Link: Jets defensive nucleus is strong but there’s room for improvement

NFL.com Around the League’s Chris Wesseling did an interesting series of posts over the last couple of weeks ranking the best offensive and defensive nuclei of all 32 teams. While the Jets didn’t fare so well on offense, their defense did rank in the league’s top ten.

7. New York Jets
As far as 3-4 defensive lines go, the Jets’ trio of Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison and Sheldon Richardson is peerless. Wilkerson will be in the market for a mega-contract, but Harrison and Richardson are cheaply under team control for the foreseeable future. This defense needs major help at the back end, where first-round cornerbacks Dee Milliner and Kyle Wilson have fallen well short of expectations.

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

We agree with Wesseling’s assessment of the Jets front three.  In addition, the linebacking corps looked rejuvenated in 2013, but more changes might be coming there this offseason.  Right now it is obvious that the weak point of this Jets defense has been the secondary and the team will have to re-work that group in 2014.

Kyle Wilson will still be on his rookie deal in 2014 and while he’s not been stellar but with a $2.2 million cap value he’ll do as a slot corner.  Dee Milliner is showing signs of steady improvement in the last four games and posted his first interception of the season last week against the Browns.  Milliner played commendably against Josh Gordon, so maybe Wesseling needs to watch some more recent tape on the Jets.

In his tenure with the team, on the whole Rex Ryan has de-emphasized the safety position in favor of cornerbacks.  That’s something that can be gotten away with when Darrelle Revis is on the roster.  In 2012, while Cromartie played very well, it was Cro’s play in combination with LaRon Landry’s that helped stabilize the unit when Revis was gone.  With a large cap number and big cap savings looming by cutting Cro in 2014, he’s going to be at risk for being on this team next season.

In recent weeks the Jets seem to have finally dialed in Ed Reed in combination with Milliner and Cro, but the team is going to have to vigorously evaluate their options at the safety spot going forward.  The team needs to try and find a playmaker with strong coverage skills to help even out that group.  Maybe that guy can be Ed Reed, but the Jets shouldn’t leave any options off the table as they move forward in the post-Revis and potentially post-Cromartie era.




14 comments
Omari Brown
Omari Brown

Fill needs in FA and draft best player available. My dream would be to see Orakpo(probably out of Jets price range), Byrd or TJ Ward, and vet QB from FA. Then thy could draft the best football player at each slot..

Jeff E. Guy
Jeff E. Guy

I'm one of those Jets fans who remember this team being carved up in the slot. We had Indy in check in the conference final until Manning starting carving the slot. Since Kyle Wilson has taken responsibility for that area, I can't remember too many times we've been carved up there. As far as I'm concerned, he's been doing a great job. No complaints. #KeepRex 

a57se
a57se

Whose expectations have Wilson and Milliner fallen well short of?

That is an uninformed comment by Wesserling if you ask me.

frustjetfn
frustjetfn

Brian, I can't believe you said "Maybe that guy can be Ed Reed." You're usually right on, but that's Rex Ryan ridiculous. He brings in washed up vets (some HOF guys from prior Rex defenses) who can't let the game go or want a final paycheck, and gives them playing time over developing kids like Antonio Allen. But at least Rex does it out of a false sense of loyalty. In contrast, I would expect you to be more analytical.


To even suggest bringing Reed back is preposterous. What's next, give him a long term non-trade deal for big bucks? If Rex wants Reed around to show the kids how to behave in the NFL, then retain him as a coach. After all, hasn't Rex been hard selling us that we must lose games to Geno & Milliner because the only way they can learn is during real action? Hmm, I guess that only applies to certain Rex favorites. Sorry, Antonio Allen, you're screwed.

bob
bob

Dats right!

Kyle Suta
Kyle Suta

I would sign Jairus Byrd, Eric Decker and sign shaun hill/Chad Henne to back up Geno. I would love to draft Sammy Watkins in the 1st and maybe get a TE in the 2nd.

frustjetfn
frustjetfn

@a57seMy guess is that they were both 1st Round draft choices who you'd expect to be future stars for your team ,,,if you draft right.

jdb7
jdb7

@frustjetfnGive Ed a full offseason to condition himself.  I believe he would come back strong.  Remember he had hip surgery this past year and we've seen how the hip injury has hampered Cromartie.

McGeorge
McGeorge

@Kyle Suta If Byrd would play like he did 2 years ago, it could be good. But would he cost an arm and a leg?

I wonder how Decker would be with a QB other than Manning.  He might be good, but not like the stats he's put up this year.

a57se
a57se

@frustjetfn

When you compare what we have gotten from Kyle WIlson for the 29th pick in the 2010 draft to other 29th picks historically, we have done OK with him.

Better then average based on Draft Metrics. 

Milliner is a work in progress but how many rookie CB's come in and excel from day one?

If your expectations are higher then they should be, you'll be disappointed......

Kyle Suta
Kyle Suta

I thought about Maclin but I don't want a big risk starting. And look up S Deone Bucannon at S from Washington state he's a beast. If we can't get Byrd which is likely I would take him and sign G Asamoah.