Jets 101 recently gave New York Jets fans a chance to voice their opinions by conducting its first weekly fan poll. The question asked was "Who will have the most sacks for the Jets in 2012?" The fans have spoken, and the results are in. Aaron Maybin, Quinton Coples, Muhammad Wilkerson, Calvin Pace, Ricky Sapp and David Harris were all in the mix.
The winner by a landslide is Aaron Maybin, who received about 51.5 percent of the vote. He presents a strong case that makes him the favorite to record the most sacks for the New York Jets. For instance, his speed is a huge threat to opposing quarterbacks. Maybin's ability to get to the quarterback made it hard for some offensive linemen to keep up with him, resulting in his 6.5 sacks in 2011. Add that to the fact that he is learning the playbook and working on becoming a stronger player, and he could potentially pull off over 10 sacks this season.
The race for second and third place was so close that it was separated by one vote. In the end, Quinton Coples finished in second receiving just over 21 percent of the vote. From watching Coples play at North Carolina, his athletic ability and dominating skills are obvious. Coples has even been compared to Julius Peppers. However, professional football moves at a different pace and has a different level of intensity than college football. Fans will have to wait and see what Coples is made of at the pro level.
Coming in third place with slightly over 18 percent of the vote was last year's draft pick in the first round, Muhammad Wilkerson. After one year with Gang Green, Wilkerson has quickly become a fan favorite. He may not be as fast as many would hope, but he is a very strong player that has great potential and can be a big playmaker. Wilkerson is still a work in progress and could definitely become a sack machine for the Jets. He is strong enough and smart enough to have a big season in terms of sacks. Just give him time.
Finally, there was a three-way tie for fourth place. The players in that tie were Calvin Pace, Ricky Sapp, and David Harris. Pace definitely has the best shot out of the three. The Jets signed him in 2008 hoping he would be a big sack producer. His diminishing speed is what goes against him. Despite that, he could still provide a rush and has become one of the team's big rushers in the past four seasons. Sapp is an interesting choice considering that he has never played a game in his young NFL career. His biggest challenge will be securing a spot on the active roster because of all the competition at the linebacker position. If he does that, all he will need to do is execute on plays when needed. Sapp's chances are very low, but you never know. It is very possible that Harris could come up with the most sacks in 2012. However, he is a well-balanced linebacker, which means he will be busy with other responsibilities and limited on sack opportunities. Even though he will have other tasks to perform, don't count him out.
The Jets have become a great defensive team since Rex Ryan arrived but have not been able to generate an aggressive pass rush. On paper, it looks like 2012 could possibly the year of the sack for Gang Green.