New York Jets and the idea that an elite edge rusher is necessary

There is a narrative around the New York Jets that they must have an elite edge rusher in order to succeed. However, is that, in fact, the case?

As the New York Jets head closer and closer to the NFL draft, a realization is coming true. They just may be stuck with the number three pick. The interest in moving up is just seeming less likely to be there.

This quarterback class is nothing like last year’s version, and that is the position teams trade up for. As long as Kyler Murray is chosen number one as he is expected to be, the likelihood of moving back drops way down.

As much as Mike Maccagnan wants to move down, he isn’t going to do it just because. If he doesn’t get a good offer he is going to stay at three.What

There is a theme that resounds around the fan base about where the Jets need to go from this spot.

Edge rusher. Most everyone wants an edge rusher. People want Nick Bosa, if he makes it to number three. Others want Josh Allen.

The majority wants to look at the edge. Some would like them to pick Quinnen Williams, but it’s hardly a majority at this point.

Why? Because you “need a rush off the edge”. They must have a presence on the edge, right? Time to get that elite pass rusher.

Right? Maybe not.

Granted, getting our first since the days of John Abraham would be nice. But is it necessary?

What about this idea of interior pressure instead? Believe it or not, a couple of teams are already getting away from giving big money to edge rushers, including our friends from New England (via Thomas Mays of The Ringer):

New England often looks for edge rushers in the free-agent and trade markets, but rarely dabbles in high-end talent. The Patriots have been to four Super Bowls in the past five seasons. None of those Super Bowl teams ranked higher than 23rd in percentage of the cap allocated to true edge rushers (i.e. Dont’a Hightower’s number is excluded from 2016), and twice, they’ve finished dead last (2017 and 2014). In 2018, they ranked 30th at 5.7 percent.

The Chiefs made similar moves of late, letting Justin Houston walk and trading Dee Ford to the 49ers.

Why move in this direction? Well, interior pressure is far different from edge pressure, and one could argue that it is more effective.

When the pass rusher comes from around the edge, it gives the quarterback the chance to step up in the pocket and make the throw. That’s not to say that edge rushers won’t get sacks, it’s just that they can be easier to avoid.

Inside pressure comes right into the quarterback’s face. When that happens, they leave the quarterback with less room to escape and they become easier to bring down.

Now is this the trend of the league? We will find out. But if the Jets take Williams, they could be following the footsteps of two of the league’s best teams.