Last yesterday afternoon, the Jets official Twitter account announced that the team had acquired former Carolina Panthers OT Jeff Otah. The Jets traded a conditional 7th-round pick to the Panthers for Otah; the Panthers traded a conditional 7th-round pick to Oakland for Louis Murphy.
Otah was a first round pick for the Carolina Panthers in 2008, and was considered by the majority of scouts to be the top tackle prospect at the time he was drafted. Unfortunately, the 6-foot-6, 340-pound Otah has struggled with injuries over the last two seasons, spending all of 2010 on injured reserve and starting just four games in 2011.
Despite only starting 31 of his 35 games, it is believed that if Otah is healthy, he can be one of the best run-blocking tackles in the NFL, something that would seem to fit perfectly with the Jets revived commitment to Ground and Pound.
As to the status of Otah’s knee, word is that the Panthers were trying to move Otah because it swelled up last month during OTAs. Per ESPN’s Rich Cimini, Otah went to orthopedist James Andrews (he who is famous for performing major surgeries and advising athletes in times of dire need), who said his knee is structurally sound. Otah has not yet passed the training camp physical; Cimini speculates that will happen on Thursday.
At the end of the day, this is a solid move. Otah’s contract is not guaranteed, so worst case scenario — he is injured, unable to compete/perform and the team can just cut him. If Otah is healthy, he can push Hunter back into the position he is best suited for — a back-up.
Let’s not forget the Jets did try to move Hunter in the offseason, per Manish Mehta of the Daily News. Apparently those trade discussions with at at least 1 NFC team did not go far, and when the team was left with Hunter as their best option, they forged ahead with their love campaign. And despite the coaching staff’s best effort to sell us on Hunter, the team added Otah and reportedly has Dolphins tackle Vernon Carey on their short list of alternative options at the position.
This might be a good time to remind everyone that Pro Football Focus ranked Hunter 4th worst amongst all tackles in 2011– he was the 4th worst among all tackles in total pressure allowed and the 2nd worst in sacks allowed. Gulp.
Hunter certainly deserves a second chance to prove himself, just not at the expensive of the Mark Sanchez and the offense. This is the right move. Bravo.
- S LaRon Landry (Achilles), WR Jordan White (foot), OG Terrance Campbell (hamstring), LB DeMario Davis (hamstring) will start camp on the active PUP list. Davis is listed as day to day after straining his hammy in the conditioning test on Monday.