Isaiah Dunn, CB, NY Jets
Normally, an undrafted free agent cornerback would be overlooked as a potential contributor in year one as a rookie. Although, the Jets had some levels of success a year ago with Javelin Guidry and Lamar Jackson, who both ended up being key contributors before all was said and done.
Perhaps, the Jets are hoping for more of the same results with Oregon State cornerback Isaiah Dunn. New York gave Dunn a $25,000 signing bonus with $160,000 in fully guaranteed money. It's the largest contract ever for an undrafted free agent cornerback.
So what's so special about Dunn that would prompt the Jets' to make that sort of commitment?
The Jets are banking on his upside because his production level as a four-year starter was very modest in college. He received a 59.1 coverage grade as a senior by PFF, had no interceptions, and just 18 career pass breakups.
From an intangible/athleticism standpoint, it's easy to see the upside. Dunn, a two-time Pac-12 all-academic selection, is a former track star and wide receiver/kick returner with elite speed (4.36/40).
Dunn also has the length to project as a fit in a Cover 3 Zone defense that asks its corners to play off-coverage. Perhaps, that's where he will fit best over time, but will it be on day one?
Lamar Jackson, CB, NY Jets
Last season was a right place, right time situation for undrafted Nebraska rookie Lamar Jackson. Not only did Jackson find a way onto the Jets roster as a UDFA, but he ended up playing a lot of meaningful snaps at corner.
Unfortunately, the one play that everyone remembers involves Henry Ruggs flying by him in the waning seconds of an improbable Jets loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.
This year, Jackson might have to go back to square one again to make the Jets' active roster.
The situation in the Jets' defensive backfield situation is a lot different from last season, and it will be harder for Jackson to stick around. He has good size and toughness, and the scheme change could aid him, but the numbers game might not.