Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Jets free-agent target visits to AFC competitor: report

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Just before the start of the New York Jets 2022 minicamp, head coach Robert Saleh told reporters that general manager Joe Douglas was still “working on” a veteran free-agent signing like offense tackle Riley Reiff, linebacker Kwon Alexander or defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi. .

Up until this point, the Jets had had little competition in the pursuit of these three players, but today, June 21, that has changed. ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports: “Former Bengals DT Larry Ogunjobi, who had seven sacks last season, is visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers today, according to the source.”

Schefter added that Ogunjobi “recently visited with the New York Jets,” which most likely know by now.

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Ogunjobi is a very talented defenseman, but the heist on his market appears to have stemmed from a failed Chicago Bears physical, which may have been the result of one Off-season surgery on his foot. The Jets didn’t go into detail about his visit or how things are going, but it’s possible the defending AFC champion is still looking for a long-term deal.

Douglas is notoriously tight on the price he is willing to pay for a player and if Ogunjobi’s amount matched the Jets’ we wouldn’t be speculating on that situation in June.

Now the question is whether the Steelers offer something more attractive and whether the Jets are still communicating with Ogunjobi about a possible counterattack.

The 28-year-old could be the missing piece for this Jets defense in 2022. They still have a weak spot in defensive tackles alongside Quinnen Williams, and Ogunjobi would bring five years of experience – including a Super Bowl appearance last season.

With New York, Ogunjobi would likely start and could mean the end of either Sheldon Rankins or Nathan Shepherd. He’s a backfield disruptor at heart (21.5 career sacks, 41 tackles for a loss), but his run defense ratings (via Pro Football Focus) were admirable at Cleveland.

During his rookie campaign, Ogunjobi posted an impressive 83.8 mark as a running defender, but it’s been steadily downhill ever since. From 2018 to 2021, his run defense scores, in order of year, were as follows: 67.3, 60.2, 53.8, 34.7 (with Cincinnati).

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For the sake of argument, let’s say that Ogunjobi would replace Rankins in the eyes of the Jets coaching staff — meaning they don’t plan to start versatile DL John Franklin-Myers on defensive tackle on first downs.

Is an Ogunjobi and Williams pairing better than Rankins and Williams?

Most Jets fans would probably argue yes after seeing Rankins in 2021, and I wouldn’t blame you, but the analyzes tell a similar story. Both veterans are better known as pass rushers than run stuffers.

Ogunjobi was more prolific in that regard — 41 quarterback pressures and seven sacks compared to Rankins’ 24 pressures and three sacks — but the NYJ D tackle was up with an 11.1 pass rush win rate compared to Ogunjobi’s 10.0 -Win rate more efficient.

Basically, the ex-Bengal has produced more because he’s played more, which makes sense given how much Saleh rotates on the D-line.

Run defense analytics were also more or less on par. Again, Ogunjobi had more defensive “stops” with 20, while Rankins (12 stops) had the lower percentage of missed tackles on rushing plays (16.7% vs. 18.4%).

These differences are by no means mind-boggling, but that’s the point. Most Jets fans weren’t impressed with Rankins’ first year, and Ogunjobi’s recent campaign has been almost identical. Would this really be an upgrade for defensive tackle or is it just more of the same?

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Ogunjobi was more prolific in that regard — 41 quarterback pressures and seven sacks compared to Rankins’ 24 pressures and three sacks — but the NYJ D tackle was up with an 11.1 pass rush win rate compared to Ogunjobi’s 10.0 -Win rate more efficient.



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