Cornerback is one of the most important positions in the NFL, more so today than ever. With the rules constantly changing to favour the quarterback and passing offenses, finding a good cornerback duo can be gold-dust.
At the moment, we find ourselves in a position of uncertainty with our corners, and I think we all expect it to be an area that is address through free agency next week. The Jets have invested 3 first round picks in the last 10 years on the corner position, but as we see below, they haven't always worked out.
I wanted to really separate the corners from the safeties, so although Russell Carter and Burgess Owens were listed as corners, they played the majority of their careers at the safety position, so for the sake of this series, they will be featured with the safeties.
New York Jets: First Round Cornerbacks
2013: Dee Milliner #9
2010 - Kyle Wilson #29
2007 - Darrelle Revis #14
1994 - Aaron Glenn #12
1970 - Steve Tannen #20
This is going to be an interesting one for sure. Looking at the list, you can see we've drafted some good players at the position, and some are still an unknown.
Dee Milliner - 2 years as a Jet. 62 tackles, 19 passes defended, 3 interceptions
I still don't know what we have with Dee Milliner. He's looked poor, he's been benched and he's looked excellent. Unfortunately part of the reason we still don't know what we have is due to him being unable to stay on the field. However in 2013 he struggled to find any consistency being benched three times throughout the year. However he closed out the season with some dominant performances that earned him defensive player of the week honours as well as defensive player of the month.
Due to his strong finish to the 2013 season, the hopes for Milliner coming into 2014 were extremely high, however it wasn't too be for the top 10 selection. He struggled with ankle injuries all pre-season and missed 3 of the first 4 games of the 2014 season. He didn't start a game until week 5 and in week 6 he tore his Achilles tendon ending his season. Will he come back strong this year? It's still possible that Dee Milliner will become a fantastic player. However with the injuries mounting up, you just can't rely on him anymore.
Kyle Wilson - 5 years as a Jet. 142 tackles, 17 passes defended, 3 interceptions
I wasn't very fond of the Kyle Wilson selection when we drafted him #29 overall in 2010. He struggled getting his head around for the ball in college and was an inconsistent tackler. So when he made the jump to the NFL, he struggled to get his head around and locate the ball with his back to the QB and was an inconsistent tackler. On the outside he was poor, giving up numerous big plays.
When moved inside to the slot, Kyle Wilson was an average to above average player. However if a team needed a completion on 3rd down, they would often go after him and complete it without many problems. He's constantly been rated negatively by PFF and never quite turned into the play-maker we all hoped he would be. He averages less than an interception a year and if I were the Jets, I'd let him walk this off-season.
It's not that Kyle Wilson is a terrible player, he's serviceable as a #3 or #4 but you don't take a player in the 1st round in the hope they'd turn into a serviceable nickel sub-package corner. I have to consider Wilson a disappointment based on the round he was drafted. Sorry Kyle.
Darrelle Revis - 6 years as a Jet - 294 tackles, 98 passes defended, 19 interceptions
It's hard to not think of Revis when considering the best every draft selections for the Jets. He has consistently been one of the finest cornerbacks in the league and it's a shame that the Superbowl he currently owns was earned with the division rival Patriots. There were holdouts, there was animosity, and there was an acrimonious end, but that doesn't undo all the positives.
Revis had an amazing season in 2009 as he constantly matched up against the best receivers in the league and restricted them to their lowest totals on the year. 31 passes defended in a season is remarkable and he topped them off with 6 interceptions. In 2010 he made up one of the finest cornerback tandems I can remember with Antonio Cromartie and again proved why he was the best cornerback in the league.
The problem with Revis, it was always about the money. However can anyone blame him? NFL teams treat players like business commodities, so why shouldn't players be the same. As fans we're loyal to our team, and we expect that from the players, but the reality is, that's not how a business is run. Revis was and still is one of the best football players I've ever seen in green and white, and I think we'd all welcome him back in green and white.
Aaron Glenn - 8 years as a Jet - 340 tackles, 24 interceptions
Aaron Glenn is perhaps one of my favourite players of all time. I never really considered him to be completely dominant, but he was consistently very good. He had some great years including his 6 interception pro bowl year in 1998. He was an accomplished kick returner and played with fantastic technique at the cornerback position. His 100 yard touchdown return of Dan Marino in 1996 was one of the most iconic moments for Glenn who's stature was small but who's game was big. He was a physical specimen for his size
Unfortunately we lost Glenn through the 2002 expansion draft. Each team had to select 5 players that the Texans could draft, and Glenn was one of them. The Texans jumped at the opportunity and selected him very early, taking him back to his native Texas. According to rumours at the time, the Jets wanted to keep Glenn and thought the Texans would avoid selecting him due to his big $8 million salary. It was a calculated risk that backfired on the Jets, who lost their best starting cornerback.
Steve Tannen - 5 years as a Jet - 12 interceptions
I couldn't find a great deal on Tannen besides his interception total and the fact he played between cornerback and safety for 5 years. He had persistent shoulder injuries that slowed him down and he would retire after leaving the Jets after the 1974 season. He was a tough, physical competitor who was a big talker and an even bigger hitter. Although he did make plays for the Jets and was a solid special team contributor, he was a little disappointing for a first round selection. We have to remember that the 1970 draft had super cornerback Mel Blount who was taken in the 3rd round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.