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Here Are the Big Position Battles on Defense for the Jets

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William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday we took a look at some of the notable position battles the Jets figure to have on the offensive side of the ball. Here are some of the spots to watch on defense.


The departure of Antonio Cromartie left a hole. I think this competition has been misanalyzed, though. The NFL has morphed into a league where a nickel defense is the base defense. The Jets had three starting cornerbacks last year, Darrelle Revis, Buster Skrine, and Cromartie. Many are now asking whether Skrine will become a starter. He already was, though, for all intents and purposes. The question is whether he will see more time on the outside with somebody else sliding into Skrine's slot role. Either way, a new player will have to take on a bigger workload. The early favorite is Marcus Williams, who performed very well as the fourth corner in 2015. Could young players like Dee Milliner and Dexter McDougle step up? Could the Jets add a cheap veteran? Only time will tell.

Outside Linebacker

The Jets are going to ask 2015 third round pick Lorenzo Mauldin to step into a much bigger role after a promising rookie year as a situational player. How the snaps will be allocated aside from Mauldin is anybody's guess. It would be a lot to ask 2016 third rounder Jordan Jenkins to step in as a rookie. This is not an easy position to play, but the team doesn't really have many other options. Trevor Reilly seems like a special teamer. CFL import Freddie Bishop might be in the mix. While the Jets have publicly said they haven't closed the door on bringing back Calvin Pace, it feels like they have.

Inside Linebacker

Erin Henderson will enter training camp as the presumptive starter, but he does not have the type of contract that guarantees him the job. The Jets just invested a first round pick at the position. If Darron Lee surprises, he might be able to play his way onto the field. Bruce Carter is another option with starting experience.