The forgotten man at cornerback
As the New York Jets continue training camp, the battle for the starting cornerback spot is up for grabs. While the battle is heating up, there’s a player who is already standing out.
The New York Jets had one of the best defenses in the NFL last year and they’re looking to improve that unit in 2016. Perhaps the most intriguing depth chart battle is the one happening at the cornerback position.
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Cornerback Darrelle Revis despite recovering from offseason wrist surgery, is expected to be ready for the Week 1 season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. Which leaves an opening on the opposite side of the defense.
While a former healthy top-10 pick cornerback in Dexter McDougle may have the early lead, there’s still plenty of time to turn things around. Although it won’t be easy to buck some of the other more experienced players ahead on the depth chart.
Particularly veteran cornerback Buster Skrine who early on in camp has really shown his ball skills. Highlighted here by the official Twitter account of the Jets, Skrine means business and wants the spotlight.
.@BusterSkrine's been pulling down picks left and right at #JetsCamphttps://t.co/zBsLYaBdM2
— #JetsCamp (@nyjets) July 31, 2016
Skrine has scheme versatility, he played in the slot last season but has played on the outside before (during his time in Cleveland). One reason Skrine wants to play primarily on the outside this season is because he’ll get more opportunities at intercepting the football.
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Another guy who benefited from some sticky gloves was undrafted gem, cornerback Marcus Williams.
Williams happened to snag six unintended passes in his direction to lead the team last year in interceptions.
Which stacks the deck pretty high against rookie cornerback Juston Burris who is looking to make an impact in year one.
Head coach Todd Bowles was asked about the progress of the North Carolina State product as here is what he had to say, courtesy of the Media Relations Department of the Jets:
On the progress of Juston Burris…
He’s healthy. He was banged up in the spring, so it’s good to see him out here. He’s getting a lot of work. He’s getting a lot of experience going against some good receivers. It’s going to be interesting to see what he does going forward.
Talk about a forgotten man, this is an article about Burris and he didn’t get mentioned until more than halfway through this article. All kidding aside, he has his work cut out for him to get some meaningful playing time in his rookie season on defense.
Looking at the depth chart: Revis, Milliner, Skrine and Williams all are above him which is bittersweet. Obviously Burris is a competitor and he wants to show what he’s made of, but at the same time competition breeds success.
Having to compete against arguably the best player in franchise history at the same position and also getting to compete against one of the best receivers in the NFL in Brandon Marshall is great practice. It will really test the skills of the youngster as he makes his progressions as a football player.
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Burris may lose to the number games in 2016, but Revis isn’t getting any younger and you can never have enough cornerbacks in the NFL. Look for Burris to get rotational time as a cornerback this year while playing a huge role on special teams in the fall, outside of a rash of injuries at the position.