- This is the fifth in a series of features on the 2017 NFL Draft, position by position. Today's position: Offensive Line. The Jets' OL roster synopsis is followed by five players considered top candidates at OL.
*After a season up front where lineup changes were the norm, the Jets took steps in the offseason to fortify their offensive line.
Before free agency commenced, RG Brian Winters signed a multi-year extension. Then the Jets addressed the tackle position with the signing of Kelvin Beachum and the re-signing of Ben Ijalana.
With one of the more formidable guard combinations in football in Winters and James Carpenter, tackle and center will be the spots to watch throughout the offseason and into training camp. Beachum and Ijalana will compete along with second-year pro Brandon Shell on the outside.
In the middle, the Green & White parted ways with Nick Mangold. The team liked what they saw out of Wesley Johnson last year at center and he recently signed his restricted free agent tender. Jonotthan Harrison joined the club after playing all over the Colts' line last season and he is expected to provide further competition.
Despite starting nine line combinations last season, the Jets ranked sixth in the AFC with 4.31 yards per rush. Eight different players participated in at least 20 percent of the snaps up front. Jets OL coach Steve Marshall is one of the better teachers in the business.
NFL.com Lists Its Top 50 Overall Draft Prospects for 2017
G FORREST LAMP, WESTERN KENTUCKY
An excellent left tackle at Western Kentucky, the 6'4", 309-pound Lamp will most likely make his home on the interior come Sundays. Lamp started 51 games at left tackle for the Hilltoppers with all but three coming at left tackle. He is an impressive athlete who posted a 5.0 time in the 40-yard dash and bench-pressed 225 pounds 34 times at the NFL Scouting Combine. Could Lamp vault past the tackles in this year's class and become the first OL selected?
T GARETT BOLLES, UTAHA projected first-rounder, Bolles wowed many scouts with his 4.96 40-yard dash time at the Combine.*Not always on the fast track, the once troubled 6'5", 297-pound Bolles worked as a garage door repairman after high school. As a youngster, Bolles was kicked out of five schools, used drugs and often got in trouble with the law. Then he enrolled at Snow College, a JUCO school, and flourished before moving on to the Utes. *Bolles, who started 13 games in 2016 at left tackle, will turn 25 in May as he served an LDS church mission in Colorado.
T RYAN RAMCZYK, WISCONSINAfter two seasons at Wisconsin-Stevens Point,* *Ramczyk started 14 games for the Badgers as a redshirt junior at left tackle and earned consensus first-team All-America honors. The 6'6", 310-pounder underwent surgery on Jan. 5 to repair damage in his right hip and was limited to the bench press (25 reps) in Indy. He still could be a first-round selection after helping the Badgers rush for 203.1 yards per game and allowing just a sack and eight total pressures according to Pro Football Focus.
OL CAM ROBINSON, ALABAMAWhile Robinson played left tackle for the Crimson Tide, the mammoth 6'6", 322-pound OL might project better at right tackle or inside at guard. The trenches favor the man who gets his hands on his opponent first and Robinson is an impressive early striker who follows with sheer power. Robinson was arrested last year on drug and weapons charges, but the charges were later dropped due to insufficient evidence. A team captain in 2016, Robinson started 43 games for the Tide at LT and was awarded the Outland Trophy, given annually to the nation's top interior lineman on offense or defense.
OL TAYLOR MOTON, WESTERN MICHIGANWhile much has been written about the aforementioned four prospects, it will be interesting to see how the offensive linemen will fall once we reach Rounds 2 and 3. After tuning down a walk-on opportunity at Michigan State, Moton took a scholarship at Western Michigan. The 6'5", 319-pound Moton started 25 games at RT in 2013-14, played 13 games at RG in 2015 and then went back to RT and started 14 games while earning first-team All-MAC honors. No stranger to the weight room, the powerful Moton had a max squat of 570 pounds and has no issue benching 400 pounds. Moton will have to work on his technique, but the team captain is known to have a good work ethic. Moton's ideal spot in the NFL might be guard and Dan Feeney (Indiana) and Dion Dawkins (Temple) could very well be ahead of him on some teams' big boards.