Bob Leverone/Associated Press
Starters: Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison, Sheldon Richardson
Key Reserves: Kenrick Ellis, Leger Douzable, Kerry Hyder (rookie), Zach Thompson (rookie)
The New York Jets have a scary front three anchoring Rex Ryan's 3-4 defense. If you're playing in the AFC East, this is the type of line you never want to see.
What works so well for the Jets? The basis of their front three is the athleticism. Sheldon Richardson moves like an outside linebacker and is built like a defensive tackle. His explosion and flexibility are unreal, and they allow him to be a pass-rusher and run-stopper playing a 5-technique role.
If you slide your protection to stop Richardson, you have to worry about Muhammad Wilkerson on the other side of the line. Wilkerson, like Richardson, is a dynamic and versatile mover with the skills to beat you in a number of ways. And if you manage to stop the two ends, good luck handling Damon "Snacks" Harrison in the middle.
Harrison emerged as one of the best gap-plugging big men in the game last year, and he'll get after the quarterback too if he's asked to crash the pocket.
The Jets have good depth, too, but the focal point of the entire defense (and honestly, the entire team) is this front three.