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New York Jets draft preview: Offensive line

This is the fifth installment of our position-by-position breakdown as we head to the April 30 draft:

Position: Offensive line

Current personnel: D'Brickashaw Ferguson (signed through 2017), Nick Mangold (2017), Breno Giacomini (2017), James Carpenter (2018), Oday Aboushi (2016), Brian Winters (2016), Willie Colon (2015), Ben Ijalana (2015), James Brewer (2015), Corey Hilliard (2015), Dakota Dozier (2017), Dalton Freeman (2016), Wesley Johnson (2017), Sean Hooey (2015).

Projected starters: LT Ferguson, LG Carpenter, C Mangold, RG Colon, RT Giacomini.

Departures: None.

Total cap charge: $26.9 million (ranking: 3rd)

Scouting report: In free agency, the Jets signed one starter (Carpenter) and bolstered their depth, adding Brewer and Hilliard, but they still could be looking to add a major piece. Right guard and right tackle are the positions to watch. Colon, near the end of his career, isn't guaranteed a starting job or a roster spot, for that matter. Giacomini graded out as the 51st-best tackle in the league, according to Pro Football Focus analytics. Age is starting to become a factor on the line. By October, four of the five projected starters will be at least 30 years old. It's too soon to start drafting replacements for Ferguson and Mangold, both 31, but there will come a day when it's time. It will be interesting to see how new general manager Mike Maccagnan values the draft picks from the previous regime: Aboushi, Winters and Dozier. Based on his moves so far, he's skeptical.

All things considered, the line performed reasonably well last season. The Jets finished eighth in yards per rush (4.5), 14th in rushing yards before contact (2.6) and 11th in pass protection (50.7 percent). The latter is defined as the percentage of plays the offense controls the line of scrimmage on pass plays, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Nearly one-third of their sacks were deemed "coverage" sacks, meaning the line probably wasn't at fault. Penalties were a problem. Colon and Giacomini were the team leaders, combining for 22.

The last lineman drafted: Dozier was selected last year in the fourth round. He was inactive for every game.

Potential targets: Most of the speculation is focused on guard/tackle Brandon Scherff (Iowa), who is projected anywhere from the fifth to 15th pick. He's regarded as one of the safest picks in the draft, although his true value will be based on whether teams see him as a guard or tackle. He played left tackle in college, so he faces the prospect of learning a new position. If the Jets envision him as a long-term answer at right tackle, he will be in play with the sixth pick.

The Jets conducted visits with least two other first-round prospects, Andrus Peat (Stanford) and Ereck Flowers (Miami), both of whom played left tackle. They could be options in trade-down scenarios. ESPN analyst Jon Gruden raves about Flowers, saying, "I can't tell you how much I love Flowers at left tackle." At 6-foot-6 and 329 pounds, Flowers has the frame and skill set to play right tackle. The best natural right tackle is T.J. Clemmings (Pitt), a product of Patterson Catholic (N.J.) High. He took a "local" visit to the Jets. La'el Collins (LSU), another first-round prospect, has appeal because he has experience at left tackle and left guard. He could play inside while serving as Ferguson's heir apparent. Keep an eye on tackle Tyson Chandler (North Carolina State) as a late-round option; they Jets gave him a private workout.

Need rating (scale of 1 to 10): Tackle -- 8; guard -- 9; center -- 1.