It has been a busy offseason for the New York Jets, one where a number of areas on the roster were not just addressed but upgraded.
Needs along the offensive line? Check. Adding multiple wide receivers with playmaker ability? Check. Getting a pass rusher? Check. Depth issues at running back and quarterback? Check. Upgrades at cornerback? Well…
The Jets cornerback situation still needs some tender loving care, a unit that was weak a season ago is not substantially better come 2020. And while there is lots of hope in some of the talent at cornerback, hope isn’t enough if the team is looking to take a step forward this upcoming season.
Along with re-signing Brian Poole and Arthur Maulet, the Jets big moves of the offseason at cornerback come with question marks as well as plenty of potential. Bless Austin, a Day 3 pick last year out of Rutgers, was solid for the Jets but still has some room for growth if he's going to solidify one of the starting cornerback slots.
Free agent signing Pierre Desir is a good solid cornerback who had a difficult and underwhelming 2019 for the Indianapolis Colts. A season before, Desir posted a career high 79 tackles along with an interception and eight passes defended. The Jets are hoping that Desir can bounce back and be closer to his 2018 form, something that is evidenced by their one-year ‘Prove-It’ contract with the outside cornerback. Desir isn’t a sure thing, but if he reverts to his form from two years ago, he could be a good solution for the Jets at a position of need.
And in the NFL Draft, fifth round pick Bryce Hall is talented but risky as well. An ankle injury shelved him for the second half of his senior season at Viriginia, cutting short a campaign that had him projected to be a top 60 pick in the draft had he been able to stay on the field. The Jets got a potential steal in Hall on Day 3, but the injury is a concern as he continues to rehab with the hopes of seeing the field in preseason.
The Jets are likely a cornerback away from feeling settled at the position. There have been rumors that Logan Ryan, who was a standout with the Tennessee Titans a year ago, could be set to join the Jets if his price point could be reached. The former Rutgers star could be a good fit for the Jets at either outside or against the slot.
Cornerback is likely the one area where general manager Joe Douglas will be looking at potentially adding multiple bodies to add starting level experience and depth. There is hope that an undrafted rookie free agent such as Lamar Jackson out of Nebraska could see the field and contribute. But even should the rookie step in and add depth, the Jets need a proven, reliable cornerback to add immediate starting quality if they hope to compete for the AFC East in 2020.