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New Jack City looks to tighten air patrol for Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 03: Buster Skrine #41, Morris Claiborne #21 and Jamal Adams #33 of the New York Jets celebrate after holding the Kansas City Chiefs on fourth down late in the fourth quarter during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 3, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 03: Buster Skrine #41, Morris Claiborne #21 and Jamal Adams #33 of the New York Jets celebrate after holding the Kansas City Chiefs on fourth down late in the fourth quarter during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 3, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
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With OTA’s and minicamp quickly approaching for the New York Jets, the defensive secondary better known as “New Jack City” is looking to improve in year two.

The New York Jets drafted two safeties in the 2017 NFL Draft in LSU’s Jamal Adams and Florida’s Marcus Maye in a move that was shocking to many draft analysts at the time. The move to draft Adams in the first round and Maye in the second round proved to be a good one. Both Adams and Maye showed promise and had stretches of good play in their rookie seasons. Watching the Jets in 2017, I came away believing the young tandem could turn into the next Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas; All-Pro safeties for the Seattle Seahawks.

Adams, who nicknamed the Jets secondary “New Jack City” in training camp last August, was the vocal leader of the group and helped set the tone from day one. Adams started all 16 games for the Jets in 2017; led the defensive backfield with 63 tackles, six pass deflections, and two fumble recoveries.

Maye was a quite enforcer for the Jets. Like Adams, the Gator alum started all 16 games; finishing with 56 tackles, a forced fumble, and lead the team in interceptions with two. The dynamic safety duo also has solid veterans around them in Morris Claiborne, Buster Skrine, and former Los Angeles Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson who came over via free agency in March.

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Claiborne came over to the Jets in 2017 from the Dallas Cowboys in free agency. Claiborne had a reputation for being an above average cornerback but was injury prone. The former Cowboy played in 16 and started 15 games last season, providing solid coverage skills to the Jets secondary. Skrine led the team with nine pass deflections and collected 56 tackles.

Johnson signed a five-year, $72.5 million contract with $34 million guaranteed. It is the third largest contract in team history and Johnson is confident he will be able to show he is worth the money. In an article written by Rich Cimini of ESPN, here is what he said he brings to the Jets:

“I’m a game-changer, “I’m a playmaker. I bring leadership to the team. I’m big. I’m fast. I used to be a receiver if you go back to college, so my hands have always been strong for me.”

Johnson helped the Rams defense win the NFC West division title; leading the team with 13 pass deflections, two interceptions, and one forced fumble. The former Ram had a career year in 2015 with seven interceptions. Johnson was franchise tagged in 2016 and 2017. In another article written by Rich Cimini of ESPN, head coach Todd Bowles is excited about everything Johnson brings to the table:

“Since I’ve been here, it’s probably the most athletic and versatile secondary that I’ve had going into the season”

New York’s pass defense finished 21st in 2017 but will be a stronger unit in 2018 as Adams and Maye become more comfortable in their roles. Adding a potential top-flight corner in Johnson looks to provide a boost to the unit as well. OTA sessions will begin on May 22. Mandatory minicamp will then begin on June 12. For more information including other important dates, click here.

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