|Jets Holdovers||Sauce Gardner (Round 1a, 2022), D.J. Reed (UFA-SEA, 2022), Bryce Hall (Round 5, 2020), Michael Carter II (Round 5b, 2021), Brandin Echols (Round 6b, 2021), Justin Hardee (UFA-NO, 2021), Jimmy Moreland (FA, 2022)|
|New Veteran||Javelin Guidry (W-ATL, 2023)|
|Rookie Arrival||Derrick Langford (UDFA, 2023)|
Cornerstones and Contributors
The Jets have one of the NFL's top CB tandems in Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed. In their first season together, Gardner, the rookie who was named first-team All-Pro, a Pro Bowler and Defensive Rookie of the Year; and Reed, the veteran who arrived in New York after starting his career with the 49ers and the Seahawks, helped the Jets finish thirdagainst the pass (189.4 yds/g) and secondin pass yards per play (5.79). Gardner led the NFL with 20 PDs while Reed ranked firstt in yards per reception (1.88), secondin tight window percentage (34.2%) and fifth in yards/att. allowed (5.34) according to NextGen Stats. Michael Carter II was one of three nickel corners with multiple INTs and TFL.
Newcomers and Outgoers
The Jets drafted Jarrick Bernard-Converse (LSU), signed undrafted free agent Derek Langford (Washington State) and claimed CB Javelin Guidry (Atlanta) off waivers. While JBC can play all three secondary positions, the speedster lined up at safety in the spring. Guidry, who originally signed with the Jets as a UDFA in 2000, has 66 tackles in 32 career games.
Veterans Brandin Echols and Bryce Hall will continue to provide depth behind Gardner and Reed, the elite pair who started all 17 games last season.
See images of Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, Michael Carter and the Jets cornerbacks.
Pro Football Focus recently ranked Gardner the league's top corner and Reed 21st overall. Adding a little spice to the Jets-Dolphins rivalry is PFF ranked new Miami CB Jalen Ramsey No. 2 and Xavien Howard 17.
"That's my brother," Reed said of Gardner. "I always say the sky is not the limit for him. He's so good, but still could get so much better. From an athletic standpoint he can cover everybody, any receiver. He's sticky in coverage and has the right mindset. What separates Sauce is that he's eager to learn every day. He's trying to add to his game. He's focused on this year. He did great things last year, but that's last year. He has a different mindset than anybody else."
The expectation for Sauce in Year 2 is a surge. Last season, the Jets finished tied for 19th in interceptions (12). Gardner had 2.
"We've all talked about and seen the sophomore slump for a lot of these guys that get a lot of recognition and notoriety and awards and the whole thing," said DC Jeff Ulbrich. "Typically, when that happens, you see a letdown, you see a guy take a deep breath, kick his feet up, I've arrived. I haven't felt or seen or sensed that from him in the slightest. To him, I think, it just made him more hungry to be the great corner that I know that he can be, so I don't anticipate any letdown."
The Jets also consider Michael Carter II one of the defense's key pieces.
"MC is a problem-solver and he can do it all," said CB coach Tony Oden. "He can play big-boy ball and make big tackles like a linebacker, and he can cover like a corner. He can go out there and run the defense like and problem solve."