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Let's break down how the Jets' personnel packages and defensive rotations will shape out for the 2018 season given the players they acquired in the offseason.
While the Jets are typically regarded as a 3-4 team, their defense has built-in flexibility because an outside linebacker can put his hand in the dirt to enable the Jets to also play with a four-man front with the same personnel. New York has also operated out of more conventional 4-3 formations at times over the past few seasons.
In their primary package, the Jets will have Darron Lee and Avery Williamson at inside linebacker with Williamson taking over Demario Davis' role as the mike linebacker. Jordan Jenkins seems likely to take most of his reps on the strong side, but the primary weak side rusher role is still up for grabs. Josh Martin had this role at the end of last year, but the expectation is that the Jets will bring in more options.
Leonard Williams will obviously figure in a prominent role on the defensive line. With Muhammad Wilkerson gone, there should be a competition for starting roles at the other spots, unless the Jets bring an obvious candidate to start in over the next few months. Steve McLendon is likely to start at nose tackle, but it's also feasible he could move to defensive end so someone like Mike Pennel or Deon Simon can start at nose tackle.
Their secondary will be straightforward with Trumaine Johnson at one cornerback position and Morris Claiborne presumably taking over for Buster Skrine as the other starting corner, as long as he's healthy. Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye will play safety -- Maye typically playing deep, Adams coming forward when the Jets need an eighth body in the box.
The Jets, like most NFL teams, actually operate out of the nickel package more often than the base defense these days. That's where Skrine will enter the game for one of the defensive linemen and match up with a slot receiver. The Jets might need to add someone with experience of playing in the slot given youngster Xavier Coleman is probably their next most established slot corner option.
In the front six, the personnel needn't otherwise change and the Jets could opt to have anything from two to four players on the line. However, the added depth the Jets have put together could enable them to employ some players situationally here.
If they can add a situational rusher in the draft, this might be a good place for them to get pass rushing reps. If not, Dylan Donahue or Lorenzo Mauldin could see action in this role if they show progress. Xavier Cooper could be a candidate to get some interior pass rushing reps in these packages.
There's been speculation as to whether Williamson will come out of the game in passing situations, as he did at times last season. New signing Kevin Pierre-Louis could be useful in these situations, although fellow new addition Neville Hewitt might provide competition.
Last year, the Jets operated out of an interesting personnel package that saw them operate with seven defensive backs, including four safeties. Reserves Rontez Miles and Terrence Brooks, each of whom re-signed for 2018, could reprise their role. Doug Middleton, who showed promise in 2016 but was injured last year, could also look to earn a spot.
The Jets had flexibility as to how they used the other four players in these packages, with Davis often employed as a pass rusher off the edge, leaving Lee as the only conventional off-ball linebacker, although Miles or Adams would often join him in the box. Williamson could again leave the field in these packages, but this time to be replaced by a situational rusher.
Goal line and short yardage
Toward the end of last year, the Jets ran some specialist run defense packages on first and second down that employed Pennel and McLendon together on the interior, to good effect, so that should be expected to come back at times.
In the goal line package, the Jets usually only have three defensive backs in the game, sometimes just two. The safeties will stay in, usually with the No. 1 corner when there is a receiver in the huddle. There will be five or six players with their hands in the dirt, although the two ends will often be outside linebackers.
Sometimes an extra off-ball linebacker is inserted into the game. Last year, this was typically Bruce Carter, but with his excellent size, this could be a good role for Brandon Copeland.