Last season, it was quite obvious that the weakest unit of the New York Jets was the cornerback position. The team lost second year player Dee Milliner after a brutal Achilles injury during a game against the Denver Broncos, as well as losing rookie Dexter McDougle to an ACL injury before the season even started. This left the team with career backups and rookies starting at CB, the results were not pretty. Luckily, that is in the past as the Jets now have one of the best cornerback groups in the entire NFL.
Looking at their entire depth at cornerback, it’s safe to say they will be quite the group come next season. With returning faces and the hope that both Milliner and McDougle come back healthy, the Jets are looking solid at the position. Here’s a complete cornerback preview from starters all the way down to the rest of their options on depth.
1. Darrelle Revis– After stints with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the rival New England Patriots, Revis island is back in New York looking to build off of his Super Bowl victory to end last season. Simply put, it is hard to find a better cornerback in football than Revis. Week in and week out he shuts down the opposing teams best receiver, and should thrive this season with the Jets’ dominant defensive line causing a lot of hurried throws by opposing quarterbacks.
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2. Antonio Cromartie– While new general manager Mike Maccagnan was able to bring Revis back into the mix, he was also able to bring back veteran Antonio Cromartie to reunite the former teammates. Cromartie is a tall, lanky cornerback who loves to play physical and put his hands on the wide receivers early and often to disrupt routes. With teams likely to stay away from Revis, look for Cromartie to be tested often this season.
3. Buster Skrine– At the start of free agency, the first player the Jets signed was Buster Skrine. Skrine was the No. 2 cornerback for the Cleveland Browns last year, seeing a ton of balls come his way as teams avoided Joe Haden. This season, Skrine will be used as the nickel cornerback, matching up against slot receivers. It is hard to find a better trio of cornerbacks in the NFL than Revis, Cromartie and Skrine.
4. Dee Milliner– It has not been easy for Milliner in the NFL. The former star at Alabama was benched often during his rookie season as his season was cut short due to a serious injury last year. The good news for Milliner is that he will not be asked to be the No. 1 cornerback anytime in the near future. Milliner will thrive as a rotational option and can even matchup against tight ends, which he did very well against in college.
5. Dexter McDougle– The former third-round picks rookie season was cut short before it even began as the former Maryland Terp tore his ACL in practice. This season, McDougle will most likely be used in similar fashion with Milliner, seeing time in certain packages and will serve as a valuable backup to Skrine.
May 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) and cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) walk off the field after organized team activities at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
6. Marcus Williams– Williams was the lone bright spot in the secondary for the Jets last season. Williams showed the ability to play both outside and in the slot and even had an interception against Tom Brady and the Patriots. Williams will serve as excellent depth, and will only improve as he is only in his second season.
7. Darrin Walls– Walls struggled at times last season as a starter, but has always provided great depth for the Jets in recent years. Walls will be fighting for the final cornerback spot on the roster this season. But in the end, I expect him to make the final cut.
For the first time in years, the Jets are loaded at the cornerback position and will be a force to reckon with on that area of the team.