The New York Jets still need starters at both wide receiver and cornerback, and they have made minor moves to address them by signing receiver Jacoby Ford and cornerback Dimitri Patterson. Both players are probably penciled in as starters at the moment, but Jets fans better hope it doesn’t stay that way. These are backup level players, and they change nothing about how the Jets should approach the draft.
We’ll begin with Ford, who has totaled just 57 receptions for 848 yards and 3 touchdowns in his three year career. Ford has speed to burn, and he should provide a deep threat. He will also make contributions as a kick returner, which is another area of need for the Jets. However, Ford is not worthy of being the Jets’ starter opposite Eric Decker. Ford is useful in the right role, but if the Jets try to make him a starter they will have the same problems they had last season. If anything, this signing may finally convince the Jets to rid themselves of Stephen Hill.
Patterson is a journeyman backup who has 9 interceptions in his nine year career. The Jets will be his fifth team, though he does appear to be a solid fit in the Jets’ man to man system. However, he will likely only compete with Kyle Wilson and Darrin Walls to be the team’s third corner. No matter how poorly Antonio Cromartie played last season, Patterson is still a downgrade. Going into the season with him as a starter would be a mistake.
Both of these were smart moves by the Jets to add depth and insurance, and I wrote recently that the Jets should target each of these players. That being said, it is still absolutely vital that the Jets take a wide receiver and a cornerback with their first two picks in the upcoming draft. While Ford and Patterson will play their roles, they are simply not good enough to be starters. The Jets need to find long term solutions at these two positions, and that means investing high draft picks.