The New York Jets put themselves in an interesting situation going into the NFL free agency period. Focusing purely on upgrading their offense, they went out and signed the top free-agent wide receiver in Eric Decker and pulled a surprising move in signing quarterback Michael Vick. These newest acquisitions aren’t bad by any means, but the Jets are usually known for putting out a solid defense. They’ve yet to sign any defensive players in free agency.
The Jets parted ways with cornerback Antonio Cromartie and were interested in finding a top replacement. If they couldn’t land one they figured Cromartie wouldn’t draw much interest and would probably come back.
Cromartie ended up signing with the Arizona Cardinals. The Jets then looked at available players like Aqib Talib, Alterraun Verner and of course Darrelle Revis. All the aforementioned players found new homes leaving the Jets with very limited options to address their cornerback needs. They almost landed Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but he ended up signing with the New York Giants.
What will the Jets do now? It’s easy. Grab the best possible cornerback coming out of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Currently owning 12 draft picks, the Jets are in a great position to not only stock up on incredible talent but also use these picks as trade bait. Other teams salivate at getting draft picks in a trade, so the Jets can now utilize them to either grab a top veteran cornerback or even trade them to move up in the draft.
If the Jets plan to use the strategy of trading up, it should only be to draft without question one of the best players at cornerback. Someone who is a shutdown corner, brings aggression and is versatile. The kind of athlete who not only could spell disaster in the secondary but also be a speedy threat on kickoff and punt returns.
Someone like Justin Gilbert.
Gilbert is exactly what the Jets need since he’s not only a defensive leader; he’s a hard-hitting tackling machine. He also has a knack for returning punts and kickoffs for touchdowns, which the Jets desperately need. Since the Jets have plenty of draft picks, they should explore options to do whatever is necessary to put him into a green and white uniform.