Offensive Line: The Jets, the Combine & Beyond

Posted Feb 18, 2015

Green & White OL Has Anchors in Nick, Brick & Breno, Interesting G Situation, Could Add Newcomers to Mix

This is the seventh and last in a series of articles examining the Jets position by position in advance of the NFL Combine workouts in Indianapolis beginning Thursday, Feb. 19, and the start of the free agency signing period March 10.

Today: Offensive Line

The keystones on the Jets O-line are as they have been since the two arrived together in the first round of the 2006 draft — Nick and Brick.

Center Nick Mangold was selected for his sixth Pro Bowl and started his fourth, all in the last seven seasons, in January. D'Brickashaw Ferguson, a three-time all-star himself, has played in every game, virtually every snap, since he moved in at left tackle, and his 144-consecutive-games starting streak is longer than all but one current player in the entire NFL, QB Eli Manning.

Breno Giacomini came over as a UFA from the then-Super Bowl-winning Seahawks last year to anchor RT. Behind both tackles was Ben Ijalana, who played only a little and can become an unrestricted free agent. When Mangold got hurt late in the season, Dalton Freeman finally got a chance to play and showed the stage wasn't too big for him.

The guard situation is interesting. Willie Colon has started all 32 games and played in more than 2,100 offensive snaps since joining the Jets. He's also 31 and can also become a free agent. Will he return? We also have three young guards in varying degrees of development. Brian Winters started 18 straight games before injuring his knee. Oday Aboushi replaced him for the last 10 starts in '14 and showed his athleticism. Rookie Dakota Dozier sat and learned most of the season.

As a unit, these linemen did most of the blocking for the NFL's No. 3 rushing offense. The pass-blocking got marginally better from the previous two years in terms of pass plays/sacks allowed (11.60) but the bottom line is that for the third straight season the offense yielded 47 sacks.

The unit has some solid pieces but, like every unit on every team at this time of year, is in line to receive some newcomers either through free agency or the draft.

OL on Jets' Roster

■ G Oday Aboushi

■ G Willie Colon

■ G Dakota Dozier

■ T D'Brickashaw Ferguson

■ C Dalton Freeman

■ T Breno Giacomini

■ T Sean Hooey

■ T Ben Ijalana

■ OL Wesley Johnson

■ C Nick Mangold

■ T Brent Qvale

■ G Brian Winters

Jets' Potential OL Free Agents

■ G Willie Colon

■ T Ben Ijalana

OL in the 2015 NFL Draft

If pass rushers abound, as they do in this draft, then offensive tackles must also abound to keep them away from quarterbacks. And similar to the six defensive edge-rushing types that Matt Miller of Bleacher Report projected as first-rounders, our consensus shows five or six OTs whose names should be called by the end of Round 1.

Brandon Scherff is a big, tough tackle who's the top O-lineman in many mocker's first round, an outstanding top-10 pick (except for CBS Sports' Pat Kirwan and Dane Brugler, who have him going in the low teens). Andrus Peat's right behind in the tackle lineup, followed by lower-first-rounders La'el Collins, Ereck Flowers and T.J. Clemmings. Cameron Erving could squeeze into the first round.

As usual, guard and center aren't as strong. A.J. Cann is the consensus top guard, likely to be taken at the start of Round 2, and C Reese Dismukes is a low-second-rounder. But there is versatility among the tackles, with Clemmings and Erving possible guard candidates, and some even see Erving as a center prospect as well.

Here are eight of the top offensive linemen available in the upcoming draft, with projected round of selection, based on several online mock drafts and value boards:

■ T Brandon Scherff, Iowa (1)

■ T Andrus Peat, Stanford (1)

■ T La'el Collins, LSU (1)

■ T Ereck Flowers, Miami (1)

■ T-G T.J. Clemmings, Pitt (1)

■ T-G-C Cameron Erving, Florida State (1-2)

■ G A.J. Cann, South Carolina (2

■ T Ty Sambrailo, Colorado State (2)

Top Potential NFL Free Agent OL

There are many offensive linemen among the list of potential free agents, and many of them have been starters for multiple seasons, but only a few have put together Pro Bowl seasons, such as guards Mike Iupati and Davin Joseph, C Nick Hardwick and LT Michael Roos.

Here is an arbitrary list of six offensive linemen who can become unrestricted free agents in March:

■ RT Bryan Bulaga, Packers

■ G Dan Connolly, Patriots

■ C Nick Hardwick, Chargers

■ G Mike Iupati, 49ers

■ G Davin Joseph, Rams

■ LT Michael Roos, Titans


READ: Quarterbacks: The Jets, The Combine & Beyond

READ: CBs/Safeties: The Jets, the Combine & Beyond

WATCH: Maccagnan: Combine 'Like Christmas for Scouts'

WATCH: Combine Preview: Storylines in Indy

VIEW: Coaches and Scouts Prep for Indy

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