The NY Jets have claimed former sixth-round pick, cornerback Corey Ballentine.
A sixth-round pick of the New York Giants in the 2019 NFL Draft, Ballentine has spent the last two seasons with the Giants receiving considerable playing time for someone who was as late of a draft pick as he was.
Ballentine played in 13 games in his rookie season making a pair of starts and playing over 26 percent of the team’s defensive snaps for the entire year.
He emerged as one of the Giants’ starting cornerbacks to begin the 2020 season, but he was benched after starting the first two games. Since then, he’s mostly been relegated to a special-teams role.
Unfortunately, despite receiving ample playing time, his on-field play hasn’t always warranted it.
Ballentine received an absolutely abysmal 36.6 Pro Football Focus grade in his rookie season which ranked him as one of the worst cornerbacks in the NFL. That included a 29.8 PFF grade coverage grade which would have ranked last in the league if he qualified.
His play in 2020 hasn’t been any better as he has just a 38.5 overall grade. It’s no surprise to see that he was benched after just two games.
Ballentine also has significant experience on special teams and has returned a total of 19 kicks during his time in the NFL including nine this season.
With the Jets rotating kick returners for most of this year, it’s possible Ballentine takes over that role. Braxton Berrios and Ty Johnson have been the regular kick returners as of late and Vyncint Smith also has experience there.
The NY Jets were likely intrigued by Corey Ballentine’s athleticism
Ballentine starred at Division II Washburn making a name for himself as one of the best D-II defensive players in the nation. He was awarded the 2018 Cliff Harris Award which is given to the country’s top small-school defensive player.
The 24-year-old Jamaica native ran a 4.47 40-yard dash and was a star at the 2019 Senior Bowl. He also made some noise at the NFL Combine placing high in a variety of athletic drills.
Coming out of college, Ballentine was seen as a raw, but talented prospect who needed time to hone his skills at the NFL level. But the hope was that his athleticism and tackling abilities would allow him to at least contribute on special teams.
It’s likely he was forced into a regular role on defense far too early in his career, but perhaps he could turn his fortunes around with the Jets.
Ballentine may be switching teams, but at least he won’t have to switch stadiums.