The New York Jets had many issues in 2016 and although the cornerback position was not the top one, the team must improve its secondary in 2017. New York finished the 2016 season tied for 31st in interceptions, recording a mere eight and not returning any of them for a touchdown. The team’s cornerbacks accounted for five of the eight interceptions, according to Pro Football Reference.
Although cornerback play was not the reason the Jets did not succeed in 2016, they will need to upgrade at the position in the upcoming draft.
New York Jets Cornerback end of Season Review
The once feared Revis Island was open for business in 2016. There was a time when Revis was the best at the position. However, that time has surely come to an end. Over the first six weeks of the season, Revis was the 99th best cornerback in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. Revis’ struggles were highlighted in week two, when Bills’ receiver Marquise Goodwin burned him for an 84th touchdown. Signs of Revis’ decline were prominent.
However, Revis was able to elevate his play in the latter 11 weeks of the season. During that span he was PFF’s 24th best cornerback, posting a 58.7 catch percentage. That was almost 20 points lower than during the first six weeks.
Revis is currently an unsigned free agent and has been rumored to possibly return to New York but it would not be surprising if his time in the Big Apple has come to an end.
When Skrine was signed in 2015 to a five-year contract he was originally the team’s slot corner. With Revis and Antonio Cromartie on the outsides in 2015, Skrine thrived at his natural position. After Cromartie departed the following off-season, the team took Skrine out of the slot and had him play Cromartie’s now vacant role.
Skrine had struggled with penalties throughout his career and 2016 was no different. He was on the wrong end of ten penalties, eight of which were accepted. He had to miss two games in 2016, one due to a knee injury and one due to a concussion suffered in week 14 (Skrine missed weeks 8 and 15).
The former fifth round pick will be returning to the Jets for a third season and could be one of their lone bright spots in 2017. If Skrine can keep his penalties to a minimum and stay in the slot, he could prove valuable to New York once again.
A possible starting cornerback for New York in 2017, 2016 was another positive year for 26-year-old cornerback Marcus Williams. Despite playing in only 13 games and managing four stars, Williams was one of only two players on the roster to record more than one interception on the season. Williams also added a sack and 29 tackles in 2016.
Williams was signed by the Jets in 2014 and was quickly elevated from their practice squad. In 34 career games Williams has recorded nine interceptions. At only 26 years old, Williams has the ability to become a perfect number two corner in New York for a while.
Darryl Roberts playing sparingly in 2016. Signed off the Patriots practice squad, the speedy corner saw his first game action with the Jets. Roberts reportedly had a very strong training camp with the Patriots after being selected in the seventh round of the 2015 draft. However he was sidelined during the 2015 season due to a wrist injury. With the Jets in 2016 he was able to record 21 total tackles in 12 games.
A fourth round pick in 2016, Juston Burris had a very strong last quarter of the season and USA Today writer Joe Laclandra called him the Jets best cornerback as of late. Burris played only 185 snaps, the lowest of any cornerback on this list. According to Pro-Football Reference, all of Burris’ snaps came in just seven games. However, he made the most of his opportunities. Despite playing less than five times the amount of snaps of Revis, Burris posted the same stat line (one interception and five pass break ups). In his limited playing time Burris flashed potential and the ability to sniff out the football. The Jets might have found a gem in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL draft.
The 2017 New York Jets aren’t making the playoffs. They are in full rebuilding mode and their cornerbacks reflect that. New York has moved on from Revis and has some young players that could be the future at the position. A lineup of Burris, Williams, a rookie in the upcoming draft (perhaps Marshon Lattimore) and Skrine in the slot could prove to be one of the league’s most underrated cornerback groups in 2017.