The Jets spent a ton of money this offseason to try and upgrade their defensive backfield. These additions make it less likely the team will draft a cornerback, right?
Could Jets add another cornerback? #NYJ intrigued by Uof Washington's Marcus Peters, who'll be visiting, per sources pic.twitter.com/88QirMqh7f— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) April 13, 2015
Does this make any sense after the spending spree? Don't the Jets have bigger needs? Some might say this is a bad idea. I do not agree.
I am going to start out by saying I do not think the Jets should take a cornerback with the sixth pick. This isn't because the team invested at cornerback, though. It is because I do not believe any corner is worthy of that pick. If the team trades down and in the second round, it might make sense.
Why? It does have something to do with how much Todd Bowles likes to load the field with defensive backs. This alone does not explain it.
There are a couple of pieces of conventional Draft wisdom with which I strongly disagree. The first is that a team should only focus on fixing weaknesses through the Draft. Needs should definitely be part of the consideration,but they cannot be the only consideration. The Draft is far and away the most likely place to find big talent capable of helping the team for eight to ten years. Think back five years ago. Back then the Jets had Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. Cornerback was not a need. The team took Kyle Wilson in the first round. Was this a bad pick? Yes, but it was not because Wilson is a cornerback. What if Joe Haden had fallen to the Jets instead of Wilson? Would he have been a bad pick? The Jets would have avoided a lot of the problems they have had the last few years with a guy like Haden.
Strengths change in the NFL. It is always best to address the future of a position so that it never gets to a crisis spot. That brings me to my next point. When teams focus only on need in the Draft, it puts all of the emphasis on a player's rookie season. For teams looking to win a championship, it might make sense to skew things that way. The Jets probably aren't a Super Bowl contender in 2015. It isn't impossible. Maybe lightning strikes. Maybe a few players overperform. Maybe the team improves ahead of schedule. This is probably not the most likely scenario, though. Realistic expectations do not involve the Jets winning it all. Isn't there some kind of disconnect then if the only focus of the Draft is 2015?
Beyond any of this, the Jets really could use some young talent at corner. Darrelle Revis is probably locked in for two to three years, but things are not as clear behind him. Buster Skrine is best suited to play the slot. The Jets are hoping Dee Milliner can make good on his potential, but it is difficult to be optimistic. Antonio Cromartie is a year to year player. He is on the wrong side of 30. It is unclear when and how steep his decline will be. The Jets also structured his contract in a way where cutting him after any of the next three seasons saves $8 million in cap space. If the Jets had a young replacement in place a year from now, they could reallocate that money to improve another spot on the roster. A rookie in 2015 would get a year to adjust to the NFL.
Don't get me wrong. I am not saying the Jets absolutely need to pick a corner this year. I am saying they should not dismiss the idea if the value is right. It makes plenty of sense under the right circumstances and is not something the team should dismiss out of hand.