Jets GM Joe Douglаs: No. 1 Goаl Wаs to Fortіfy Offensіve Lіne - Sport News

Jets GM Joe Douglаs: No. 1 Goаl Wаs to Fortіfy Offensіve Lіne

After playing 13 offensive line combinations last season, Jets GM Joe Douglas swiftly retooled the group with three additions in five days once the league’s negotiating window opened March 11.

New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas speaks during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

“I think the primary objective this offseason was fortifying the offensive line,” Douglas told reporters Monday at the NFL League Meetings in Orlando. “I think that was goal one. I feel good about what we were able to accomplish there and a few of the other objectives leading into the offseason, but still a lot ahead.”

Douglas first signed LG John Simpson, whom he described as a “big, explosive guy who loves football” before he traded for Simpson’s teammate, RT Morgan Moses, who played with the Jets in 2021. Douglas later reeled in a big fish in eight-time Pro Bowl LT Tyron Smith.

“From a mental makeup standpoint, really excited about the group,” HC Robert Saleh said. “We know Morgan, he’s a warrior. We will get to know Tyron as we go, but when he is on the field, he is pretty darn good and John Simpson, I mean he’s a war daddy, so we’re excited to get him in the building also.”

Smith, 33, is an All-Pro player when healthy, but he hasn’t played a full season since 2015. Moses, 33, played through a torn pec last season (he started 14 games) and underwent surgery about two months ago. Douglas could continue to add linemen throughout the offseason, but Saleh is confident in the backups that include Carter Warren and Max Mitchell.

“Because of all the injuries [last season], a lot of guys got a lot of playing time that weren’t expected to, so we feel really good about the guys who played a year ago as part of building our depth,” Saleh said. “They still have room to grow into even better football players, so we feel really good about the depth of our offensive line. You’re not just going to throw those guys away. They are part of something last year and continue to work with those guys, continue to help them build.”

Warren, a fourth-round pick out of Pitt in 2023, started five games as a rookie and took 403 snaps after missing OTAs and nearly all of training camp with an injury.

“I thought he did an admirable job,” Saleh said. “I’m not going to say it was perfect, but you see signs of his footwork, his strength. You feel like if he could just put it in an offseason, stay healthy and get stronger, he will take another jump. So there’s a lot of promise in that individual. Like his mental makeup, his mindset, so there is hope with a strong offseason he could do something.”

When asked how beneficial it is that Warren can learn from Smith, he added: “Significant. They’re both made up the same way. They’ve got tremendous length.”

Douglas will always look to add offensive linemen. He’s drafted at least one OL in each of his four drafts as general manager, including two first-round picks (Mekhi Becton in 2020 and Alijah Vera-Tucker in 2021). This year’s draft crop is rich at tackle. With the No. 10 overall pick, one of the top tackle prospects could be available for Douglas, if he chooses to go in that direction.

“I think this is an unbelievable O-line class,” Douglas said. “It’s an unbelievable class at quite a few positions, but I think where we’re at now, we have great flexibility to go in any direction that we see is best for us moving forward. I think it opens the door to a lot of possibilities at 10.”

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