More speed. Of all the things Todd Bowles continually stressed that his defense need to find this offseason nothing was mentioned more than adding speed, particularly at linebacker. The Jets used a draft pick and signed a pass-rusher from the CFL to address that exact issue.
The Jets first-round pick, Darron Lee ran a 4.47 40, 7.12 3-cone and a 4.20 20-yard shuttle. He has sideline to sideline speed and is an excellent in coverage. Lee will be the third middle linebacker on the base 3-4 defense depth chart, but when they go to nickel — which is most of the time — Lee will play the "Mo" linebacker position and use his speed to make plays in coverage and against the run.
They also signed Freddie Bishop III from the CFL. Bishop, 26, played for the Calagry Stampeders and had 11 sacks last season. Bishop told reporters about an interesting caveat to those 11 sacks, in the CFL the defensive line has to line up a yard off the line of scrimmage. This is, of course, just another one of the CFL's tweaks to make their game more offense oriented, but even with that extra yard disadvantage for Bishop he still managed to disrupt plenty of offenses up in Canada.
Both Lee and Bishop's speed were on full display during rookie camp. Lee's first-step and change of direction is lightning quick and once he starts moving in one direction he's not slowing down until he hits his mark. Including when he accidentally went too fast and tackled full back Julian Howsare in a no-contact practice. But any coach will tell you it's better to have to work to slow them down in practice than to have to work to speed them up in a game.
Bishop's speed was just as impressive, his burst off the line consistently beat the offensive line whether it was off the edge or shooting through a gap in the middle. It was immediately clear why the Jets thought enough of him to sign him, but as impressive as his performance was on those two days don't go reading into it because he was just going up against rookie offensive lineman, many of who won't make an active roster.
With Lee and Bishop joining Lorenzo Mauldin as fast linebackers they will compliment each other nicely with David Harris, Erin Henderson and the rookie Jordan Jenkins. Bowles has his run-stuffers and edge-setters, now we get to see what he can do with speed.
Check out the video above to hear Bishop talk about rookie camp.
Chris Nimbley is the Editor-in-Chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)null