2. Cornerbacks the NY Jets could target at No. 23
The Jets’ top three cornerbacks on their current roster are Bryce Hall, Blessuan Austin, and Javelin Guidry. Three promising young players, but neither one of them projects as a genuine No. 1 cornerback.
Someone has to cover Stefon Diggs. Before all is said and done, the Jets could add a veteran to this group on a short-term deal, but the Jets need a long-term answer at this position.
With that in mind, here are the top cornerbacks that are projected by many to be surefire selections in Round 1.
- Patrick Surtain Jr., Alabama
- Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
- Greg Newsome II, Northwestern
- Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
There are other players at cornerback who might vault into the first round based on supply and demand, like Tyson Campbell (Georgia), Aaron Robinson (UCF), Eric Stokes (Georgia), or Ifeatu Melifonwu (Syracuse), among others. Still, none of these players are rated as highly as Surtain, Horn, Newsome, and Farley are.
Let’s look at the entire board. These teams could realistically draft cornerbacks in the first 22 picks before the Jets are on the clock at 23, based on their individual needs, are as followed.
Lions (No. 7), Panthers ( No. 8), Cowboys (No. 10), Eagles (No. 12), Chargers (No. 13), Vikings (No. 14), Cardinals (No. 16), Raiders (No. 17), Bears (No. 20), Colts (No. 21), Titans (No. 22).
Patrick Surtain Jr. figures to be the first cornerback selected in the draft and could go as early as seven to Detroit and by no later than 10 to the Dallas Cowboys. The earlier Surtain goes, the sooner players like Horn, Newsome, and Farley follow.
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The Jets will be sweating out the teen section of the draft, hoping one of the top remaining cornerbacks slide to them at pick 23. Things will start to get tricky by the time Arizona is on the clock at 16.
The Cardinals starting corners are Robert Alford and veteran pickup Malcolm Butler. They are a prime candidate to target one of the premier-rated cornerbacks in this draft. The Raiders, Colts, Bears, and Titans could all address the position as well.
Jaycee Horn, Greg Newsome II, and Caleb Farley all have the prototypical size and length that Robert Saleh and Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich covet in their defensive scheme. They all project as No. 1 cornerbacks on the next level.
The desire by the Jets to land one of these blue-chip prospects may require them to make a move up a few spots to get ahead of the crowd of all the cornerback-needy teams in front of them. Otherwise, the Jets could be left standing at the cornerback altar by the time they get on the clock at 23.
Ultimately, by the time the Jets are on the clock at pick 23, what’s left of the cornerback and offensive line position might steer them in a different direction.
Most times, NFL teams in the draft will push the narrative that they are looking for the best player available, but often the tie-breaker leans towards their most pressing needs. The reach in the draft was born from that mindset.
For once, the Jets, because of their deficiencies, don’t need to play that game. They can truly take a ‘best-player-available’ strategy and avoid reaching for players.
But to get the players they truly covet the most, they might need to reach out to other teams and make a move up the draft board.
Sometimes, ‘all gas no brake’ means not leaving the car parked in neutral.