The New York Jets have just acquired some much-needed cornerback help in the form of Maurice Canady who was just claimed off waivers from the Baltimore Ravens.
The Jets have struggled to a 1-7 start to the 2019 season with many of their struggles coming on the offensive side of the ball. But on defense, there is no bigger weakness than at the cornerback position.
This doesn’t exactly come as a surprise either as many were well aware of the Jets’ issues at cornerback entering the year. 2018 free-agent bust Trumaine Johnson and career backup Darryl Roberts were penciled in as the team’s starters on the outside.
Johnson followed up what was a disastrous 2018 with an even worse 2019 season and has now found himself on the injured reserve officially ending his season — and likely his abysmal Jets tenure.
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Roberts, on the other hand, has at least stayed healthy but it’s become abundantly clear that he isn’t a starting-caliber cornerback — despite a solid stretch of play last season.
The Jets have managed to get some solid production out of late-August pickup Nate Hairston. However, the former Indianapolis Colts defensive back has also run into his fair share of injury concerns.
Perhaps the only welcome addition to the Jets cornerback room has been Brian Poole who has surprisingly done an excellent job manning the slot this season. However, the options for the team are scarce.
Outside of those four, special-teamer Arthur Maulet remained the only other cornerback on the active roster prior to Wednesday’s claim of Canady.
Canady was originally a sixth-round pick of the Ravens back in 2016 but he’s failed to make much of an impact in his four NFL seasons due to various injuries.
The Virginia product has spent more time on the injured reserve than the active roster as he’s actually landed on the IR in each of the last three seasons. Not to mention that he had been battling a thigh injury for parts of this season.
That said, he’s actually performed admirably when healthy.
Due to an abundance of injuries at the cornerback position, the Ravens brought Canady back after initially releasing him as a part of final roster cuts this season. And when asked to play significant defensive snaps, he more than held his own.
In fact, following a strong performance in the team’s Week 5 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, head coach John Harbaugh had some high praise for the young defensive back.
“Maurice really stepped up. He played well. He covered man, covered zone, made plays on the ball, made tackles. I thought he played very well. It’s nice to see a guy step up when the opportunity comes, and he did it.”
Less than a month later, Canady was kicked to the curbed after being waived for the second time this year.
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This was primarily a numbers game issue as the likes of Jimmy Smith and company returned from injury meaning that Canady was no longer a necessity, but a luxury. And with needs at other positions, he was let go in favor of former Oregon star De’Anthony Thomas.
Canady should be given every opportunity to prove himself in an incredibly weak cornerback group in New York. As far as waiver-wire gambles go, this certainly seems like a move that’s worth the roll of the dice.
Perhaps Canady could stay healthy and prove to be a diamond in the rough for New York at a major position of need.
At the very least, he likely can’t be much worse than what the team has been fielding every Sunday.