Welcome to the Spotlight. Here we spotlight one key player for each game of the season, hopefully putting a different player in the spotlight each week. Today's player in the spotlight is cornerback Parry Nickerson.
Parry Nickerson is a 24 year old, 5' 10", 185 pound rookie slot cornerback out of Tulane University. Nickerson was drafted by the New York Jets with the 179th overall selection in the 6th round of the 2018 NFL draft.
Parry Nickerson had a stellar college career at Tulane, earning honorable mention All-Conference USA and first-team Freshman All-American honors with 51 tackles, six interceptions (seventh in the FBS), and six passes defended his redshirt freshman season in 2014. In 2015 Nickerson recorded 46 tackles, 3.5 for loss, and eight passes defended. He earned second team all-conference honors in 2016, intercepting four passes and returning them for 171 yards (fourth in the FBS). Nickerson also had nine passes defended and posted 29 tackles on the year. Nickerson closed out an outstanding college career with another six interceptions and eight passes defended in 2017. In the NFL Combine Parry Nickerson blazed a 4.32 40 yard dash to further put him on the map for NFL scouts. Nickerson’s only downside was his size, which relegated him to a slot corner role in the NFL.
The Jets will have their #1 cornerback in Trumaine Johnson and their starting slot cornerback in Buster Skrine both out for today’s skirmish with the Minnesota Vikings. That makes Parry Nickerson a starter at slot cornerback, an unenviable task against the NFL’s leading receiver, Minnesota’s Adam Thielen. With the Vikings struggling to establish the running game all year, their offense depends on their two outstanding receivers, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen to put up big numbers on a weekly basis. For the most part the Vikings dynamic duo have been up to the task, with Thielen setting an NFL record to start the 2018 season with six consecutive 100 yard games. Adam Thielen operates out of the slot, making him the likely responsibility of Parry Nickerson for the most part today. Asking a rookie cornerback to cover the NFL’s leading receiver may be a bridge too far for the Jets, but that is the position Nickerson finds himself in. In addition, MetLife Stadium will be exceptionally windy today, making the deep passing game difficult and putting a premium on the short game Thielen thrives on.
Today’s contest against the Minnesota Vikings presents the Jets with an opportunity to get back above .500 for the first time since the first week of the season. The Vikings have had little success running the ball this year, and the deep passing game will be difficult in the swirling gale force winds expected in the New Jersey Meadowlands today. That makes Adam Thielen even more important to the Vikings attack than he already has been as the NFL’s leading receiver. Limit Thielen and the Vikings offense should not present an overwhelming threat for the Jets. If Parry Nickerson can hold his own against Thielen, a task clearly easier said than done, the Jets should have a decent chance to emerge from this game victorious. If, on the other hand, Thielen takes the Jets rookie to school, the Vikings offense might prove too much for the Jets to overcome.
Parry Nickerson, ready or not, here comes Adam Thielen. This may not be the challenge the Jets expected to hand you so early in your career, but this is the challenge you’ve been forced into. This is your time in the spotlight. This is your chance to shine for the Jets. Time to show the world what you can do and help lead the New York Jets to victory on Sunday.