Positional Outlook: Cornerbacks

This is the first in a multi-part breakdown of each positional unit for the Jets entering training camp. To start off, we will look at cornerbacks, where I believe we may see some serious improvement if all breaks right.

Cornerbacks on the Roster
Morris Claiborne, Juston Burris, Buster Skrine, Marcus Williams, Darryl Roberts, Dexter McDougle, Corey White, Jeremy Clark, Derrick Jones, Bryson Keeton, and Xavier Coleman.

Major Losses

Thankfully, the team is only losing one major player and that player happens to be the best CB to ever play for gang green: Darrelle Revis. In his first season back with the Jets in 2015, Revis continued to play like an all-pro, but things seemed to take a turn for the worst in 2016. He was repeatedly beat deep and only recorded 1 INT and 5 PDs in 15 games. So, we are going to call this a major loss, but in reality it may be addition by subtraction. There is a reason Revis remains a free agent after all.

Key Additions

Other than the rookies, who likely won’t have much of an impact in 2017, the only veteran CBs the Jets added are Morris Claiborne and Corey White. While White is not a lock to make the team, let alone make an impact, Claiborne has the chance to be a key contributor for this defense. Claiborne signed a 1-year deal for $5 million and is expected to be our #1 CB, so long as he remains healthy. When he is on the field, he is one of the best CBs in the game and he showed that over the course of 7 games last season where he didn’t allow a single TD. According to ProFootballFocus, Claiborne graded out as the 9th best CB in the NFL entering week 12. If he stays healthy, which is a big “if”, he should continue to play like a shut down corner. If he gets hurt again, it is still a justifiable signing being that it was only 1-year/$5 million.

Player to Watch

One player everyone should keep their eyes on in training camp and pre-season is 2nd year CB, Juston Burris. The Jets drafted Burris in the 4th round of the 2016 NFL draft with hopes that he would one day become a shut down corner. As a rookie, he recorded 1 INT and 5 PDs in limited action, which is identical to what Revis did in those categories. The only difference is Revis played the majority of snaps every game, while Burris only saw significant playing time in a handful of games. According to defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers in an article by Connor Hughes of NJ.com, “he probably should have played more last year.” Rodgers also added, “we think he has tremendous upside and he’s competitive.” If Burris lives up to his expectations this season, we may have found a true 4th round gem and a stud CB for years to come.

Conclusion

On paper, the Jets cornerback unit doesn’t look spectacular, but if Claiborne stays healthy and Burris improves, our #1 and #2 could be studs with Buster Skrine handling the slot corner role and Marcus Williams continuing to be somewhat of a ball hawk in limited time. Those four are likely locks to make the roster and I expect 6-7 CBs to be on the team come week 1. Darryl Roberts and the two rookies, Jeremy Clark and Derrick Jones, have the best chance, but they will all need to show that they can play at a high level throughout training camp and the pre-season.

What’s exciting is the oldest CB on the roster is Skrine and he is only 28, while Claiborne is 27 and Burris is 23. If all breaks in the Jets favor, they could go from one of the worst cornerback units in 2016 to having two shut down CBs in 2017 and beyond.

 

The New York Jets Release Antonio Cromartie

As expected, the New York Jets have released Cornerback Antonio Cromartie. Cro started his second journey with the Jets after playing in Arizona under current Jets head coach Todd Bowles.

“This past season “Cro” had 33 tackles, two tackles for loss, both against Jacksonville, a fumble recovery in the season opener against Cleveland, and a team-leading 16 pass defenses, three coming against Tennessee. “Cro” also had the most kickoff returns for the Jets, 15 in all for a 25.1-yard return average.

Cromartie, who began his NFL career as the Chargers’ first-round choice, 19th overall, in ’06, has 34 career interceptions in the regular season and playoffs, 13 of them coming as a member of the Jets. He made 78 regular-season and three postseason starts for the Jets,” reports Randy Lange.

Cromartie was one year into a four-year $32 million contract, including a non-guaranteed $8 million.

Jets fans are sounding off on the release of Antonio Cromartie in our forums.

Dexter McDougle Player Profile

 

Name: Dexter McDougle

Position: CB

HT: 5′ 10″ WT: 196

College: Maryland

Acquired: 2014 Draft/ 3rd Round (80th overall)

Twitter: @Blasian_Kiddd

Dexter McDougle was born in Woodbridge, Virginia and attended Stafford Senior High School. Suiting up with Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith, McDougle was in good company during his time playing for the Indians. Being a two-way athlete in high school, McDougle spent time playing cornerback, safety, wide receiver, and runningback.

McDougle was rated as a three star prospect coming out of high school, and joined Torrey Smith at Maryland for his college career. McDougle’s first year with the Terrapins was a redshirt year, but he went on to impress with his athleticism and leadership abilities. Four games into his senior year McDougle fractured his shoulder, but had shown real promise with three interceptions. McDougle received the inaugural Dexter McDougle Ultimate Player Award for his continued support and leadership of the team despite his injury. Academics were also important to McDougle, he received an Academic All-ACC selection twice. McDougle finished his college career with 151 total tackles, five and a half tackles for a loss, six interceptions, and 19 passes defended.

The Jets selected McDougle in the 2014 draft with the 80th overall pick. Unfortunately McDougle’s rookie season with the Jets was over before it started. The day after the Jets first preseason game against the Colts, McDougle tore his ACL effectively ending his season. McDougle recorded one tackle, and one pass defended in that game.

This season will be a different story for McDougle who would have likely had a chance to become a starter on last year’s team. McDougle now joins a loaded secondary, and will have to compete for playing time.