Camp Countdown '08: Cornerbacks
The one guarantee among Jets corners is that second year player Darrelle Revis has won the number one position for the next few years based on his rookie play. Revis had a solid rookie campaign often limiting top number 1 Wrís to just a handful of looks a week and proving to be an outstanding tackler. The team is hoping that Revis improves further in year 2 in his ability to make a play on the football in the air giving the Jets another game changing option on defense.
Nobody, however, has been able to stake a claim to lining up alongside Revis under Manginiís watch, and many fans of the team have been wrapped up in the battle for the second and third cornerback in 2008. David Barrett is the older veteran on the team who has been a rumored salary cap cut for the last two seasons, but continues to find his way onto the team. Barrett is an up and down talent that can defend big passes from time to time, but also allows a tremendous amount of catches underneath as he plays far off his man in coverage. The Jets 2005 2nd round draft pick, Justin Miller, has been a disappointment in his time in NY. Miller has tremendous physical tools but does not have a head for the position. He looks completely lost once the football is in the air and has yet to make an interception in two seasons. This is Miller's final shot with the team as he is playing for a new contract. Both Drew Coleman and Hank Poteat, who filled in very nicely for the team in 2007, will be back to compete for minutes at corner. Alot may be expected of Dwight Lowery, the teams 4th round draft choice in 2008 by the fans. He was considered a top performer in college, but limited athletic ability and speed saw him fall to day 2 in the draft. Already comparisons have started to Ty Law which is unfair to Lowery in his bid to prove the doubters wrong. Andre Woolfolk was out of the NFL last season and is one of the Jets seemingly yearly reclamation projects for the team. He has been working very hard but its just as likely that he is there to make a point to the young players about how short an NFL career may be moreso than actually being there to make the team.
In some respects the battle for the 2nd spot is somewhat overrated. The Jets secondary has gotten by nicely these last two seasons with patchwork players such as Poteat and Andre Dyson and there is no reason to believe they cant do the same with a similar group of players in 2008. Also, with the amount of pass plays currently employed by the NFL offenses the 2nd and 3rd corner are both going to see almost equivalent time. The team is going to carry 5 or 6 players at the position with Revis as the only lock to make it. The Jets would like Miller, a pro bowl special teamer, to win a spot very early in camp and Lowery to show enough to justify his selection in the draft. So really itís a numbers battle between the other players. Barrettís best option to make the team would look to be out of his hands as he is more of an insurance policy for the team. The last two years he has made the team by default as nobody has stood up to make him expendable. If Miller shows he has turned the corner Barrett would likely be sent packing. The coaching staff loves Poteat and would like to see him on the team, however they know there is limited interest in Poteat around the league and he would be ready to step back into uniform at a moments notice if they choose to cut him loose. Coleman will need to show something to make the team as he has been buried since being drafted in 2006 and Woolfolk needs to stand out and see others slip to get back into the NFL. Regardless of who makes it this should be a relative position of strength for the defense.