It was defense that helped Rex Ryan successfully lead the Jets to back-to-back AFC Championship games when he first got to New York. It might have to be defense that saves him for the time being. Despite having Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples already as the most consistent pass-rushers on the defensive end, both being recent first round picks, are the New York Jets still looking in that direction in 2013?
Perhaps. They still did not get to the quarterback very often despite those picks.
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Coples had 5.5 sacks in 2012, Wilkerson with 5 of his own, but those totals led New York. In total, the Jets had just 30 sacks on the season and fell to a 6-10 record. That record will also give them the ninth overall pick in the draft this year and it's a class that's deep at defensive end, defensive tackle, and outside linebacker. One such name that is near the top of the class: Dion Jordan of Oregon. Rob Rang projects Jordan to the Jets in his latest mock draft:
Young defensive linemen Quinton Coples (5.5 sacks) and Muhammed Wilkerson (five) paced the unit but a more explosive edge-rusher is needed. Versatile enough to play defensive end, linebacker and even cornerback while at Oregon, Jordan would be a perfect fit.
Jordan could indeed move around the defense and provide multiple looks for Ryan. If not, they could also look to players like Alec Ogletree, Jarvis Jones, or Ezekiel Ansah. Perhaps Barkevious Mingo or Bjoern Werner, if they fall further than expected. Or maybe they don't go to defense at all.
After all, Mark Sanchez is still the quarterback.