New York Jets: Breaking down newly-signed defensive back Blake Countess
The New York Jets have signed former Los Angeles Rams defensive back Blake Countess. Here is a brief breakdown of the newest member of the Jets secondary.
The New York Jets are fresh off a thrilling 24-22 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6. And in the days following that game, the Jets have done a little shuffling at the bottom of their roster.
One of those moves was the signing of former Los Angeles Rams defensive back Blake Countess. In a corresponding move, the Jets waived cornerback Arthur Maulet who was a surprise roster member coming out of the preseason and had been used exclusively on special teams.
Countess was originally drafted in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles but was released by the team as a part of final roster cuts.
The versatile defensive back would then sign on with the Rams’ practice squad before being promoted to the active roster later that year. And for the past two-and-a-half years, Countess has been a reliable special-teamer for Los Angeles.
Countess originally played his collegiate ball at Michigan where he would spend the first three seasons of his eligibility before transferring to Auburn for his senior season. In 2014, Countess earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors.
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In college, Countess excelled as a versatile defender with the ability to play either at safety or at cornerback. However, while he performed well as an outside cornerback in college, his size relegated him to a slot role in the NFL.
At just 5-foot-9, Countless is undersized but he makes up for it with a high-motor and high football intelligence. It’s those two traits that made him so valuable to the Rams over the past few years.
Countless has been one of the Rams’ best special-teamers having returned two blocked punts for touchdowns in his career and he even served as a kick returner for part of the 2018 season. The 26-year-old returned 17 kicks for 419 yards last season with a long of 40 further expanding his versatility.
The Jets have been stacking up on special teamers in waiver wire pickups following the loss of core special teams contributors such as Kevin Pierre-Louis and Terrence Brooks in the offseason.
Countless joins players such as Albert McClellan, Vyncint Smith, and Matthias Farley as individuals who have been plucked from the figurative scrapheap to be a part of the Jets special teams unit.
And given his versatility in the defensive backfield, the Jets could just find a use for Countless if injury strikes. The team doesn’t exactly have a backup nickel corner if Brian Poole were to go down with an injury.
Maulet would have likely filled that role but now it may very well be on Countless with neither Trumaine Johnson, Darryl Roberts, or Nate Hairston having much experience in the slot.
At the very least, expect Countless to be a valued member of the special teams unit who could see defensive snaps if an injury occurs.