But another need of note is clearly inside linebacker.
When you think about it, the Jets ILB positions are somewhat unstable. Not one, but both of them. Jonathan Vilma is a tremendous 4-3 middle linebacker - one of the best in the league. But he's a work-in-progress as a 3-4 inside linebacker, and in the long run, might not be a great fit for the system. This year will tell us a lot about whether the Vilma 3-4 experiment is going to work.
And who is going to start next to him, that's a mystery. Eric Barton and Brad Kassell platooned at that spot last year, and neither player stood out. And you get the sense that Barton might not be an Eric Mangini favorite. According to Daily News reporter Rich Cimini, the Jets dangled Barton in trade talks this off-season. Kassell doesn't seem to have the speed to handle a starting role. He's best suited to a backup/special teams role.
Also in the mix on the inside is 2006 draft pick Anthony Schlegel. He was inactive for the majority of last season, and it looks like the Jets might have reached, selecting him in the third round last year. There is no questioning his toughness. In fact, he might be the toughest player on the Jets. He is a ferocious hitter. The issue with Schlegel is his ability in coverage. He has stiff hips and limited speed, and isn't particularly effective playing in space.
So as you can see, the Jets really need to add another inside linebacker in this draft, and that is why Penn State's Paul Posluszny could be of interest when they are on the clock at 25. Poslusny has the Jets written all over him. He is the poster child for the type of player Tangini loves. He is tough, smart, versatile, has great character and is also a tremendous leader. On top of that, Poslusny has experience playing inside in a 3-4 defense. That is the role he played in Penn State's newly-installed system last season. Don't be shocked if the Jets give him a long look at 25.
If the Jets pass on Poslusny in the first round, a second round-type inside linebacker they seem to like is Michigan's David Harris. At 6-2, 243 pounds, he's got the perfect size to play inside in a 3-4 defense. He also runs a 4.6 forty, which also makes him very appealing.
Another inside linebacker the Jets like, who could be a second day consideration, is Cal's Desmond Bishop. He, like Poslusny, is right out of Central Casting to play for Tangini. He's smart, tough and a quick study.
So when you talk about Jets needs this week leading up the draft, you might want to include inside linebacker on the list.
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