Last week we took a pre-training camp glance at the cornerback competition and a lot has happened since. Let’s jump right into the action and see how the cornerback competition is shaping up in Cortland.
1) Antonio Cromartie
Not only is Cromartie the clear cut number one corner but he is also the captain of this defense. He will match up with the opposition’s best ariel threat week in and week out, call out pre snap reads in the secondary, and tutor the younger guys. He’s had rookie Dee Milliner at his side the past few days and has shown impressive leadership from the offseason all the way into camp. Cromartie is a lock to hold down this spot all season unless Dee Milliner has a once in a decade rookie season.
2) Kyle Wilson
Wilson’s had a quiet camp and that’s usually excellent news for a corner back. He’s seen reps at safety but is taking a majority of the reps at the second corner spot, along with rookie Dee Milliner. After the Green and White scrimmage, Rex Ryan singled out Kyle Wilson for his great play and improvement all offseason. While the fan base tends to complain about Wilson often, he certainly seems to be developing nicely with the extra help from Cromartie this offseason.
3) Dee Milliner
By this time next week it would not be shocking if Milliner is in the #2 spot. His late arrival to camp hasn’t set him back too much as he’s consistently seen time with the first team defense. While Milliner was one of the most talented prospects in the entire draft, he fell to the Jets at #9 overall due to the dire need of offensive tackles from teams picking in the top ten. His game needs little refinement, especially on his backpedaling ability (something Alabama cornerbacks are not taught). His speed is elite, he tackles much like a safety, and has the size to dominate. He only gave up one completion for nine yards in the Green and White scrimmage, impressive stuff from one of the toughest positions to play as an NFL rookie. He was beaten on a double move by Clyde Gates, but Sanchez made a horrible off target throw. Keep an eye on Dee as this is a huge week for him.
4) Isaiah Trufant
Trufant was settling in as the Jets nickel back last season before suffering a season ending injury. While undersized, he is excellent in the slot and even shut down Wes Welker when given the opportunity. He looks fully healed in camp as of now and is once again finding his niche in the Jets secondary.
5) Darrin Walls
Walls was making strides last season as an UDFA and is starting to come into his own in his sophomore NFL training camp. In OTA’s he was often seen playing in the number two corner spot with the absence of Dee Milliner. While I have him ranked behind Trufant, he will be the first man to step in the number two spot if their is an injury or poor play from Kyle Wilson and Dee Milliner.
6) Mike Edwards
Certainly the biggest shocker on the power rankings, but Edwards deserves this spot for two reasons. He’s a superb kick returner and Joe McKnight’s days as a Jet seem to be numbered. Second, all of the guys ranked after him have been putrid. Edwards is a guy you can develop and would have been drafted if he didn’t have a few character questions coming out of Hawaii. This is “my guy” to surprise a ton of people in pre season games if he’s given opportunities on kick offs and with the second team secondary.
7) Ellis Lankster
One of my bigger disappointments in the past season, Lankster garners a ton of hype in the offseason and fails to show anything when given opportunities. He was burned in regular season games last year and torched in the green and white scrimmage. What once looked like as a lock for the dime corner spot, Lankster might not even make the team.
8) Donnie Fletcher
By this time next week I fully expect Fletcher to surpass Lankster. The only reason I don’t have him higher than Edwards is because this team will need a kick returner soon and Edwards is superb. While he hasn’t made a ton of noise, he will certainly receive reps in preseason games. Rex Ryan loves to keep 6-7 corners, giving Fletcher a hope to make the final 53.
A guy that the Jets had high hopes for this season, the former Lion’s starter has struggled staying healthy with the Jets. A torn ACL ended his season early in camp, let’s hope he can make a recovery and return to camp next season.