The New York Jets have signed another one of their remaining unsigned draft picks from the 2012 NFL Draft, agreeing to terms with South Carolina safety Antonio Allen, who they selected 242nd overall in round 7.
Many consider Allen to have been a steal in the seventh round, as some had projected him to be as high as a third- or fourth-rounder. The Jets were thrilled to see him available when their turn came up again at 242.
After a few trades that left the Jets without any fourth- or fifth-round picks, the Jets had a chance to select Allen in round 6, but instead took another defensive back in Josh Bush of Wake Forest.
Bush was the second Jets draft pick to sign his deal, after highly-touted second round wide receiver Stephen Hill was one of the first rookies of the entire 2012 NFL Draft to sign a deal.
The Jets also signed their two other sixth-rounders, running back Terrance Ganaway and guard Robert T. Griffin, collegiate teammates at Baylor University who were selected back-to-back at 202 and 203 overall.
Allen has a chance to make an immediate impact as a rookie, an opportunity not many seventh-round picks are commonly afforded.
But with uncertainty at the safety position, a strong training camp and preseason could earn someone like Antonio Allen or Josh Bush significant playing time in the regular season.
Right now, Eric Smith and LaRon Landry are atop the depth chart at the safety positions, but neither of them are particularly well-suited for the rangy, strong coverage responsibilities of a traditional free safety.
It’ll be an interesting position battle to watch this preseason, that’s for sure. Aside from starting cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, playing time in the defensive backfield will certainly be up for grabs.