While he hasn’t executed a true splash move yet, he is very comfortable with the work he has done over the past two years.
So much so that he was willing to make a very powerful statement about a couple of his key investment opportunities.
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A Bold Proclamation
Earlier this week Douglas spoke with the media ahead of the 2022 NFL draft and was asked about the current status of the offensive line and he had some very interesting things to say:
“We feel this unit is vastly improved. Especially from several years ago. Just with the additions, we have made with a Pro Bowl-caliber player in Laken Tomlinson. We feel like we have one of, if not the best guard combinations in the league moving forward.”
Gang Green should feel confident in the interior of their line based on how much they have invested in it.
A year ago, the Jets traded up in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft to select Alijah Vera-Tucker with the No. 14 overall pick. In doing so they handed him a CBA slotted $15.8 million four-year contract.
That level of talent and star power is the best the Jets have had in the trenches in well over a decade.
Some Juicy Nuggets Perhaps?
So that kind of bold statement must mean the Jets are pretty satisfied with their work on the offensive line, right? Well not so fast.
There have been a few interesting bread crumbs thrown out by Douglas during his array of public appearances ahead of the draft. Connor Hughes of The Athletic asked JD how he weighs the best player available versus BPA at a position of need:
“I think you start getting in trouble when you’re separating the two. I think you have to take the best player available. You know Ozzie Newsome always use to say, a luxury today can be a necessity tomorrow. So if you get away from your process and your board, I think that is when you can get into a real jam.”
There are a lot of different ways to interpret that answer, but specifically honing in on that quote, sure screams to me the idea of taking an offensive tackle at No. 4 overall is very much on the table. While that player would appear to be a luxury today with Mekhi Becton and George Fant as starters, it could easily become a necessity based on a variety of factors.
While Becton didn’t show up for the start of offseason training activities, Douglas says they “feel great” about him heading into 2022 and the reason for his absence is due to his pregnant and expecting girlfriend.
Douglas later that day made an appearance on The Michael Kay Show and was asked point-blank if he would “shy away” from taking an offensive lineman at No. 4 overall knowing that player wouldn’t have a guaranteed starting gig?
“We believe in the line of scrimmage as cliche as that may be. We still think games are won and lost at the LOS. You know part of developing your quarterback is making sure he is healthy and on his feet. While it may not be a position that comes out of the gate right away it is still a very important position. We have to not just look at this year but 2023 and 2024 with what our depth chart looks like.”
This is either the biggest smokescreen in history or Douglas is letting us all know that if the right offensive lineman is there at No. 4 he fully plans on taking that player.
We can’t reiterate this enough, it is lying season, so this very well could be a smokescreen and Douglas is way smarter than any of us. However, there are enough breadcrumbs out there that make you really believe that could be the pick when the first round rolls around.