Lorenzo Mauldin: Turning Jets Defense from Great to Transcendent
The New York Jets defense has been one of the best 3-4 defensive fronts for years now. Minus the past couple of seasons where John Idzik ignored needs in the secondary, one could argue they’ve been one of the best defenses over the past 10 years. However, in that time, they have never really had a true edge rusher. Calvin Pace has been the premiere guy for the team for a few seasons now, but he is getting into his 30’s and simply cannot play forever. The Jets seem to have swung and missed on Quinton Coples, this is his last year to really step out. In the 3rd round of this year’s draft, the Jets took a player that I believe can transform this defense from great to transcendent.
Lorenzo Mauldin, at 6’3 and 260 lbs. has all the prototypical size of a 3-4 outside linebacker. Coming from Louisville, he is one of the few edge rushing prospects that actually played outside linebacker. Starting his career as an end, he transitioned to outside linebacker his senior year. He recorded 6.5 sacks, with 1 forced fumble, and 13 tackles for loss in his senior year. Keep in mind all of this came over the course of 12 games not the NFL 16. In his first year as a linebacker he did pretty well, and with the coaching of coach Bowles, he can take an even bigger leap and make an immediate impact this season.
Mauldin is a player with more heart then anyone; he overcame an incredibly tough childhood bouncing around from foster home to foster home. He has developed the mindset that nothing will stop him, and he will out work everyone to become great. This is the type of player a coach kills for. If he can refine his technique just a little bit, the Jets may have found that player on the edge that can create pressure on the QB without having to blitz. In a division where you play Tom Brady twice a year, that’s one of the most important positions.
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