It would be easy to make light of Javelin Guidry's given name. But when it came to track & field, the Jets cornerback turned his back on the "field" and stuck to the "track."
In high school he was the 100-meter state champion in two states: Texas 5A in 2016 and California in 2017; he clocked the fastest all-conditions 100-meter time in California state history in 2017 — a 10.13; Guidry placed fourth in the 200 meters and helped Vista Murrieta's 4x100 relay team to a third-place finish at the 2017 CIF State Championship; and then in the spring of 2016, he clocked a 4.35-second 40 at the Opening Regional in Dallas.
Still, there was more to come. After leaving the University of Utah a year early, Guidry was one of the stars of the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. His eye-opening numbers (he ran a 4.29 in the 40-yard dash, making him and University of Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III, at 4.27, the only two players to clock under 4.3 seconds) did little to increase his draft capital.
Initially signed by the Jets as an undrafted free agent, Guidry was waived during the final roster cuts in early September 2020, then added one day later to the practice squad. He was elevated to the active roster on Oct. 1 and saw his first action in the NFL against Denver.
Now, after a couple of weeks of voluntary OTAs and the mandatory minicamp, Guidry is looking forward to the start of training camp and the coming competition at cornerback in the Jets' new defensive scheme being implemented by defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich and Head Coach Robert Saleh. Guidry, for his part, is hardly a grizzled veteran, but he did say he feels more comfortable and knows what to expect.
"Last spring coming off the Combine and then the Draft, it was a real long year," Guidry, 22, told Eric Allen. "I've just had a real offseason after getting some experience last year. Now it's a blessing to show what I've been working on at home."
Guidry saw his first action in the 2020 season in the Week 4 loss to visiting Denver in a "Thursday Night Football" game. He made his first real impact in the Week 12 game against Miami with a pair of solo tackles and 1 forced fumble. Against the Raiders the next week, he took 46% of the snaps on defense, made 4 solo tackles and forced 2 fumbles. At Seattle, Guidry (who took over the nickel position with Brian Poole out injured) was on the field for 63 of 73 snaps (86%), the most of his professional career, so far. It was also his first start in the NFL. He started again the next week, at the Rams, when the Jets earned their first win of the season and Guidry made 6 solo tackles and played 100% of the team's snaps on defense.
With training camp still several weeks away, the coaching staff's watchword since the winter has been "competition." To that end, the Jets drafted Michael Carter II, Jason Pinnock and Brandin Echols, and also signed Justin Hardee. The holdovers at CB include Bless Austin, Lamar Jackson and Bryce Hall. Rounding out the room are Isaiah Dunn, Corey Ballentine and Zane Lewis.
"Competition breeds improvement and so there's just going to be a great level of competition," Saleh has said. He added: "We love the competition.
"There's a lot of work to be had obviously. They're young, they've got great mental demeanor, they've got great content, they want to learn, they want to do good."
Guidry is well aware that this is no time to rest on any laurels accrued during the 2020 season.
"I have the same mindset this year of trying to elevate my game," Guidry said. "I made plays in a couple of games last year, so I'm looking forward to this season off working on some things, some technical things.
"It's really more mental and getting faster, stronger, more explosive ... watching film. What I did last year, but focusing on the little things I could have done to make more plays. I'm working on my technique, working on my zone drops. Just my eyes really."
And that competition thing?
"I understand that every day is an interview."