Post Draft Analysis of The 2012 New York Jets: Defensive Backs

By Akiva Goldenberg

In this year’s NFL Draft the New York Jets selected two safeties, Josh Bush in the sixth round and Antonio Allen in the seventh round. Both were surprising picks but for completely different reasons. Bush was not as highly rated as some of the other free safety prospects still left on the board when he was selected, while Allen was originally expected by many to be drafted in the third or fourth round and slid because of a history of concussions.

At the moment there is only one legitimate starter on the Jets, LaRon Landry, and a number of backups. Jets fans should expect the team to re-sign safety Jim Leonhard, who would play the free safety position opposite the strong safety, Landry. The Jets have signed three undrafted free agent defensive backs: Ryan Steed, Donnie Fletcher, and D’Anton Lynn.

Steed is expected to compete at the cornerback and free safety positions, he’s a quality talent who I fully expect to get a spot on the 53 man regular season roster. Fletcher will also be competing at cornerback and he also has a reasonable to chance of being on the regular season roster. Most likely due to nepotism the Jets signed D’Anton Lynn, the son of current Jets running back coach Anthony Lynn, but he does have the opportunity to make the practice squad, just like last year’s charitable seventh round pick Scotty McKnight did.

According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, former New York Jet Drew Coleman’s agent, Alan Herman, mentioned that the Jets were one of three teams interested in the services of the cornerback. If the Jets do acquire Coleman, then they would solidify their depth at the position since Coleman would the number four cornerback on the depth chart.

Of course the Jets do still have starting cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie on the team. Though Revis was obviously dominant in 2011, Cromartie and nickel cornerback Kyle Wilson were disappointing at times.  Fans should hope Cromartie and Wilson both improve in 2012.

Overall the Jets will likely have Revis, Cromartie, Landry, and Leonhard as their starting defensive backs. Wilson will continue to the be the nickel cornerback while Eric Smith will continue his role on special teams.

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