When the New York Jets selected cornerback Juston Burris in the 2016 NFL Draft, it was an underrated move that will undoubtedly pay dividends in the future.
Last week, the Jets strung together another great draft under general manager Mike Maccagnan. He pulled plenty of talent out of the 2015 field and this year he did the same. Darron Lee, Christian Hackenberg, and Jordan Jenkins are players that you can expect to make an immediate impact and be an important part of Gang Green’s future. When you factor in guys like Juston Burris and Brandon Shell who also have the potential to contribute right off the bat, that’s what takes this draft class to the next level.
Coming out of NC State, Burris is a cornerback who is prepared to make the jump into the NFL largely due in part to the competition within the ACC conference. Over the course of his college career, he’s covered the likes of DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins, Kelvin Benjamin, Martavis Bryant, DeVante Parker and several other standout receivers. In his four seasons, he recorded six interceptions, 18 pass deflections and 143 tackles. He was the team’s nickel corner as a redshirt freshman and he proceeded to start the following three years on the outside.
With Darrelle Revis, Marcus Williams, Buster Skrine, Dee Milliner, Dexter McDougle, Darryl Morris, Kendall James, and Kevin Short on the roster, you would think that the Jets are in no need of another corner. Although, New York needs Burris for quite a few reasons in 2016.
Outside of Burris and Short, every corner on the roster is 5’11 or smaller. Burris is 6’0, so it may not make that big of a difference, but every inch counts when you’re a defensive back in the NFL. With huge athletic freaks at receiver, it’s extremely difficult to keep the football out of their hands. Luckily for the Jets’ secondary, 6’4 Brandon Marshall and 6’3 Eric Decker will help them in practice in getting used to the size of some of the receivers they will deal with throughout the season.
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As far as health goes, you could write a book on the injury history of New York’s cornerback unit.
Revis, Milliner and McDougle have a grocery list of injuries that date back into their college years.
Revis of course has had his fair share of hamstring pulls and concussions to go along with the torn ACL that cut his 2012 campaign short.
Milliner and McDougle are two selections made by former general manager John Idzik that have failed to log in a complete season since joining the team.
If any of those three were to go down with another long-term injury, the Jets would be short-handed to say the least. Antonio Cromartie‘s production may have been very poor in 2015, but at the end of the day, having him in the unit helped the team greatly. If someone were to have gotten injured, they would’ve had enough bodies to make up for it. The addition of Burris is tremendous from a depth standpoint, although the unit could still use more experience.
The nine corners that are currently on New York’s roster have a combined 27 years of experience in the NFL according to when they were drafted. The scary thing is that some of those years have been spent on the practice squad and on the sideline due to injury, making that number closer to 20. Burris may have no NFL exposure just yet, however, experience in the ACC conference is quality preparation nonetheless.
Overall, the Jets needed a player like him at some point in the draft and Maccagnan was wise enough to pull the trigger. He won’t play a lot of snaps right away, but you can expect Burris to be one of the team’s primary gunners in his rookie season. At times he’ll be needed when Skrine, Milliner, and McDougle are out of gas, so he’ll get his opportunities as long as he stays healthy. It’s hard to overlook Burris’ importance to Gang Green.