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Time for Jets to create Nick & Brick succession plan on offensive line?

Reaching into the New York Jets mailbag for a question of the week:

@RichCimini: I think general manager Mike Maccagnan quieted the chatter recently by downplaying the need to make drastic changes on the offensive line. A lot of folks want him to replace a starter or two, but he said he'd like to keep the group intact. He said he might look to draft a developmental player -- somebody in the mid- to late rounds -- but he certainly didn't sound like a man ready to swing the wrecking ball.

I think six of the seven players who started games last season will be back, the exception being Willie Colon, a pending free agent who probably will retire. In other words, you could see the same starting five that ended the season: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, James Carpenter, Nick Mangold, Brian Winters (Colon's injury replacement) and Breno Giacomini. The seventh guy, in case you're wondering, is Wesley Johnson, who started two games when Mangold was banged up.

No, I don't see Maccagnan making a free-agent splurge. He'll sign a couple of free agents, but they'll be minimum-salary players to fill out the depth. I can see him going with the same group, hoping to squeeze another year out of the Ferguson-Mangold era. They're both 32 years old, which isn't ancient for offensive linemen, but the two mainstays are entering the twilight of their careers. The Jets have to start planning for the future.

Except for Carpenter, no one had an outstanding season, but I think the unit played at a B-minus level -- a case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. They fit well in Chan Gailey's system and did an especially good job in pass protection.

That said, there could be a couple of interesting tackles on the board when the Jets are picking at No. 20: Jason Spriggs (Indiana) and Taylor Decker (Ohio State). Maccagnan is a best-player-available guy, so I wouldn't rule out a lineman, but the guess here is that he'll wait. This will be a speed draft for the Jets, not a size draft. My prediction is, he'll stick with his aging group, try to develop his backups and add somebody in the third or fourth round.