We continue our series on players in the AFC East who have a lot to prove. Today we take a look at the New York Jets’ starting right tackle.
Wayne Hunter, Jets
2011 stats: 16 starts
What he must prove: Hunter must prove he's a starting right tackle. The 2011 season was his first as a full-time starter, and it was a disaster. Despite his size (6-foot-5, 318 pounds), Hunter was pushed around too often. He gave up a lot of sacks and was inconsistent week to week. Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez suffered a career-worst 39 sacks last year, and there were times I didn't think Sanchez would finish the game. Hunter's struggles had a lot to do with it. New York's coaching staff said Hunter looks ready for a better season. But it remains to be seen if this is valid or just lip service.
Walker's 2012 outlook: I'm not too optimistic about Hunter's prospects this season. He has a long way to go based on what I saw last season. Hunter and Marc Colombo, who recently retired, were by far the two worst tackles in the AFC East last season. It would be surprising if Hunter suddenly becomes a consistent right tackle -- but any improvement on Hunter's part is an upgrade. Maybe Hunter plays better in two or three more games than he did last year. That would make a difference for the Jets.