Jets head coach Todd Bowles spoke to reporters Tuesday at the NFL Annual League Meeting in Orlando and discussed a number of topics, including the new players who joined the Green & White in free agency.
One of the more prized free agents on the market, cornerback Trumaine Johnson provides Bowles a lockdown corner to play opposite Morris Claiborne. Johnson, who has registered 18 interceptions and 67 pass defenses in six seasons, shadowed opposing teams' No. 1 receivers the past two seasons for the Rams.
"Trumaine is a good football player," Bowles said. "I think he can play in any scheme. He can play man, zone, off or on. He's just a heady football player. He's tall, long, physical and understands how to play. Those are a lot of things that attracted us to him."
The Jets quickly addressed middle linebacker in free agency with the signing of Avery Williamson. The 26-year-old Williamson recorded over 100 tackles in two of his four seasons in the league and while some questions were raised regarding his cover skills, Bowles isn't worried.
"He's got normal cover skills," he said. "I wouldn't say he's a burner, but he's a very intelligent ballplayer."
Bowles added, "We're very confident Williamson can play football. He's a first-, second- and third-down guy. We have different packages that we can use him. He's going to be used to fill in and replace Demario, but he's a tackling machine. He had a ton of tackles year in and year out. He's a very solid tackler and very good at making some space tackles, which is important for us. Obviously he's a little bit younger, but we thought he's a very good football player."
The Jets added a physical runner to the backfield in former Browns back Isaiah Crowell. Only 25 years old, Crowell has a career average of 4.2 yards per carry and is a dual threat as he's tallied 96 catches for 770 yards and one touchdown in four seasons.
"We liked him in Cleveland for a while," Bowles said. "He's a very good runner, he'll be a very good complement with Bilal and Eli back there. He can run the ball and he's very good out of the backfield in doing certain things and we plan on using him that way."
Wide receiver Terrelle Pryor provides a big body as a 6'4", 228-pounder on the outside. Pryor is recovering from a foot injury he suffered in his one year playing for the Redskins. He played in nine games (two starts) and recorded 20 catches for 240 yards after posting a career-high 77 receptions, 1,007 yards and eight touchdowns in 2016 as a Brown.
"Competition," Bowles said of what Pryor brings to the receiving corps. "Hopefully he's healthy and comes in and repeats what he did two years ago. Two years ago he was a beast. He's a big receiver, he's very talented, clean bill of health with his injury. You want to see him run around and create competition. We think he can help us if he's healthy."
The offensive line received a boost with the addition of Spencer Long, who's the new pivot man for the Green & White. Long's 2017 season was cut short with a quad injury, but Bowles said the line will naturally elevate as a result of the signing because the anchor "runs the show."
"Spencer has good position flex," Bowles said. "He can play center or guard. We were looking for a guy with versatility. He has great size and great toughness and he's along the lines of what we want to do on offense this year. He was a perfect fit."
The Jets added to the depth at linebacker with the addition of Kevin Pierre-Louis. Bowles said Pierre-Louis will be utilized primarily in sub packages, but could line up next to third-year LB Darron Lee in certain situations.
"We'll use him a lot in different personnel," he said. "He's a piece for us that can run and hit, similar to Darron Lee, as well as a very good special teams player."
Bowles briefly touched on new signal caller Teddy Bridgewater and mentioned he expects him to throw in the spring. He also touched on kicker Cairo Santos and jokingly said he hopes he doesn't see Santos a lot because that means he's missing kicks.