The New York Jets have an incredibly crucial task in front of them over the next year or two. They must develop Zach Wilson, who had a genuinely horrendous rookie season. To do that, the Jets must spend money in the 2022 NFL free agency period to surround him with the best environment money can buy. Inserting Brandon Scherff into the starting lineup at right guard is a darned good start.
2022 NFL Free Agency: Why Brandon Scherff is a fit for the New York Jets
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is quite possibly the most royal name in sports. It should surprise no one that when everyone was taking the opt-out in 2020, he returned to Canada to be an actual medical doctor working with COVID patients. However, after returning to football in 2021, he wasn’t the same player.
Meanwhile, Scherff has missed a lot of time due to injury over the years. Yet, that’s not surprising given where he plays eight home games per season. From 2015 to 2019, only the New Orleans Saints placed more players on injured reserve than Washington.
Unfortunately, the Jets were just below them. Nevertheless, a change of scenery could help Scherff remain healthy. He’s an All-Pro talent when he is.
The wide zone scheme fit
Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur hails from the Walsh-Shanahan-Shanahan coaching tree. Kyle Shanahan and newly minted Super Bowl-winning head coach Sean McVay are beginning to make a name for their own branches, including LaFleur.
A big part of that offense is the wide zone rushing attack that’s so prevalent in their repertoire. Robert Saleh brought John Benton from San Francisco to New York to be the offensive line and run game coordinator for the Jets.
Scherff spent the first few seasons in Washington pulling a lot. There was a ton of GT counter with Adrian Peterson, and most of the rushing attack was gap-oriented. But Ron Rivera brought in John Matsko as the offensive line coach. There was a bit of everything in Washington’s rushing attack, but they ran way more zone than in years past.
Scherff also played in a zone-heavy scheme at Iowa, albeit back in 2015. But he played well when healthy for Washington under Matsko’s system. He’s a great athlete with an outstanding awareness of positional leverage. His hands are powerful, and he’s also a fantastic interior pass protector.
Building the interior is imperative
The tackle spot is a difficult discussion to have for the Jets. They can’t attack left tackle in the 2022 free agency period because they already have George Fant and former first-round pick Mekhi Becton. Becton is a good player, but the rumors about his weight issues are loud.
Maybe the Jets stick with Morgan Moses on another inexpensive deal on the right side, or perhaps they run with a rookie. Either way, the interior in this zone scheme must be strong, or the offense risks allowing defensive tackles to blow up runs before they can get started.
Alijah Vera-Tucker should continue to grow at left guard, and Connor McGovern is a fine center. Adding Scherff should help the rushing attack tremendously.