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Breaking down the Defensive Line

The New York Jets finished the 2012 season with six defensive linemen on the roster and could possibly return everyone next season. The defensive line might not be the strongest unit on the team but it has the brightest future.
Quinton Coples started off slow but came on strong in the second half to conclude a very good rookie season. Coples was the teams first round pick out of North Carolina in the 2012 NFL Draft. Coples finished his season with 30 tackles and 5.5 sacks. He played in all sixteen games making two starts. Expect him to be a starter next season.

Mike DeVito is the only free agent on the line with him being an unrestricted free agent. DeVito has been with the Jets his entire career and is one of the best run stuffing linemen in the league. DeVito made $2.5 million dollars this past season where he finished with 52 tackles. He wonít cost a lot of money and should be brought back. He might not be a starter though with the emergence of Coples but he would provide great depth.

Second-year defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis still appears to be a work in progress. Ellis played in 12 games making 18 tackles. He has a lot of potential and size as he stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 246 pounds. He was drafted out of Hampton so heís still very raw. I donít think heís a starter yet so next season will be very big for him.

Sione Poíuha has been one of the most underappreciated defensive tackles in the NFL but he didnít have his best season in 2012. He missed four games and finished with 29 tackles which was his lowest since 2008. When Poíuha is healthy the Jets are a very tough team to run the ball against but due to his injuries the Jets struggled all year. The team could save $3.8 million dollars if they cut him this offseason. I still expect him to return possibly at a lower cap number.

Mo Wilkerson, New York Jets
Jeff Curry/US Presswire
The team hasnít drafted very well the past few seasons but they hit a home run with Muhammad Wilkerson. Wilkerson turned out to be one of the best 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL this year and could have made the Pro Bowl. Wilkerson finished with 70 tackles, 5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. He was by far one of the best Jets this year. Heís signed through 2015 and will be an anchor for the team for years to come.

Damon Harrison made the team as an undrafted free agent from William Penn. He is a huge man standing at 6-foot-4 and weighing 350 pounds. He saw limited action in five games as he spent most of the season inactive on game days. He could make his way into the rotation next year if DeVito or Pouíha is not on the team.
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