The New York Jets might have to deal with some inconsistencies at the cornerback position in 2020. Currently, their most probable starting options are Pierre Desir, Bless Austin, and rookie Bryce Hall (notable mentions to Arthur Maulet and Quincy Wilson).
After releasing Trumaine Johnson and his lofty contract, the Jets didn’t do much to secure a capable veteran, especially one that can fill the number one corner spot he’s leaving behind. Then again, Johnson barely played in any games last season, playing in a total of 17 contests over the past two years.
Ultimately, the Jets need to find a veteran corner to supplement injuries and lack of experience. Desir is a solid player, and he is best used in off-ball man-coverage. I imagine defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will utilize him in that way, but he is not a top-tier corner, and the Jets must be careful if they wish to compete in 2020.
With that being said, investing in a free agent like Dre Kirkpatrick could be a dependable decision for them in an attempt to bolster the cornerback position.
Kirkpatrick posted stable numbers in 2019, logging a 63.3% completion rate against, and allowing three touchdowns. He only played in six games at 30 years old, indicating that age is catching up to him, but it could be an opportunity for the Jets to land an experienced player that has proven to be consistent on a relatively cheap deal. While he does have some problems in the tackling department, allowing a 10.8% missed tackle rate last season, his coverage abilities are proven and can help Gang Green in the future.
Last season was undoubtedly his worst over the past few years, but injuries derailed him, and he is now on the free market because of it. The Jets could also target a player like Logan Ryan, who has been linked to New York in recent weeks. Nonetheless, there are a few solid free-agents on the market, and the Jets would be smart to consider dabbling in hopes of supplementing their efficiency at the position.
The Jets are also confident in Bryce Hall and what he brings to the team. He was one of the best man coverage corners in the most recent draft class and recorded the most pass break-ups out of all corners in college last year.
A significant injury hurt Hall’s draft stock, as he was projected as a first or second-round selection; the Jets managed to grab him in the fifth round, which gives them extraordinary value. While Hall has a few weaknesses to iron out, like ball-skills and experience in zone coverage, he has the potential to develop into a starting player early. If he doesn’t land is starting role right away, I expect him to earn more reps throughout the season as he progresses through his development. Nonetheless, that doesn’t take away from the idea of signing a veteran like Kirkpatrick to help in his growth and act as a leader in the locker room.