- This is the second in a series of features on the 2017 NFL Draft, position by position. Today's position: Cornerbacks. The Jets' CB roster synopsis is followed by five players considered top candidates at CB.
*The Jets moved on from Darrelle Revis this offseason, electing to clear some cap space and then they got younger with the signing of former Cowboys CB Morris Claiborne.
"You root for the kid. He has a history where some freak injuries happened, where it hadn't gone well. So we're giving him a chance and we'll see," said head coach Todd Bowles of Claiborne. "We think we got a good one if he can stay healthy. That remains be seen. But I know he can play."
Claiborne, who was the No. 6 overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, played the best football of his career last season in Dallas. Limited to seven regular-season games in 2016, 5'11", 192-pound Claiborne has the potential to give the secondary a shot in the arm.
Best Snapshots of the New Jets CB
"I have a lot of faith in our trainers and doctors. We've done a good job for the most part of having players come here and perform and stay on the field well," said general manager Mike Maccagnan. "I think from that standpoint, we're kind of excited about Morris obviously from an ability standpoint. When he has played, he's played at a fairly high level and he fits from a schematic standpoint very well with us."
Juston Burris and Darryl Roberts could both be in line to fight for some time on the outside. Veteran Buster Skrine, a fixture in both base and sub packages, plays inside and outside. Marcus Williams has a knack for finding the ball and veteran Dexter McDougle enters an important spring under new DB coach Dennard Wilson.
The Jets recently went north for another cornerback, signing FA John Ojo after spending parts of three seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos.
The consensus is this CB class is good and it just might be great. In his latest listing of Top 50 Prospects for the draft, NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah had nine cornerbacks make the cut.
Five Top Cornerbacks in the Draft
MARSHON LATTIMORE, OHIO STATELattimore has battled hamstring injuries, but he was a standout performer for the Buckeyes. Scouts love Lattimore because he is adept at playing press or off coverage, he will come up and attack the run, and he plays with an edge. The 6'0", 193-pound Lattimore finished the 2016 season with 41 tackles along with four interceptions. Tennessee has the No. 5 overall selection and Lattimore might be an option for a team that already added former Patriots CB Logan Ryan in free agency.
GAREON CONLEY, OHIO STATEWhile Lattimore has received most of the buzz in the pre-draft process, fellow Ohio State CB Conley could make his way into the top half of the first round as well. Conley played three seasons in C-Bus, starting 13 games both his sophomore and junior campaigns. The 6'0", 195-pound Conley had eight passes defended and four interceptions in 2016, earning second team all-Big Ten honors. He can play both inside and outside and that versatility will be helpful on draft weekend. After Eli Apple went No. 10 overall last April to the Giants, there is a good chance two Buckeye corners will be first-round picks.
TRE'DAVIOUS WHITE, LSUWhite is another defensive back who is adept at moving around. He started all four years for the Tigers, wearing the No. 18 jersey as both a junior and a senior. At LSU, the No. 18 is said to be synonymous with success as well as a selfless attitude. Over the course of 49 games and 47 starts, White (5'11", 192) tied for fifth in LSU history with 34 passes defended. He also scored three touchdowns on punt returns.
MARLON HUMPHREY, ALABAMAHumphrey could excel in press coverage on the next level and the 6'0", 198-pounder will come up and play the run on the perimeter. The son of former Broncos' first-round pick Bobby Humphrey, Marlon Humphrey started all 29 games he played in during his career. In 14 games last season, the redshirt sophomore totaled five passes defended and two interceptions. He posted a 4.41 time in the 40 and Humphrey is just 20 years old, so there is a lot of potential here.
QUINCY WILSON, FLORIDAThe Gators have a pair of corners who likely will be taken early in Wilson and Jalen "Teez" Tabor. Tabor, who declared for the draft after collecting eight interceptions the past two seasons, didn't run particularly well at the Combine and the UF Pro day with times in the 4.6s and 4.7s respectively. His 33 passes defended rank sixth-most in school history. But Wilson had six interceptions during his UF career and he has great size (6'1", 211 pounds) to combat some of the NFL's bigger wideouts. Wilson also posted a 4.54 time in the 40 at the NFL Combine.