The NY Jets cornerback group overachieved in 2021 with second-year cornerback Bryce Hall at the forefront of the unit. Despite most labeling the team's cornerback unit as perhaps the worst in the NFL, they managed to hold their own for a lot of the year.
Hall was the biggest standout of the bunch finishing as a legitimate borderline CB1 by most metrics. However, despite his success, the former fifth-round pick is reportedly not even guaranteed a starting job entering the offseason.
D.J. Bien-Aime of the New York Daily News responded to a tweet from The Athletic's Connor Hughes that remarked how the Jets would love to add a "proven, ball-hawking corner on one side" and open up a competition between Bryce Hall, Brandin Echols, and Isaiah Dunn at the other spot.
This obviously raised some questions given the disparity in how those three players played this past season. Bien-Aime doubled down on that notion insisting that "Michael Carter II is the only guy who’s a penciled-in starter for 2022 in the group."
The NY Jets don't view Bryce Hall as a lock to start in 2022
This isn't the first we've heard of this either. There have been rumblings dating back to the season that the Jets were just as high on Echols as they were Hall.
The Jets reportedly believe that Echols has a higher upside, especially when it comes to creating turnovers. That all makes sense, but just because a player has a higher upside, doesn't mean much for the short term.
Hall was a significantly better player than Echols in 2021, and it wasn't really close. Hall finished second in the NFL in forced incompletions behind just Marshon Lattimore of the New Orleans Saints.
Yet despite this, the Jets reportedly see Hall and Echols (and even Dunn) on a similar level entering the offseason. Given everything that we saw last season, it's hard to agree with that mindset.
This Jets coaching staff has been proven right in the past. They believed that their new offensive scheme would allow George Fant and Connor McGovern to have more success in 2021. They believed that the team's inexperienced cornerback group would exceed expectations this past season.
Both of those things turned out to be true. Perhaps the same will be the case here. Perhaps Echols and Dunn are further along than most seem to believe.
But given how Hall, Echols, and Dunn played in 2021, it seems clear that one of the three is on a different level.
Competition is rarely a bad thing, but if Week 1 arrives and Brandin Echols is starting over Bryce Hall, Jets fans are rightfully going to raise some questions.