Gregg Williams has a history of coaching an aggressive, 4-3 defense, which he has been expected to bring to the Jets even though they've run a 3-4 scheme for years. That would mean not only a philosophical change, but some big personnel changes, too.
But what if Williams doesn't change the scheme at all?
Apparently, he won't be changing the Jets' base alignment, according to a report in the New York Post. Several NFL agents have speculated that's the way the Jets were leaning in conversations with SNY over the last few weeks, but the Post said the decision has been made.
If it has, that changes a lot of the outlook for the Jets when it comes to their draft plans, their free-agent targets, and even for some of their own players. Here's a look at several things that could be affected if Williams does indeed run a 3-4:
True 'edge rushers' become more important in free agency: It's still unclear who will be available, but with a 3-4 the Jets would look more towards speedy, outside rushers for pass-rush help. Think Jadeveon Clowney and Dante Fowler, rather than DeMarcus Lawrence. Speed is a must outside in a 3-4, and the Jets currently have no one to really fill the role on either side.
DE Henry Anderson could re-sign: He was available for a seventh-round pick from Indianapolis last year because the Colts switched from a 3-4 to a 4-3 and he didn't appear to be a fit. Then he came to the Jets and had seven sacks, but a scheme switch would've left him without a position again. Now the 6-6, 301-pounder could be brought back, which is good for a Jets team that needs pass rush help.
If they want an edge rusher in the draft, they might be better off moving down: The two best edge rushers in the draft - Ohio State's Nick Bosa and Kentucky's Josh Allen - sure look like they're going 1-2. If not, the Jets would be thrilled to grab one at 3. But if they're gone, they probably could drop down and still get a guy like Clemson's Clelin Ferrell and pick up extra picks.
Actually, they might be in the perfect spot at 3 to fill a bigger need up front: A big key to a 3-4 defense is a strong, aggressive beast in the middle of the defensive line. And if Bosa and Allen do go 1-2, that could leave the Jets with Alabama's Quinnen Williams, a 6-4, 295-pound monster with Pro Bowl potential. The Jets probably aren't re-signing Steve McLendon and last year's third-round pick, Nathan Shepherd, has been unimpressive. Williams could be ideal inside.
Leonard Williams would get to keep his old position … but is that good?: Williams hasn't been much of a pass rusher as a 3-4 end, and some thought he'd benefit by moving to a 4-3 defensive tackle spot. Whether he succeeds as a 3-4 end under Gregg Williams probably depends on how the defensive coordinator uses him and who the edge rusher is. Leonard Williams hasn't had much help in recent years. Getting the most out of him will be one of Gregg Williams' biggest challenges.
LB Darron Lee won't have to switch positions: He was likely going to have to play on the weak side if the Jets switched to a 4-3, and could've been tasked with a lot more pass coverage. Instead, he'll get to remain in his comfortable inside spot next to Avery Williams. That's not a bad middle of the defense, so it's good the Jets won't have to disrupt it.