Dec 28, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiverTorrey Smith
(82) catches the ball in front of Cleveland Browns cornerbackBuster Skrine
(22) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Ladies and gentlemen, the Jets did sign a cornerback yesterday, not named Darrelle Revis. He may have been lost in the jubilation of last night, which I can understand, but Revis is not the only game in town. Yesterday, the Jets also came to terms with Buster Skrine, previously of the Cleveland Browns.
Buster Skrine is a young player, who has started at cornerback for the Browns for the last two seasons. As I read the reactions to Skrine post-signing, I am hearing quite a wide range. I admittedly wasn’t as familiar with Skrine as others, so I thought I would do some leg work and give you all my thoughts on one of the Jets new additions.
So let’s talk a little Buster Skrine.
Next: NFL Career
Nov 6, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns cornerback Buster Skrine (22) celebrates on the sidelines during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Browns won 24-3. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Here are the career stats for Buster Skrine to date:
Defense & Fumbles
There are things to like here with Buster Skrine. He posted a career high of four interceptions last season to go along with 18 passes defended. 36 passes defended over the last two seasons, and 47 in three years is a huge number. I mean, Darrelle Revis only exceeded 18 passes defended twice. Buster Skrine is a guy that can make a play on the football. That is clear, and it is something the Jets have lacked for quite some time.
Doesn’t it feel like forever since the Jets could intercept a pass when they needed one? The Jets need players that can attack the football, and Buster Skrine has that ability.
Next: Combine Profile
Nov 6, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiverMohamed Sanu
(12) is unable to make a catch while being defended by Cleveland Browns cornerback Buster Skrine (22) at Paul Brown Stadium. The Browns won 24-3. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
According to NFL.com, Skrine stands at 5’9″, and weighs 185 pounds. Admittedly, that is small for an NFL cornerback. Skrine will have a tough time going up against the taller NFL receivers. Here are the strengths and weaknesses from his NFL Combine profile:
STRENGTHS: Skrine possesses very quick feet and excellent top end speed. Plays disciplined in zone coverage and has the closing burst to jump underneath routes. Can turn and run with anyone, tracks the ball in the air, and has reliable hands to make picks. Hard worker and very coachable.
WEAKNESSES: Undersized and will be out-muscled by stronger receivers at the next level. Tight hips limit his ability to chance direction quickly. Over aggressive at times and can be fooled by play action. Boxed out by bigger receivers in jump ball situations. Does not have the strength to shed blocks and is a poor tackler.
In the long run, Skrine’s size could very well be a liability. Let’s go further inside the numbers.
Next: PFF Stats
Dec 15, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiverEarl Bennett
(80) makes a touchdown reception against Cleveland Browns cornerback Buster Skrine (22) during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Bears won 38-31. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports
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The PFF grades for Skrine aren’t great. In 2014, his overall grade was a -6.3, and a grade against the pass of -5.5. What is more alarming is the number of penalties. Skrine was called for 17 penalties in 2014, with only four of them declined, according again to Pro Football Focus.
Those numbers bring up two thoughts. With all of those penalties, is this Kyle Wilson 2.0? Possible, we all know Wilson was known for the penalties. But, Skrine can make a play on the football quite a bit better than Wilson can, and ever could. This is an upgrade.
The penalties for all DB’s went up thanks to the emphasis on illegal contact fouls last year, don’t forget about that part.
Skrine was thrown at 123 times, with receivers catching 70 of those passes, for a completion percentage of 56.9%. NFL quarterbacks posted a passer rating of 86.9 thrown in Skrine’s direction. Last year, Skrine gave up a reception every 8.9 times he was the primary man in coverage.
Am I saying that Buster Skrine was a great sign? A bad sign? Neither. We don’t know yet. All evidence is that he is an upgrade over what we had. Mike Maccagnan had a strong day yesterday, and there is more to come.