As the offseason begins, Gang Green Nation will take a look at potential ways to improve the club. Today we will explore moving cornerback Dwight Lowery to safety.
Profile: Lowery was the second best cornerback on the Jets during his rookie season. That, however, says more about the quality of play at the position than it says about Dwight. After an excellent start in which he showed a nose for the football, Lowery hit a wall around October, and his play fell off markedly. A benching and a move to the slot marginally improved his play, but he never recaptured the form that had the coaching staff raving about his instincts and led to him starting opposite Darrelle Revis at Miami in Week 1.
Why It Makes Sense: The Jets are in desperate need of a cover safety to play opposite Kerry Rhodes. Rhodes will play Ed Reed's role of roaming playmaker at safety in Rex Ryan's defense. This team needs a guy to stay deep and play the pass as Rhodes moves around. Eric Smith showed little when given an opportunity. Despite Abram Elam's success against the run and as a blitzer, he was a liability in pass coverage.
The knock on Lowery coming out of college was his speed. Timed in the mid to low 4.5 range in the 40 yard dash prior to the Draft, most pundits had him projected as a Tampa 2 corner, where he would mostly play zone, and his speed would not be an issue. While some believe his play fell off after hitting a rookie wall and will rebound when he is better conditioned in year two, others doubt Dwight's ability to play corner in the NFL primarily in man coverage because of this lack of speed. At safety, he will not have to run with wideouts for forty yards, and his excellent ball skills make him an intriguing option at safety. He has the skill set to play the position at a high level.
Odds of Happening: It all depends on what Rex Ryan sees on film and to which of the two theories he subscribes. Lowery will probably be given a shot to fill either the glaring hole at starting corner or the glaring hole at safety.