One of the first things said about Jets HC Robert Saleh when he was hired was his eye for linebacker talent. Saleh was a LB coach himself before he became a coordinator. He has a knack for picking guys on day 2 of the draft and turning them into high level players. Superstar LBs Fred Warner and Myles Jack are prime examples of that. The Jets LB’s are not good and need to be upgraded. The Jets will likely not use a first round pick on a LB so for the sake of this exercise I decided to avoid 1st round lock/1st round fringe players Nakobe Dean, Devin Lloyd, and Christian Harris. Here are 3 possible day 2 selections for the Jets that would give the Jets some much needed help in their LB room.
LB Henry To’oTo’o, Alabama - While Christian Harris received more preseason hype, To’oTo’o has been a very exciting player for the Crimson Tide since his transfer from Tennessee. To’oTo’o at 6’2”, 225lbs has the typical build of a modern day linebacker. He possesses great explosiveness that pops off the page in the run game as he constantly disrupts plays in the opponent's backfield. He has very good length and uses it well when he is asked to blitz the QB as a pass rusher. While not an elite athlete, To’oTo’o still shows good speed and change of direction in coverage. The biggest drawback with Tototo at the moment are his instincts. Too often he diagnoses a play a split second late and it leads to missed tackles and bad coverage as he does not possess the long speed to make up for it. He is still a young player and really needs a guiding hand at the next level to sharpen his instincts because he has every tool you want for a 3 down LB in the modern NFL. While lacking proper polish To’oTo’o is an exciting ball of clay for Robert Saleh to work with and could really turn into a top player if given the proper time to develop.
LB Chad Muma Wyoming - Chad Muma has been one of my favorite player studies this draft cycle. Standing 6’3” and 245lbs, Muma is a 3 down LB who plays like every game is his last. He is a phenomenal run defender as he has great feel for diagnosing plays and always hitting his gaps. When he gets his hands on a player they go down and they go down hard. Muma is not your slow Wyoming farm boy who cannot move in space. He is smooth in coverage and shows juice rushing the passer. While it has to be mentioned that he did not play the best competition in college we will get to see Muma at the Senior Bowl this year and answer those questions. Muma is a pro-ready prospect who could play next to CJ Mosley tomorrow and the Jets defense would become a much better unit.
LB Channing Tindall, Georgia - Tindall is another player from the terrifying Georgia defense. The Jets defense has far often lacked speed all over the field. Tindall fixes that problem real quick. Tindall is a legit 4.4 guy whose sideline to sideline speed is something that would severely help this Jets defense. Tindall is a great run blitzer much like team teammate Nakobe Dean and is part of why running the ball on Georgia this year has been a death sentence. Tindall’s processing unfortunately leaves a lot to be desired. It leads to bad lapses in coverage and sometimes runs himself out of the run fit which is just something Jets LB’s cannot keep doing if they want this run defense to get better. Tindall’s athleticism can bail him out sometimes and his splash plays are so captivating. But he is a project that is going to need a lot of work to become a steady 3 down LB in this league. He provides Robert Saleh his greatest risk out of this group but without a doubt also provides him potentially with his greatest reward.
Jarrad Davis is an abomination who will not be on the team next year. Quincy Williams is a nice depth piece who should not be a starter. The Jets need to upgrade this room and any of these 3 players should have Jets fans excited about how they can grow under Robert Saleh.