target (Davison) is a new suggestion that has some creativity to it. For starters, run-defending appears to be the 29-year-old’s strength.
Although his past two seasons were below-average, Davison had a consistent stretch as a run-stuffer from 2017 through 2019. Two of those campaigns were with the New Orleans Saints and the third was with Ulbrich and the Atlanta Falcons — the current Jets DC eventually worked more closely with the Falcons’ D-line as the interim coordinator in 2020.
His top grade on Pro Football Focus was 81.3 in 2017. Davison also fits the athletic profile and build of a Robert Saleh defensive tackle. He’s not as tall at 6-foot-2, but he’s a quick and powerful 310 pounds, plus he’s got seven years of experience in a 4-3 front.
Despite receiving lower run defense marks in 2021, Davison had his best season as a tackler. He did not miss a single tackle over 358 snaps, giving him an overall score of 77.7 in that area.
The ex-Falcon is no pass-rusher, with a career-high 19 quarterback pressures in 2020, but the Jets don’t need another pass-rusher. He should be affordable too.
Davison’s most recent deal was a three-year contract that had a maximum payment of $12 million. That was in his prime, and the defensive tackle never made it to the final season of that agreement, ending up with about 50% of the potential earnings.
He wouldn’t cost nearly as much now, and there’s no reason the Jets shouldn’t bring him in to see if he’s truly an “upgrade” on Thomas, Shepherd or Jonathan Marshall in training camp.