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Claiborne, Skrine Provided Consistency at CB

Posted Jan 31, 2018

With Financial Flexibility, Jets May Elect to Add to Stable of Corners in Spring

On the Active Roster in 2017 (GP/GS, Defensive Snaps)

Buster Skrine (15/15, 1011), Morris Claiborne (15/15, 920), Darryl Roberts (15/4, 467), Juston Burris (14/1, 336), Robert Nelson (2/0, 41), Rashard Robinson (6/1, 20), Xavier Coleman (2/0, 3), Derrick Jones (3/0, 0), Jeremy Clark (1/0, 0). Injured Reserve: Bryson Keeton (0/0, 0).

Potential Free Agents in 2018

Unrestricted: Morris Claiborne.

(RESERVE/FUTURE SIGNING: Terrell Sinkfield (PS all 17 weeks)

Last Season in Review 
After releasing Darrelle Revis following the 2016 season, the Jets made a low-risk move in free agency by signing talented CB Morris Claiborne. The former Cowboy had shown flashes of lockdown ability during his time in Dallas, but injuries kept him from consistently reaching a high level. Often lined up against the opposition’s top receiver, the 27-year-old Claiborne led the team with 11 pass defenses. Claiborne also compiled 42 total tackles and picked off DeShone Kizer during the Jets’ Week 5 win over the Browns.

In his third season with the Jets, Buster Skrine entered 2017 as the elder statesmen in the cornerback room. The 28-year-old took on the outside role opposite Claiborne in base packages, shifting to nickel corner during sub packages. Skrine arguably had his best season with the Green & White, hitting his stride following the bye week. During Weeks 12-15, Skrine amassed 12 tackles, five pass defenses, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

Both in their sophomore seasons, Darryl Roberts and Juston Burris saw time on the outside during sub packages. Roberts made the most impact in his role with nine pass defenses and an interception in 467 defensive snaps.



Looking Ahead
Despite finishing 21st in pass defense, the corners helped an improving backfield take a step forward in 2017. The numbers were better in terms of passing yards surrendered (243.6 Yds/G to 234.3 Yds/G), opposition completion percentage (63.7% to 59%) and QB passer rating (98.5 to 90.1).

“At the end of the day, this game is measured in wins and losses. It’s a point-blank league,” Claiborne said. “But, in this locker room, we took a lot out of this season. It didn’t go how we planned it to go, but I feel like a lot of guys, both as individuals and as a group, did a lot of growing up.”

One of the key questions the Jets face this offseason pertains to Claiborne. After receiving a one-year “prove it” deal, the LSU product played well and was available while appearing in 15 games.

It will also be interesting to see the progression of Derrick Jones and Jeremy Clark in their second seasons. Jones was active for three games during the regular season. Clark, who was recovering from an ACL tear, was only active for one game his rookie campaign.

No matter the outcome with Claiborne, the Jets will have financial flexibility to add another cornerback after the league year. The list of corners with expiring contracts includes Trumaine Johnson (LA Rams), Malcolm Butler (New England Patriots), E.J. Gaines (Buffalo Bills), Patrick Robinson (Philadelphia Eagles), Prince Amukamara (Chicago Bears), Brent Grimes (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Darqueze Dennard (Cincinnati Bengals) and Jonathan Joseph (Houston Texans).

With three selections in the first two rounds and nine picks overall, the Jets could also elect to use the Draft to add talent and depth at the cornerback position.