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The Cornerback Conversation
Why the Jets don't need to spend an early round selection on CB.
☀️ Good morning,
9️⃣ We can officially say the draft is next week, and my god am I excited about that. Having been practically eliminated from playoff contention by Halloween we’ve had a lot of time to talk about this class, and I’m ready to see who we end up with.
😎 I actually took a 48-hour circuit breaker from most sports this weekend. With it being a long one, I had the chance to spend time with my family and just take a breather.
This morning I caught up on the weekend’s action and the selective stats doing the rounds are quite funny, it’s got to that point in the process when heels are firmly dug in on prospects. Let’s get this over with!
🙌 * First of all you may notice some new graphics in today’s newsletters. A huge thank you to JB from Mets Fix for providing these, I’m biased but I think they look awesome. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you’re a Mets fan and not subscribed to Mets Fix, you’re doing it wrong.
🎥 The Jet’s version of the red carpet was all over social media yesterday as the players returned to the complex for off-season workouts. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see people walking through a door.
🎈🎫 It was Mekhi Becton’s 23rd birthday yesterday, so a very happy birthday to Big Ticket. Becton has a huge year and a huge opportunity ahead of him and I can’t wait to see him play with a chip on his shoulder.
🙏 Over the weekend it would have been Joe McKnight’s 34th birthday. The former Jets running back was tragically shot and killed in a road rage incident in Louisiana in 2016. I had the chance to talk to McKnight after he was drafted in 2010 and he was an incredible human being, taken too soon. Rest easy Joe.
👍 ESPN’s Mel Kiper released his latest mock draft which had the Jets taking Kayvon Thibodeaux, Drake London, and then trading back into the first to take Tyler Linderbaum. I’m no big fan of Mel, but I could live with that.
🤨 NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein had the Jets taking Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner and Jermaine Johnson in his latest mock draft, that’s a scenario that I could live with, but it’s also a scenario I’d be surprised with. I just don’t think the Jets see CB as a huge need.
✈️ Prospect Visit Tracker
The list is starting to get long now as we approach the draft. I’ve put them all into a table with some of the key information about if the visit was private and how many times the team met with the prospect (as far as we know).
The Jets have only met with a small number of prospects on multiple occasions, so you can read into that as much as you like.
🗣️ Cornerback Convo
Talk to enough people who follow the Jets closely and you’ll likely hear the same thing, the Jets love their cornerbacks and don’t believe they need to upgrade the position with a high draft pick.
We can’t forget that we signed D.J. Reid to a 3-year $33 million contract, Reid was drafted by the 49’ers in 2018 so he already has experience playing for Robert Saleh, and then he played in a similar system in Seattle.
He was PFF’s 8th rated CB in 2021 for players who appeared in at least 500 snaps (94 players), his 51.5% receptions allowed rank 6th best in the league using the same parameters. He had as many interceptions as touchdowns allowed (2) as well as 6 pass break-ups. He’s still only 25 and has likely yet to hit his peak, that’s one side sorted.
On the other side, the argument persists as to who’s better between Bryce Hall and Brandin Echols. Personally, I think Echols is a fine player but Bryce Hall at this point is the better outside corner. I know people love the INTs that Echols put on the board, I know I did, but Hall had 14 pass break-ups, allowed a lower completion %, and is still learning his craft. He did allow 6 touchdowns, but he was targeted over 90 times and as CB1 he was covering some of the best receivers in the game, as CB2 he’ll get better assignments and I expect those INT numbers to go up while the TDs come down in 2022.
One thing to also point out is that Hall was significantly better in zone coverage (he was graded better in man as well), Hall allowed 57.8% of passes to be completed in zone coverage in comparison to Echols who allowed 71.4%, again Hall was tagged for a few touchdowns in zone, but attributing touchdowns to players in zone can be quite tricky unless you’re 100% sure on the call, and with the Jets experiencing poor safety play, that has to be a consideration.
The Jets allowed their corners to gain valuable experience last year and because of that they now have NFL experience depth. I don’t mind who wins that CB2 starting spot in camp, I just like that we have three good young corners on the roster, five if you count Michael Carter II and Javelin Guidry inside.
Depth is never a bad thing, and looking at some of the prospects the Jets have met I expect they’ll add a corner late in the draft. They’ve met with the likes of Tariq Carpenter, Leonard Johnson, and Jaylen Watson and those are the kind of names I’d expect.
The Jets have met with the likes of DSJ and Sauce as well, as they should. They should meet with most prospects slated to go inside the top 10, but I’d be pretty shocked if the team went CB early in the 2022 NFL draft.
🔗 Michael Narnia has a great article out charting two key trends with Joe Douglas’s draft picks. “As I dug through the profiles of Douglas’ 19 draft picks, I noticed that 17 of them met at least one of these two criteria. 1) Had a Relative Athletic Score (RAS)* above 7.55, which was the 2020-21 NFL average among drafted players, and 2) Was a team captain in college. I scanned through the top 200 prospects on the consensus big board at NFL Mock Draft Database and identified 48 players who did not meet either of the two criteria we’re looking for (I excluded players who did not complete enough testing to qualify for a RAS)”.
🔗 Tyler Calvaruso of USA Today identified 17 prospects who perfectly fit Mike LaFleur’s offensive system. “Scheme fit always plays a key role in the way a team shapes its draft board. Coaches seldom try to fit square pegs into round holes, making a player’s skill set and system fit paramount to the way the draft plays out. For the Jets, Mike LaFleur’s west coast offense is predicated on versatility at the skill positions and a zone-blocking scheme in the trenches. Fortunately for New York, there are a number of scheme fits in the 2022 NFL draft later this month. Here are 17 prospects who would fit LaFleur’s offense”
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