Inside and Outside the Lines: Secondary Edition
When it comes to the secondary of the Jets and the Eagles all you can say is, it is much improved to say the least. The difference one year can make is astounding. In this article I will go into detail about all the contenders and pretenders in the Jets and Eagles secondary.
Cornerbacks The starting cornerbacks on the Jets seem pretty easy to determine after all the money spent in free agency. Darrelle Revis was not only the best cornerback the Jets have ever had but also arguably the best player the Jets ever had in general. Needless to say he will be starting every game barring injury. Second is a man that may seem familiar named Antonio Cromartie. Cromartie is Robin to Revis’s Batman and will be starting every game barring injury. Next is Kyle Wilson….just kidding, our team is not JV anymore. Buster Skrine has taken Kyle Wilson’s spot or at least the spot that Kyle Wilson should have been able to fill but never did. With five years of experience Buster Skrine will man the slot and just like Revis and Cromartie, Skrine should start every game barring injury.
After Skrine there is a slight drop of in cornerback play. That is not because of lack of talent but rather the fact of being injury prone. The next cornerback on the depth chart is former first round, very early first round I might add, pick Dee Milliner. Milliner was the starter last year until an injury ended his season. The way Todd Bowles uses cornerbacks, Dee Milliner will get plenty of looks. After Milliner there is a real question of who would be next. There are really three candidates to pick from. Two of the candidates were starters last year and the third had his season taken away from injury. The three players I am talking about are Marcus Williams, Darrin Walls and Dexter McDougle. Marcus Williams showed a lot last year. On a team that was subpar, he shined at times. If I was making a depth chart today, Marcus Williams would be my 5th cornerback without question. Depending on how McDougle performs, he has a real good chance of taking the 6th cornerback position. That would mean Darrin Walls would be the 7th cornerback and probably the last one to make the team.
Contenders 1) Revis 2) Cromartie 3) Skrine 4) Milliner 5) Williams 6) McDougle 7) Walls
Pretenders 1) Curtis Brown 2) Keith Lewis 3) Dashaun Phillips
When your team has ten current cornerbacks on the roster and seven have the capabilities to start at different times, that is a great thing especially when your coach is Todd Bowles.
Safety Another position that the Jets got better in through free agency was safety. Adding Marcus Gilchrist allows Calvin Pryor to be free to wreck havoc. This addition also allows Antonio Allen to be strictly at safety which is his natural position. The Jets also signed Jaiquawn Jarrett to a tender strictly for depth purposes it seems. Safety on paper is one of the Jets thinnest positions. If a safety goes down, a player like Rontez Miles may have to start.
Contenders 1) Calvin Pryor 2) Marcus Gilchrist 3) Antonio Allen 4) Jaiquawn Jarrett
Pretenders 1) Rontez Miles
Based on having only five active safeties it is almost certain 2-3 will be added between the draft and UDFAs.
Cornerbacks To say the secondary of the Eagles cost them a playoff berth is an understatement. Through free agency the Eagles gutted their secondary and essentially started fresh. The Eagles landed the top cornerback on the market not named Revis, former Seattle Seahawk Byron Maxwell. Eagles went back to the Seattle Seahawk talent well to pick up Walter Thurmond. If Thurmond can stay healthy the Eagles should look a lot better at cornerback. Recently the Eagles also added former Washington Redskin spot starter E.J. Biggers. It is unclear at this point what Biggers role will be. The cornerbacks the Eagles kept from last year are Brandon Boykin, Nolan Carroll and injury prone Jaylen Watkins. Based on the current depth chart it is very possible the Eagles may add a cornerback in the draft such as Marcus Peters or Jalen Collins. The Eagles may also dangle Boykin as trade bait in the draft.
Contenders 1) Byron Maxwell 2) Walter Thurmond 3) Brandon Boykin 4) Nolan Carroll 5) E.J. Biggers
Pretenders 1) Jaylen Watkins (until he can stay healthy)
Safety is another position on the Eagles that does not strike much fear into the opponent. On the Eagles it seems like Malcolm Jenkins vs. the world and that is not that far off. Free safety is set with Jenkins as the starter but strong safety starter Earl Wolff is not very intimidating. The Eagles got strong at cornerback and now it is time for them to stock up on safeties in the draft such as Landon Collins, Gerod Holliman and Demarious Randall. The Eagles need to get as many safeties as they can at this point including UDFAs.
The remaining safeties on the roster are Chris Prosinski, Chris Maragos, Ed Reynolds and hybrid CB/S Jerome Couplin. If you are looking for interceptions Prosinski is not your man with only one in four years. Prosinski is a good tackler but a ball hawking safety would be ideal for the Eagles. If you haven’t caught on by now the Eagles love former Seattle Seahawk secondary members especially ones with Super Bowl rings. I am of course talking about Chris Maragos. Maragos has averaged 10 tackles a year and should get jumped by a draft pick. Maragos is a special teamer at this point in his career. Next is practice squad member Ed Reynolds who has never played a down for the Eagles. Lastly there is Jerome Couplin. Couplin can play both positions but in 8 games played Couplin has a total of 2 tackles. The Eagles are facing a real dilemma at the safety position but a strong draft can turn that around.
Contenders 1) Jenkins 2) Wolff 3) Prosinski (special teams, depth, should never start) 4) Maragos (special teams, depth, should never start)
Pretenders 1) Reynolds 2) Couplin