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Jason Pinnock Among Jets' Cohort of Young, Promising Cornerbacks

Rookies Michael Carter II, Brandin Echols and Isaiah Dunn Rachet Up the Competition in the Defensive Backfield 


The Jets' youth movement is unmistakable, and that is no more apparent than at the cornerback position where general manager Joe Douglas drafted or acquired via undrafted free agency four players.

That's not to say that guys like Bless Austin and Corey Ballentine (each entering their third NFL seasons) or Javelin Guidry, Bryce Hall and Lamar Jackson (each beginning their second seasons in the league) are grizzled veterans. (Fifth-year man Justin Hardee, signed in free agency, a corner, has been primarily a special-teams standout in the league).

"I would say it's a blessing that we all came in together," Pinnock said of his rookie classmates. "We're a young class and get to lean on each other. And there are other guys in the room, even safeties like Marcus [Maye], so many guys to lean on who are willing to spell out what they've learned."

Pinnock, 21, came to the Jets as the 175th overall pick (fifth round) in the 2021 NFL Draft after four years at Pitt. During his career with the Panthers he had 54 tackles, 19 passes defensed and 6 interceptions. Though he had some ups and downs at Pitt, his performance at the school's pro day helped to sway the Jets to spend a pick on him (4.49-second time in the 40, a 39.5 vertical jump and a 4.10-second 20-yard shuttle).

"Everything's been a blur, everything's been so fast," Pinnock told Ethan Greenberg of "I was just laughing with my people, saying it feels like yesterday that I was drafted. I'm a person that lives where my feet are."

Right now, the feet of the 6-0, 205-corner with the 78-inch wingspan and 39.5 vertical leap are planted firmly in the mix among a fluid group. In addition to the holdovers, the rookies in addition to Pinnock are Michael Carter II, Brandin Echols and Isaiah Dunn (the UFA in the room).

"Jason, from an analytics standpoint, if you just look at his career analytically, his production is off the charts," head coach Robert Saleh said in May.

In college, Pinnock logged some impressive numbers, allowing a catch on only 41 percent of his targets for his career and less than 30 percent in his senior season, which led the nation. He's played outside corner, but has also been employed in the slot to take advantage of his size and aggressiveness.

"I feel like this is my fit [in defensive scheme]," he said. "I think I'm going to excel and do a lot of great things under [defensive coordinator Jeff] Ulbrich and Coach Saleh.

"Right now, me personally, I slow things down when it gets hectic. Most guys, most coaches know I'm very cool school ... I don't let things faze me. When it comes to football, I have a high motor. I give myself time to slow things down."

After the first four training camp practices (without pads), Pinnock said he's ready for the real thing -- nearly a week of practice leading up to Saturday night's Green & White practice at MetLife Stadium.

"Itching, itching," Pinnock said, describing his eagerness to finally put on the pads. "That's football. That's what I fell in love with when I was 6 years old and what I've been doing for 16 years and what I'm ready to do for another and another and another few years."

See All of the Top Images from the First Week of Practices at Jets Training Camp

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