Wednesday, May 4, 2022

“First-round player” could fall into Jets’ lap, says draft expert

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Most New York Jets fans seem to agree on certain positions. For example, the franchise could use more help with edge rushers and wide receivers. Cornerback, on the other hand, is much more polarizing.

Should the franchise target a high-profile talent like Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner? Is Derek Stingley Jr. a bargain if he falls? How good can Bryce Hall and Brandin Echols get?

And, of course, the overarching question: how early in 2022 should general manager Joe Douglas draft a cornerback?

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The Jets have two second-round picks at No. 35 and 38. Assuming they stick with those picks, an NFL draft pick believes a first-round talent could fall to them at cornerback, and his name is Andrew Booth jr

During an exclusive interview with The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, Heavy on Jets reporter Paul Esden Jr. asked the draft analyst about the Clemson product – who Brugler New York had picked at number 35. He answered:

Brugler added a little scouting about the mystery cornerback talent who has been sidelined for the past few months.

“With Booth — I think when we boil down corner position you want a flowing athlete, you want an aggressive guy, and you want a guy who can pick up the football,” Brugler began. “Andrew Booth hits all of those things.”

He warned lightly, “There [is] some volatility in his bond with the way he handles spacing and he needs to develop that – especially for the Jets program – but you want a guy who’s a good athlete, you want a guy who’s the whole physical condition has ingredients, Andrew Booth has it. I think he would pass interestingly if he survived the second round and the Jets pick.

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Hall was a fifth-round pick in 2020 and Echols was sixth the following offseason. While targeting a cornerback in the first two rounds would create great organizational depth, does it really make sense given the potential on the roster?

Hall didn’t allow 100 yards in any game last season, according to Pro Football Focus. He went one step further and only conceded 55+ yards in four games – against Atlanta, Houston, Tampa Bay and Buffalo (Week 18).

Considering he was a team high 93 times, his allowable reception percentage was only 59.1%. Those stats ranked 28th for all NFL cornerbacks with at least 50% snaps played.

Echols was slightly worse at 64.4% but forced more turnover – something the Jets appreciate. The rookie also didn’t allow 100 yards in any game in 2021, but came close in Week 10 against Buffalo and Week 7 against New England.

Hall also ranked third for the NFL overall in pass breakups behind Marshon Lattimore and Jalen Ramsey.

This secondary undoubtedly needed an upgrade in 2022, but it got one free when Douglas and Robert Saleh brought in DJ Reed Jr. It’s now very debatable whether cornerback is still a key requirement for this roster.

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Hall also ranked third for the NFL overall in pass breakups behind Marshon Lattimore and Jalen Ramsey.

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