Sunday, December 5, 2021

The next few weeks could determine the future of the jets at Cornerback

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As the season started, the New York Jets’ biggest weakness was expected to be secondary.

The hope was that the “stacked” defensive line could take some pressure off the inexperienced cornerbacks, but after a catastrophic injury to Carl Lawson, the front four seemed to crumble. Ironically, secondary school actually caught up for the first part of the campaign, despite struggling too after Marcus Maye joined the edge rusher of the injured reserve.

Combine these two key losses with veterans like Vinny Curry and Lamarcus Joyner and you have a shell of defense patrolling the field during training camp. Now both the Run Defense (28th) and Pass Defense (31st) have sunk in yards against the floor of the NFL.

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Joe Douglas has been redesigning the Jets’ cornerback room over the past two off-seasons, with 2020 newbies like Bryce Hall, Javelin Guidry and Lamar Jackson, and 2021 newbies like Michael Carter II, Brandin Echols, Isaiah Dunn and Jason Pinnock.

The Jets GM also hired specialist Justin Hardee and ex-Buffalo Bills CB Rachad Wildgoose.

Neither of these players were here in 2019 and they make up the entire cornerback space today. It seems like Douglas found something in Hall and Carter who make a starting reel on the outside and the nickel slot reel on the inside.

This leaves a starting place outside and a role in the penny package (fourth CB), which must be filled in 2022. These positions were filled by Echols and Guidry for most of 2021.

With the Kentucky (Echols) six-round pick now paused, Dunn was promoted to that ‘CB2’ course against the Miami Dolphins. Stefon Diggs had hacked Guidry the week before, so it made sense that Robert Saleh decided to try one of his rookies outside instead.

It just didn’t work – Dunn looked lost in cover and was completely burned to death with a 65-yard touchdown over the top and a one-yard end-around score on the floor, as well as a few other notable winners from that Dolphins.

Pinnock also switched to the dime and was caught by a late flag flag that practically ended the game for New York. Both didn’t seem ready at the moment, and there were some concerns about the future.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not criticizing the decision to start these guys. The season is over and Saleh needs to see what he has in these younger players, but the next few weeks without Echols could determine what Douglas does at the cornerback in 2022.

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Saleh and Douglas have three clear options for the position. You could design top talent in the cornerback with one of their two potential top 10 picks in 2022 – or add another job in a later round – attract or hold onto a veteran with starting caliber through agency or trade and try to win the players develop that they have.

To be honest, I’m not sure if Echols, Guidry, Dunn, or Pinnock are the long-term answer to Hall. Carter looks real, but the other four were hit or missed, with Echols being the best.

The teams are hardly targeting Hall at this point in the season due to weaknesses in reporting at CB2, Safety and Linebacker. That makes the top cornerback of the Jets look like Darrelle Revis, but in reality he’s just not being challenged. Not only does that hurt overall defense, but it also keeps Hall from becoming an elite starter down the line.

2022 is actually an excellent draft class in terms of playmaker defensive backs. Some of the big names include Derek Stingley Jr. (LSU), Kaiir Elam (Florida), Andrew Booth Jr. (Clemson), Ahmad Gardner (Cincinnati), Trent McDuffie (Washington), and Security Kyle Hamilton (Notre Dame).

In terms of freedom of action, constant players like Marcus Williams and Jessie Bates might interest Gang Green safely, but who is available to cornerback?

If they make it into the free agency, some of the more attractive names that still have perks are JC Jackson, Carlton Davis, Kyle Fuller, Donte Jackson, Darious Williams, and Charvarius Ward – but there are plenty of veterans over 30 too, which should be available.

Whatever Douglas decides, this is definitely an area of ​​great intrigue during the upcoming offseason, and the evaluation phase is now beginning.

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To be honest, I’m not sure if Echols, Guidry, Dunn, or Pinnock are the long-term answer to Hall. Carter looks real, but the other four were hit or missed, with Echols being the best.



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