The New York Jets have put themselves in an interesting situation when it comes to their defensive secondary. They’re in a situation where the 2014 NFL Draft is the final opportunity to address their needs. Parting ways with both Ed Reed and Antonio Cromartie, the Jets are now turning to their younger players to help pick up the void. They picked up Dimitri Patterson via free agency, but he’s not really a long-term solution at the position. He was brought in to mainly be a mentor to guys like Dee Milliner and Kyle Wilson. With 12 draft picks this year, what position should the Jets address immediately with their first-round draft pick?
Head coach Rex Ryan will be sure to chime in to those around him within the organization to consider just how important it will be to draft at least one or two shutdown cornerbacks. It’s one of the defensive pillars that landed the Jets in two back-to-back AFC Championship games. Without those kind of players who are game-changers in their secondary, the Jets will have another long season to not really look forward to. That’s why the Jets are being very proactive and have already scheduled visits with some of the best cornerbacks in the draft to see what they like before they make their selections.
Preparation is the key to all success. It’s better to do your homework now before you regret your draft choices later. You can’t go back and undo anything.
This year in the draft, the top three players who could immediately come in and have long-term success with the Jets are Bradley Roy, Justin Gilbert and Darqueze Dennard. They are three very different kinds of players, but the one who stands out from the bunch is definitely Dennard.
After winning the Thorpe Award naming him the best cornerback in the nation, he is actually eerily similar to what the Jets had in Darrelle Revis. A true shutdown corner, Dennard is tough, smart and makes great instinctive decisions during key moments late in football games. Keep in mind last year in college, he had seven interceptions, including two pick-sixes.
The Jets should absolutely take a cornerback in the first round of the draft and solidify the mantra that defense does indeed win championships. Just go and ask the Seattle Seahawks how important defense is and you’ll be reminded. If the Jets wait until the later rounds of the draft to upgrade their secondary, they would be taking an incredibly large risk that could come back to haunt them down the road.