The NY Jets have had their fair share of issues through the first three weeks of the season, to say the least. But the part of the team that most saw as the biggest weakest going into the year has arguably been one of their most consistent.
The Jets made a number of additions in the offseason bolstering positions such as wide receiver, the offensive line, and the defensive line. How effective those additions have been is another story, but they did try to make improvements.
However, one position that they opted against making any widespread changes at was cornerback. The Jets didn't sign any cornerback in free agency (apart from special-teams ace Justin Hardee), and they didn't add one until Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Following the surprising release of Blessuan Austin, the remaining Jets cornerbacks had a total of nine career starts under the belt. Apart from Hardee, none of them had been in the NFL for more than a year and none were drafted before the fifth round.
It was fair to be skeptical. But through three weeks, the likes of Bryce Hall, Michael Carter II, and co. have done their part and then some. It's hard not to be ecstatic about the play of the Jets' young cornerbacks to this point.
Bryce Hall, Michael Carter II, and the NY Jets cornerbacks have overachieved
A fifth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Hall started seven games as a rookie last season and held his own down the stretch despite being sidelined for almost a full year following a devastating ankle injury.
The Jets put a lot of faith in the young Hall trusting him to be their No. 1 cornerback in 2021. Through three weeks, he hasn't let them down.
Hall's 67.1 Pro Football Focus pass coverage grade is good for 37th out of all qualified cornerbacks. That ranks him as a high-end No. 2 option which is certainly better than many probably expected.
Hall hasn't been the only standout, however. Carter, a fifth-round pick in this year's draft, has been one of the Jets' most consistent players on either side of the ball.
He boasts a PFF pass coverage grade of 72.6 which ranks 21st at his position. Carter has been one of the best nickel cornerbacks in the NFL through three weeks.
The play of fellow rookie Brandin Echols has been a bit more up-and-down and he had a rocky Week 3, but he's still more than held his own with a PFF pass coverage grade of 57.5 which ranks 70th out of 106 qualifiers.
He's a sixth-round rookie who's being tasked with covering No. 2 wide receivers. That's probably about as good as could have been expected.
The Jets have done their part against opposing receivers too. They held Robby Anderson to just one catch in Week 1, and that lone catch (a 57-yard bomb) was a blown assignment from safety Sheldrick Redwine.
No Patriots wide receiver had more than four catches or 40 yards in Week 2. Yes, the trio of Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor, and Kendrick Bourne is hardly All-Pro-caliber, but the point remains the same.
Even against a Denver Broncos team that had been airing it out this season, the Jets managed to hold Teddy Bridgewater to his least productive game of the season.
Top wide receiver Courtland Sutton couldn't even top 40 yards. K.J. Hamler left early with an injury, but he hauled in just one catch in the first half.
No, the Jets secondary isn't among the best in the NFL right now. But they're competent. The team is fielding starting-caliber players.
That not only bodes well for the defense this season, but it says a lot about what this team could expect from the likes of Hall, Carter, Echols, and even Javelin Guidry in the future.
This season was always going to be about finding long-term building blocks and seeing which young players could stick.
It looks like the Jets have some keepers in their secondary.