The New York Jets' offseason moves become that much clearer, considering the perspective of their general manager, Joe Douglas.
Douglas said on Wednesday he feels the NFL lacks an abundance of “quality” offensive linemen, making those spots premium positions both in free agency and the NFL Draft (via Spencer Aber of USA TODAY):
“I think there’s a real shortage of quality offensive linemen in the NFL, so we’re going to do our best to get as many quality ones as we can because you can never have too many,” Douglas said on a conference call Wednesday.
Indeed, Douglas has shown a determination to sign offensive linemen over the past few weeks.
The Jets agreed to terms with three different guards and were aggressive in offering former Seattle Seahawks tackle George Fant a three-year, $30 million deal. New York also signed former Denver Broncos center Connor McGovern after McGovern ranked as one of the 10 best centers in football in 2019, per Pro Football Focus.
Connor McGovern in 2019:
-82.5 pass block grade, ranked 5th among centers
-15 pressures surrended is t-6th fewest among qualified centers
-PFF's 10th rated center#Jets #TakeFlight https://t.co/iz26UMzU2V
— PFF NY Jets (@PFF_Jets) March 18, 2020
Douglas–a former collegiate offensive lineman–has prioritized protecting quarterback Sam Darnold while also hoping these signings will open more running lanes for Le'Veon Bell.
Pro Football Focus ranked the Jets' offensive line 28th in football last year, so it is not a surprise Douglas would attack that market. It is unlikely he is done adding, either. The Jets figure to take another offensive lineman–likely a tackle–with the No. 11 pick.
Douglas hopes that a revamped line will serve as a boon for Darnold in his third season. The Jets have one of the better defenses in football, but they need the offense to make strides if they hope to compete for a playoff spot in 2020.
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