You always have to take what NFL people say at the podium with a grain of salt.
That is especially true during lying season ahead of the NFL draft.
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Not Great Bob
Douglas and assistant GM Rex Hogan met with the media to provide some pre-draft media access this week.
During that conversation, JD was asked about Carl Lawson’s inevitable return and whether or not he is factoring in a fully healthy version of him in his defensive plans:
“I’m absolutely factoring in a healthy Carl Lawson. I think everyone in here saw what Carl was doing in training camp and OTAs last year. He was one of the best players on the field for us and was going to be an impact player for us. I absolutely can not wait and I think I can speak for everyone in saying I can’t wait to get him back on the field and have him roaring off the edge.”
That is a very dangerous mentality to have heading into the draft.
The former member of the Cincinnati Bengals appeared by all accounts to be the best player on the field during the summer. He was in great physical shape and consistently found his way into the backfield.
Gang Green invested $45 million over a three-year period back during free agency and they were getting an immediate return on that investment during the preseason and training camp.
However, things took a turn for the worst during a joint practice with the Green Bay Packers when Lawson fell into a heap. The Jets’ worst fears were realized when Lawson was diagnosed with a ruptured Achilles which ruled him out for the entire season.
The team is hopeful he will be ready by training camp in late July, but this is a very serious injury Lawson is coming back from.
Why It Is Such a Big Deal
If Douglas is truly factoring in a healthy Lawson into his defensive plans this offseason that is completely naive.
Regardless of how Lawson looks right now and what the medical people are telling the Jets, none of us have any idea how he will bounce back.
Lawson has been dealing with injuries throughout his career dating back to his time at Auburn when he tore his ACL the first time, he tore it again with the Bengals, and now he is recovering from a ruptured Achilles.
Factoring in a healthy Lawson isn’t only crazy it is overly optimistic.
The Jets should have a hope for the best and expect the worst kind of mentality this offseason. You can’t rely on a healthy Lawson and thus minimize the importance of the EDGE rush need this offseason.
It is far too big of a need and absolutely paramount to the success of head coach Robert Saleh’s defense. We saw last year with all of the injuries they went through what a defense with no pass rush looks like and it was ugly during the backstretch of the season.
The Jets need to come out of the 2022 NFL draft with two brand new EDGE rushers. If you head into the season and Lawson is remotely healthy then that is gravy, but you can’t rely on it.
Doing so would be a major mistake and would provide a false sense of security at EDGE that doesn’t really exist.