Ex-Jets OL Says Prospect ‘Sounds Exactly Like D’Brickashaw Ferguson’

D'Brickashaw Ferguson

Getty Former New York Jets left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, drafted on April 29, 2006.

Some names will always resonate in New York Jets history and D’Brickashaw Ferguson is certainly one of them.

The 6-foot-6 left tackle wasn’t just an athletic concrete pillar in human form, he was a legendary NFL ironman his entire career, missing one offensive snap in 10 seasons with the Green & White — one. That’s unheard of in the modern era.

Ironically enough, Ferguson was also the No. 4 overall pick in 2006 and the Jets just happen to pick fourth again in 2022. Could history repeat itself with Gang Green drafting an offensive tackle once again? Based on Joe Douglas’ affinity for O-linemen, it’s entirely possible.

In fact, some even believe it’s probable and an ex-teammate of Ferguson thinks that one top-10 prospect resembles the three-time Pro Bowler.

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Woody Name-Drops ‘Brick’

ESPN NFL draft analyst Matt Miller tweeted out some in-person first impressions on January 20, while scouting some of the offensive line prospects.

He defined Alabama’s Evan Neal as the prototypical “franchise left tackle” before describing Charles Cross out of Mississippi State. Miller wrote: “Charles Cross is lean and long. Almost like a defensive end. Very long arms. Big hands. Easy moving athlete.”

That prompted ex-Jets O-lineman Damien Woody to form a comparison. “Sounds exactly like D’Brickashaw Ferguson,” he tweeted in response, and that got fans going on Twitter as you’d expect.

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Is There Merit to This Comp?

Now first off, I’d like to see if Woody’s right, before diving into whether or not the Jets are even looking for another Ferguson in 2022.

The frame and build are almost a spitting image of one another. Cross is an inch shorter at 6-foot-5 but the weight and physique are on par.

He’s also a riser who had his breakout campaign in 2020. The Draft Network detailed his skill set:

Cross is an exceptional athlete with a great initial first step that makes it difficult for edge rushers to beat him around the edge. He is a fluid athlete in the open field, making it easy to redirect and match defenders’ counter moves. In the NFL, Cross’ best position will be as a left tackle who can athletically match up with some of the best edge rushers in the NFL. Cross lacks the true strength at the point of attack to be a dominant run defender, but in the right offense, he will be a great pass protector.

Let’s not forget, Ferguson was a black belt in martial arts and much of his ability in pass protection stemmed from a similar athleticism, hand placement, and technique. The former Jets LT also displayed a fierce intensity on the field.

Oliver Hodgkinson of Pro Football Network discussed Cross’ on-field demeanor: “Being lean doesn’t stop Cross from being a violent and physical tackle who exudes competitive toughness. Finishing a play doesn’t always mean putting your man in the dirt, but it appears that the Mississippi State OT did not get that memo. Cross looks to punish his opponent every play, whether in pass protection or as a mauler in the ground game.”

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Do the Jets Need a Left Tackle?

There’s no doubt about it, Cross and Ferguson bear a lot of similarities but do the Jets need a true left tackle right now? — Because that’s what Cross is.

George Fant was Zach Wilson’s blindside protector in 2021 and he did a phenomenal job at it. The veteran is still under contract for one more season if Douglas chooses to keep him and the Jets could even look to extend him by restructuring his cap-hit.

Don’t forget the elephant in the room, metaphorically — and some might say physically — speaking. That of course is Mekhi Becton, who the Jets can’t just give up on two years into his rookie deal.

The 2020 first-round pick seems motivated to get back on the field and prove his neigh-sayers wrong, but fans will wait to believe it when they see it. Right now, he’s an injury risk that you have to account for.

Even so, neither Fant nor Becton has played guard and Cross isn’t moving inside either. That’s what makes this decision so challenging. Spending a first-round pick on an offensive tackle feels wasteful when you have two starting OTs already.

I’ve said it in the past but despite the Ferguson traits, I just don’t feel like Cross is a fit unless the Jets decide to move on from Fant — or at least lower his cap-hit. Prospects like Neal and Ikem Ekwonu make a lot more sense because both are versatile enough to play tackle or guard at the NFL level, similar to Alijah Vera-Tucker.

That would give the Jets more options on the offensive line and options are always a good thing to have in the NFL.


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