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Joe McKnight to Convert to Cornerback

Here we'll talk a little about Rex Ryan's comments that Joe McKnight will convert to the cornerback position.

Joe Sargent - Getty Images

So, now we understand why the New York Jets signed RB Jonathan Grimes off of the Houston Texans practice squad. It seems that their intent is to convert Joe McKnight into a near fulltime cornerback. As we have discussed previously, here, McKnight has some experience at the position. Notably, he played the position through high school and was recruited as a CB before being converted to a RB at USC. For whatever reason, McKnight isn't getting the touches he deserves on offense. Maybe he will get it on defense. Do you recall in Remember the Titans when Petey Jones converts from running back to linebacker? Yeah, that is actually happening.

I'm not sure what to make of this move. Clearly, the team is hurting at cornerback depth after our top two guys in Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson. And clearly, for whatever reason, Anthony Lynn, the running backs coach, must hate Joe McKnight. That's not a fact, I actually don't know what's going on in the locker room, but something is up that the team wants to scarcely use one of our biggest playmakers at his natural position. It's not unprecedented, because the New England Patriots have used players like Julian Edelman both ways, but it's still strange. I liked Todd Jason from The Jet Report's note that we have a QB on the punt team and a RB on defense. We're seriously mixing with convention here.

So, we'll see McKnight used some at cornerback. It's a weird move and I suspect it likely won't work out as well as Rex Ryan thinks it will. McKnight is a freak athlete though and arguably the best all-around athlete on the team after Cromartie. But hey, if it does work, Rex will be a genius.

Edit: To make us all feel a little better, I'd like to point out that in his junior year of of high school, McKnight had three pick-sixes as a CB. He was one of the highest ranked players in high school, on offense and defense. In addition, a former coach at USC, Ken Norton Jr., once said that if McKnight was a cornerback through college he would have been drafted as a first round pick.

Edit 2: We've gotten a little more information. McKnight said that he will be asked only to play man coverage, no zone, and will only be on the outside. Presumably so he can use the sideline for assistance. In addition, in his first practice, McKnight had three interceptions, one off of each quarterback.