If they do, it’s more likely that the Jets go the veteran route at QB, however, and the next greatest need after that is undoubtedly the men blocking for whomever that passer may be. The NYJ offensive line has been a major problem for the better part of the last decade.
Joe Douglas was — in part — hired as the general manager to fix these OL issues and so far, he has not gotten the job done in that one crucial area. He could look to correct any previous miscues in the 2023 draft, and a recent mock has Gang Green doing just that with Florida Gators big-man O’Cyrus Torrence.
O’Cyrus Torrence Mocked to Jets in Round One
The prediction came from Seth Trachtman of Yardbarker, who believes Torrence can become an offensive tackle at the NFL level.
“The inability of Mekhi Becton to stay healthy could force the Jets to address tackle again,” he reasoned. “Torrence is a mammoth transfer from Louisiana who could be perfect for a team looking to run the ball more with a wealth of backs.”
There is the question of what position Torrence would actually play in the pros. The huge 6-foot-5, 347-pound blocker has been a guard for most of his college career, but he has the physical stature to become a bookend if he’s properly groomed.
“Torrence has great overall mass and length and has proven to have traits that are translatable from the Sun Belt to the SEC,” analyst Keith Sanchez of The Draft Network detailed. “Torrence is best as a player when he can use his mass and natural strength. In the run game, Torrence does a good job of getting a quick first step to generate movement along the line of scrimmage and create openings for ball carriers. Torrence is a high-motor offensive lineman that plays through the whistle and works to finish defenders.”
Even Sanchez projected Torrence as a guard in the NFL though, calling him an “anchor in pass protection” and a physical run blocker that has the potential to become a dominant force on the ground.
Whether the consensus All-American plays tackle or guard, the Jets could use a talent like him either way. Keep in mind that Alijah Vera-Tucker has already proven he can play left or right tackle in 2022. If Douglas drafted a player like Torrence, it would give them plenty of options with Laken Tomlinson under contract and both Becton and AVT returning from injury — as well as a healthy Max Mitchell.
This Torrence selection came in at pick No. 15 of round one, and was the third offensive lineman off the board — one slot ahead of Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr. Peter Skoronski (Northwestern) and Broderick Jones (Georgia) were the first two tackles that Trachtman mocked during this projection.
State of the Jets Offensive Line Heading Into 2023
Eight out of 13 NYJ offensive linemen currently under contract are free agents in 2023 — meaning this unit could be in a serious state of flux this offseason.
The only players who are pretty much guaranteed to return next year are Vera-Tucker, Becton and Mitchell — and each are recovering from ailments. Veterans Tomlinson and Duane Brown are also under contract in 2023, but both have already been suggested as potential cap casualties this spring.
Let’s say Tomlinson and Brown stay put, that still leaves Douglas with some major work to do in the coming months.
For starters, they’ll need a new center assuming Connor McGovern doesn’t re-sign. Gang Green will also have a lack of security at tackle between Becton, Brown and Mitchell, who each have some serious age or health concerns to consider.
The main job will be replenishing depth, which could be done by re-signing backups like Dan Feeney and Nate Herbig, or drafting prospects in later rounds. However he chooses to do it, 2023 could be Douglas’ final opportunity to build this offensive line — depending on how the roster performs over the next 20 regular season games — he’s got to get it right.