Monday, July 6, 2015

How Sheldon Richardson's Suspension Affects Every Jets' Position Group

By n
Photo credit: CBS Sports
ow, everybody has certainly heard about Sheldon Richardson’s four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Everybody has also heard about how drafting Leonard Williams sixth overall has been further justified – like it somehow wasn’t already – and how Muhammad Wilkerson now has some extra leverage in long-term contract discussions. While all of that is certainly true, the reality of the situation is that Richardson’s suspension doesn’t just affect Wilkerson and Williams.

The Jets entered this season with hopes of being a top-five NFL defense, and legitimate reason to believe they could be the league’s best. Richardson’s suspension, while not a death blow to the team’s defensive line due to their impressive depth up front, will surely impact a group of linebackers that is average, at best, along with the team’s revamped secondary. Let’s take a look at how missing Richardson will affect each level of the defense.

Defensive Line

The defensive line, while feeling the most direct impact from losing arguably its best player, may actually be the group least affected by Richardson’s suspension thanks to the presence of Williams. Defensive ends that stand 6-5, 302 pounds with 34 5/8-inch arms and run sub-5.00 40-yard dashes don’t come along often; Williams is a freak. What he isn’t is an explosive pass rusher like Richardson, as Williams had just 20 sacks in his final three seasons with USC, including seven as a senior.

Read the rest at Pro Football Spot

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