Nov 22, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker (83) scores a touchdown past New York Jets defensive back Ellis Lankster (26) during the game on Thanksgiving at Met Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY SportsDue to some unfortunate injuries over the weekend, the Jet secondary will have some new, but familiar faces playing with the starters. Dexter McDougle, the Jets third round pick of the 2014 draft tore his ACL and will miss his rookie season. If that wasn’t bad enough Dee Milliner left the practice field with a high ankle sprain and likely will miss several weeks. Dimitri Patterson is banged up, after suffering a series of minor injuries. This is the time when your depth needs to step up and prove they can get the job done.
More reps with the starters will test if Darrin Walls and Ellis Lankster are ready to fill the void left by the injury bug. Both are experienced in Rex Ryan’s system and have shown their worth as situational players and backups. Lankster has been very good at special teams as well.
Darrin Walls is an undrafted free agent who has played well for the Jets at times. The Jets have him listed at 6’0″ and 190 lbs and he’s not afraid to play physically. He’s in his second year with the Jets after spending his rookie campaign with Atlanta. Walls played solidly filling in for Dee Milliner last season. Overall, Walls has shown good flashes in his limited playing time, but he’ll need to prove to the coaching staff that he can produce consistently. This could be Walls’ chance to break into the starting ranks. The spotlight will likely be on him as Milliner nurses back from the high ankle.
Ellis Lankster is 27 yrs old, and a former 7th round pick of the Buffalo Bills. The Jets list him at 5’9″ and 190 lbs, and he is going into his fifth year. Lankster has excelled at special teams play and also brings three years of experience in Ryan’s system to the table. He had a good 2012 season posting six pass defenses, and two interceptions. Lankster has struggled with consistency, and as a result hasn’t been able to break into a starting role.
These are our guys who we’ll likely be talking a lot about in the next coming weeks. The Jets are likely to take it slow with Patterson as he’s suffered some minor injuries through camp, and his durability at 31 yrs old has to be a concern. Milliner’s high ankle is a tricky injury, sometimes taking a month to recover. The good news is that its still a month away from the opener, and he’ll likely be back.
I had concerns about the Jets secondary and its depth before these injuries, I’m even more concerned now. I’m hopeful these guys can step up their games, as their roles in this defense just got bigger. How about you? Do you think Walls and Lankster can get the job done? I want to hear your thoughts.