- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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This is the fifth installment in a position-by-position analysis of the New York Jets as they prepare for the draft:
Position: Offensive line
Current personnel: D'Brickashaw Ferguson (signed through 2017), Nick Mangold (2017), Breno Giacomini (2017), Willie Colon (2014), Brian Winters (2016), Ben Ijalana (2014), Caleb Schlauderaff (2014), Oday Aboushi (2016), William Campbell (2016), Jacolby Ashworth (2015), Dalton Freeman (2016), Patrick Ford (2016).
Projected starters: Ferguson, Winters, Mangold, Colon, Giacomini.
Newcomers: Giacomini (Seattle Seahawks).
Highest cap charge: Ferguson, $11.7 million
Scouting report: The offensive line got a bad rap last season because the Jets allowed more sacks (47) than all but five team. But that stat is misleading because they played with a rookie quarterback who frequently held the ball too long and receivers who couldn't get open. In fact, the Jets were No. 3 in the pass-protection rankings, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Their pass-protection rate was 52.7, which is defined by the percentage of plays in which the offense controlled the line of scrimmage on pass plays. In addition, 24 percent of their sacks were deemed "coverage" sacks, 11th in the league -- an illustration of the receivers' inability to gain separation. The only new starter is Giacomini, who may be more physical than Howard but could be a downgrade in pass protection. We'll see. Right guard is a concern because of Colon's durability issues. Obviously, they need a better year out of Winters, who struggled as a rookie.
Last OL drafted: Tackle/guard Aboushi (fifth round) and guard Campbell (sixth) were "future" picks in last year's draft, as they basically redshirted as rookies.
Potential targets: This draft should tell us how much they believe in Aboushi and Campbell as heir apparents. If the Jets see upside with them, they shouldn't have to pick a lineman until the later rounds, if then. They haven't been linked to any of the top prospects, but they're showing interest in several late-round possibilities -- guard Ryan Groy (Wisconsin), guard/tackle Dakota Dozier (Furman), tackle Matt Feiler (Bloomsburg), center Gabe Ikard (Oklahoma) and center James Stone (Tennessee). Last year was a big-body draft. This year, the big fellas aren't a priority.
Need rating (scale of 1 to 10): 4.