As another lost New York Jets season unfolds, it’s time to evaluate this 53-man roster from top to bottom. Let’s continue this daily ranking with Nate Hairston at #46.
The Frederick, MD native started as a rookie slot corner before tumbling down the Colts depth chart last season under new coach Frank Reich.
New Jets assistant general manager Rex Hogan worked for Indianapolis and saw the former East-West Shrine Game star in every one of his 27 pro games.
He likely felt that the 25-year-old third-year baller (with two seasons of contractual control) could step in and stabilize the Jets desperate secondary situation — at least as a stopgap measure.
While the new Florham Park brain trust was correct in their assessment that Hairston offered upside over Canadian-bred preseason starting cornerback Tevaughn Campbell (now a Los Angeles Chargers practice-squadder), Hairston has not been that dominant “plug-and-play” cornerback.
Jets fans likely remember that Hairston got abused by Giants rookies Daniel Jones and Darius Slayton in the first half of November’s MetLife showdown. Before halftime, Hairston got pulled for first-year stud Blessuan Austin, who shuts down opposing receivers like a proven veteran.
Hairston played great in Week 13 against the Miami Dolphins, between his blitzing, tackling, pass coverage, and an almost-game-changing interception (called back due to penalty).
The next Thursday in Baltimore, Hairston played a strong second half after looking lost against the breakneck speed of Lamar Jackson.
Expect Hairston to receive a camp invite for the 2020 season and a chance to compete for a reserve role. He has not been a terrible acquisition, but you know that this team expected more.