Why the NY Jets should target Jordan Battle in the 2023 NFL Draft
By Jake Weiss
Safety is one of the biggest needs for the NY Jets this offseason. While they have quality safeties such as Jordan Whitehead and Chuck Clark on the roster, they lack someone who can play free safety up top.
Lamarcus Joyner filled that role in the previous season, but he is now a free agent, and the team should look to upgrade at that position. To fill this hole, the Jets should look to Day 2 in the draft, where Jordan Battle and other safety prospects wait for their names to be called.
Battle is a senior coming out of Alabama who has collegiate experience playing both free safety and strong safety, however, in the past year, he played almost solely over the top.
He has shown great improvement on film over his college career and provides something the Jets desperately needed in 2022, a consistent fundamental tackler. Battle is able to get low when tackling bigger ball carriers but can also lay the big hit when necessary.
Jordan Battle would be an excellent fit for the NY Jets
In the open field, he limits extra yards when tackling and consistently takes good angles. He has all the tools to be a solid starter for the Jets right away but can be developed into an even better player with the right veteran leadership.
His physical characteristics are almost ideal for the safety position. He stands at 6-foot-1 and weighs in at 209 pounds. Battle has the size to tackle bigger ball carriers and contest on jump balls but is not too big that his movement will be hindered.
While his 4.55 40-yard dash is not top-end speed, it is still 58th percentile for the position, and he has shown great burst and closing speed on tape. He also tested slightly above average for safeties in other drills at the Combine as well.
When watching Battle play, there are a few very apparent characteristics. He is a steady, reliable tackler and plays well in deep zone coverage. He effectively reads the quarterback's eyes to jump passes and identify runs.
His few weaknesses in coverage, such as being fooled by play-action and RPOs, should be easily fixed with coaching and NFL experience. One of the highlights from Battle's tape was his red zone defense, especially against LSU in 2021 and Texas in 2022.
He is fluid with his hips and doesn't bite on routes. While the Jets had a great red zone defense last season, with a 47.83 red zone touchdown percentage (third-lowest in the league), he should be able to add to this red zone dominance.
Against the run, Battle quickly sheds blocks from receivers with his hands and is great at clogging up the running lanes, even while engaged with a blocker. Very similar to newly acquired Jets safety Chuck Clark, teammates have also described Battle as being an excellent communicator on the field with great football IQ.
One other reason for concern with Battle is man coverage, especially on short and intermediate routes. However, the Jets often play zone coverage and rarely ask their free safety to line up man-on-man. Battle is a perfect scheme fit for Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich's defense.
Overall, Jordan Battle would be a great fit for the Jets. He plays very similar to safety Justin Reid on tape and has very similar Combine measurements as former Jets safety Marcus Maye.
He will be able to come in and play a prominent role on day one, and if he is sitting there with the Jets on the clock at pick 74, barring any major safety additions in free agency, Joe Douglas should not hesitate to give Battle a call.