They may have missed out on Marcus Williams, but that didn't stop the Jets from adding another young defensive back to their secondary. Whitehead is a good player who could get even better during his time with the Jets.
At just 24-years-old (he turns 25 in a few days), Whitehead is an ascending player whose best football might still be ahead of him. And the Jets managed to get him at a relative bargain of a price with some estimations having him closer to $9-10 million per season.
Whitehead was probably the best second-tier safety on the market. This is another excellent signing for Joe Douglas and company.
The NY Jets make another wise signing in Jordan Whitehead
A fourth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Whitehead almost immediately assumed a starting role in Tampa Bay. The Pittsburgh product started 11 games as a rookie and has started all but five games over the last three seasons.
He's primarily a prototypical strong safety who does his best work in the box. While he's not exactly a liability in coverage, the strength of Whitehead's game is definitely in run defense.
Whitehead is tied for fifth with Malcolm Jenkins among all safeties in tackles for loss since he entered the league with 22 over the last four years. On top of that, he's an excellent fit for the Jets' defensive scheme as a zone-coverage specialist.
The following numbers show just how effective Whitehead has been in zone coverage as compared to man coverage.
Whitehead should immediately be able to step into the role that Marcus Maye filled last season. He's a downhill thumper in run defense who is a heat-seeking missile in the open field. It's that very trait that allows him to excel as much as he does in zone coverage.
The Jets manage to land another young defensive back for below market value. It's hard to have imagined this free-agency period going any better for Joe Douglas' team.