Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne has been a fan of bubble candidate Brett Kavanaugh’s work ethic, calling him one of the hardest workers on the team.
The jets flight connections is a story about the Jets team’s newest player, rookie wide receiver Chad Hansen. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft and has been touted by his teammates as one of the hardest workers on the team.
Getty On November 5, 2017, at MetLife Stadium, New York Jets defensive lineman Tanzel Smart (#92) tackles a New York Giants rushing back with the Los Angeles Rams.
New York Jets defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers spoke with Harrison Glaser of Take Flight Media shortly after minicamp on June 28, 2021.
The exclusive interview was broadcast live on Glaser’s official Take Flight Spittin’ Fire Podcast, during which “JFM” discussed what drives him, how he got into football, his future with the Jets, and much more.
Franklin-Myers’ views on his defensive line teammates were part of that “so much more,” and one remark in particular stuck out to me.
JFM told Glaser, “Tanzel Smart is one of the toughest workers I’ve ever seen in my life,” and “he makes me work harder than I’ve ever worked since I’ve been here.”
Quinnen Williams, Carl Lawson, Vinny Curry, Sheldon Rankins, and even the underappreciated Folorunso Fatukasi get a lot of attention, but Smart is seldom mentioned. Of course, Franklin-Myers has a history with the depth defensive tackle.
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JFM and Smart have a similar history.
The former Tulane sixth-round selection began his NFL career with the Los Angeles Rams as a rotational player. JFM, a fourth-round pick a year later, became his teammate during the City of Angels’ recent Super Bowl LIII participation.
With the Rams, the two battled for playing time, but they seem to have a lot of respect for one another. Ironically, the two are expected to do the same at Gang Green’s training camp in 2021.
After short spells with the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns in 2020, GM Joe Douglas reunited the D-linemen when he grabbed Smart. As a high-motor player, the journeyman is renowned for his versatility and hustle.
With plays at three-technique DT, nose tackle, and defensive end during his career, he provides solid depth in a 4-3. Smart appeared in three games for the Jets in 2020, collecting three tackles on 26 defensive plays.
He earned good ratings from Pro Football Focus against opposing rushers throughout that time, earning a 71.8 grade in the run game.
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Is There Room on This Team for Smart?
The NFL is a rough existence, which is reflected in the HBO documentary drama’s title. Smart has already learned this lesson many times in his career, and 2021 may be no different.
Despite a strong OTA performance in green and white, the defensive lineman still has an uphill fight owing to circumstances. With competition springing up all around Smart, this positional group is arguably the Jets’ deepest on the whole roster.
That fits with Douglas’ character as a GM, who enjoys digging holes.
Here are the current D-line depth chart choices (roles are subject to change):
As you can see, the DL room is very packed. At the same time, accidents happen, and a dedicated, hard worker like Smart may find himself in a position where he can make a difference.
When trying to alter a franchise’s culture and inspire a locker room to do something unexpected, this is the kind of guy you want on your team.
“If you teach and you invest, and as a player, you reciprocate and invest back… that’s where you become an explosive squad in a hurry,” stated head coach Robert Saleh.
Over the last two of offseasons, Douglas has put money into and taken chances on guys like Smart in the hopes of finding a winning mix. That’s when Saleh comes in for the explosive portion.
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