We have pro bowl cornerbacks, we have a budding front line. I'm not worried about the thought that we have all strong safeties and no true cover safety. The more I think about it, the more excited I am about this upcoming season. The reason I'm writing this is because of one guy. His name is Donnie Fletcher, the 6'1 200 pound corner from Boston college. I'm not gonna hype him up. Just do me a favor and take 6 minutes out of your life and check this out. I'll explain to you what I see when I watch this after this short clip.
At :30 seconds, watch the break to the ball, the timing, and the coordination . Free safeties get paid to make plays like this. See the play in front of you, break on the ball, and defense the pass. He does this without any contact, yanking on the receiver, and he does it perfectly.
:45 seconds. Watch the speed he diagnoses this play with. This is a quick, snap and throw. He is on the ball as the receiver is caching it. If you time it, he diagnoses, closes on the play within 1.5 seconds. Trust me, I timed it.
2:05 He makes a downfield stretched out interception. Again watch the way he plays the ball. No pass interference penalty, he turns himself from the DB to the receiver. He tracks the ball, shields the WR with his body, and makes a play on the ball. There is no pulling, pushing, handfighting, this is just 2 guys going for a ball, and 1 guy using his brain to make a great play.
2:45. My favorite play. Florida State goes to the quick strike hoping the corner will be backed off the line, and the WR can juke him and cut up field. Fletcher sees the play, and destroys the receiver. That is smart and aggressive football.
4:50 Wake Forest tries a little deception and rolls the pocket to the opposite side. Watch his closing burst to dislodge the receiver from the ball. Form in his tackling while making a play is excellent.
I won't cover the interceptions on poorly thrown balls, but the guy just seems to have an awareness on where to be. Tipped balls, seem to go his way, sort of like Ed Reed who seems to always be in the right spot to catch a pass that the receiver bobbled, or tipped.
I think this guy is aggressive, he's smart, he's football fast, and he can close on the ball. The reviews I read said that he's a better zone defender. Granted this is a highlight clip I'm posting, but you can see that this guy is good in man coverage.
The Jets as we all know will be playing more 46 defense, but that in no way means that is all they will play. I loved the way they were able to use Dwight Lowery when he was here as a 3rd DB in a 3-2-5 and sometimes even a 6 defensive back shell defense. This guy has the tools to be the 4th DB behind Revis, Cromartie, and Lowery.
I think he has the skills to be the kind of guy that Rex Ryan mentioned in the cornerback/safety hybrid that he likes. http://www.newyorkjets.com/photos-and-videos/videos/Rookie-Spotlight-D%E2%80%99Anton-Lynn/41de2f73-9796-43f7-8c4b-845ab1d5a758 Rex was talking about D'Anton Lynn in this link, but I think the same applies (maybe even more so) to Donnie Fletcher. The Jets can play him in man in a 2 or 3 deep shell coverage, or drop him back as the safety. They can play him as a deep safety in zone, or bring him up in man coverage on tight ends, backs, or wide receivers.
I'm really pulling for this guy to make the team, and I think realistically he will. However I'm pulling for him to play that Dwight Lowery role from a few years ago. His skill at diagnosing a play, and making a play could be just what the doctor ordered to go along with a pass rush of Coples, Maybin, Wilkerson, and Pace. We could be sitting on a gold mine, and the next brick in the wall of the 2012 Jets defense.