This is one in a series of articles that will also appear in the New York Jets 2020 Yearbook, which will be published later this summer.
Heading into this offseason, Jets' general manager Joe Douglas had several imperatives. One was to fortify the protection around third-year quarterback Sam Darnold.
"When I first met Sam's parents before the first preseason game" last August, Douglas said, "I promised them I was going to do everything in my power to take care of Sam with protection and playmakers."
Last season, the Jets' offensive line struggled to find its rhythm in helping Darnold, his receivers and RB Le'Veon Bell move the ball. Battling through multiple injuries, they started 11 players along the line, with the only returning opening-day starter being RG Brian Winters.
However, once the offseason began, Douglas started to make good on his promise to the Darnolds. His commitment to improving the O-line resulted in signing four free agents — T George Fant, C Connor McGovern, G Greg Van Roten and G Josh Andrews — and re-signing G Alex Lewis.
The GM also plucked one of the top four available tackles in the 2020 NFL Draft in Louisville's Mekhi Becton at No. 11 overall and added Charlotte's T Cameron Clark in Round 4.
"Our focus is doing everything we can to help Sam succeed," Douglas said. "The one thing we didn't want was a situation where he was just going to have to be under fire all the time with protection issues. We're going to keep it simple with guys that are smart, tough and versatile. We're going to keep addressing that moving forward and we're going to keep addressing playmakers moving forward."
Playing behind a revamped line heading into 2020, Darnold will have the opportunity to find more success in year three.
See the Jets OL in Images Leading Up to the 2020 Season