The New York Jets are set with their five interior offensive linemen
When Joe Douglas took over as New York Jets general manager on this exact day three years ago, the offensive line needed a complete overhaul. Knowing Douglas’ background as an offensive lineman and seeing what he helped build with the Philadelphia Eagles, Jets fans expected a vastly improved offensive front over time.
To this point, the interior of the Jets’ offensive line has been completely overhauled as each member of the group was acquired by Douglas. Not only is it entirely rebuilt, but the projected three starters and two backups give the Jets offense something to feel great about.
Let’s assess the expected five players of the Jets’ interior offensive line in 2022.
How Douglas built this core
To start the build of the Jets’ interior offensive line, Douglas went out in his first free agency as the lead decision-maker and signed center Connor McGovern to a three-year deal. McGovern is coming off a solid 2021. He committed only three penalties over 972 snaps and earned an overall Pro Football Focus grade of 75.9, which ranked ninth-best out of 33 qualified centers.
In the 2021 offseason, Douglas made an aggressive move in the draft to trade up for guard Alijah Vera-Tucker. As a rookie, Vera-Tucker showed his potential. Vera-Tucker made his impact felt in the running game and allowed only two sacks in the passing game. He started 16 games at left guard and totaled 1,026 snaps.
Also in 2021, Douglas signed veteran guard and center Dan Feeney to a one-year contract. He ended up starting in five games last season and was re-signed this offseason to a fully-guaranteed deal after providing some solid depth. Feeney recently turned 28 and has 62 career starts.
To start the 2022 offseason, a big splash was made by signing Pro Bowl left guard Laken Tomlinson. He is coming off a career year with the 49ers and has plenty of experience in the offensive scheme run by Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, who worked with Tomlinson in San Francisco for four seasons.
A month ago, the Eagles released guard/center Nate Herbig. He signed with Philadelphia as an undrafted free agent in 2019, near the end of Douglas’ tenure with the team as Vice President of Player Personnel. Herbig started 17 games over the last two seasons and is still young as he turns 24 in July.
The potential of this group
From left to right guard, the three starters of this group will be Tomlinson, McGovern, and Vera-Tucker. As long as the move from left to right is smooth for Vera-Tucker, this group could be great.
Douglas has stated that he believes the guard tandem of Tomlinson and Vera-Tucker is up there with the league’s best.
Anticipate an even better year from McGovern. He will be motivated in a contract year, is entering his second season in the scheme, and now has the benefit of playing next to two highly talented players in Tomlinson and Vera-Tucker.
From there, having two experienced backups with guard/center flexibility in Herbig and Feeney is a huge plus.
Overall, from top to bottom, this is a group the Jets should get consistency from all year and not have to worry about.
Douglas has done a commendable job of significantly improving this aspect of the team. It should only help Zach Wilson in year two of his development.
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