With camp now underway, we’re going to take a look at some more of the Jets’ offseason acquisitions, continuing today with Mark Myers Jr.
Myers is a 24-year old cornerback who was undrafted out of Southeastern last season. He is 5’10” and 185 pounds and spent preseason last year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Myers has also played in the AAF and CFL.
Myers, who used to go by Marko Myers, took an unusual route to the NFL. He gave up football in his senior year of half school, then went to college at Southeastern, who didn’t even have a football team.
They installed a team in the year he arrived, although their first game was not until the following season, so the entire team redshirted. Myers came off the bench in his redshirt freshman season and then was a three-year starter.
He ended his college career with 91 tackles, 25 passes defensed and nine interceptions in 33 games and was an all-Sun Conference first team selection both as a cornerback and a returner.
Having unsurprisingly gone undrafted, Myers was unable to earn an undrafted free agent contract, but was invited to Bucs rookie camp on a tryout basis. His performance there was enough to convince the Bucs to sign him and bring him into camp.
In preseason, Myers played with the third unit, recording five tackles in four games. He didn’t make the final roster, although he did spend the first several weeks of the season on the Bucs’ practice squad.
After nobody offered him a futures deal at the end of the season, Myers four games played in the AAF, recording 10 tackles and two passes defensed.
He then signed with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders, recording five tackles, a forced fumble and an interception in two preseason games. However, Calgary released him so he could sign with the Jets in June.
Now let’s take a look at what Myers brings to the table, divided into categories.
Myers is not very big but seems to have decent length and posted some good workout numbers at his pro day. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds and had a 33” vertical and a 125” broad jump.
In preseason action with the Bucs, Myers played exclusively on the outside. However, he does have some experience in the slot. He played there a lot during his time in the AAF and CFL.
He’s had experience of playing up at the line and in off-coverage whether in the slot or on the outside.
Watching Myers’ college film, he clearly has some good explosiveness, closing speed and an ability to read and anticipate.
However, since he’s moved up to the pro level, he’s constantly looked a little out of his depth, even in AAF and CFL action. Clearly the jump in competition has been something he’s had to adjust to.
He’s been burned over the top for big plays on a fairly regular basis and hasn’t been able to make a play on the ball very often like he did when he played at Southeastern.
Myers often loses at the line and is then left battling to recover. He runs with his man on this play, but isn’t in a position to go up and make a strong play on the ball and the receiver reaches up for a one-handed catch.
He manages to disrupt this play though, as he is able to hustle back to force the receiver out of bounds.
Myers made a ton of plays on the ball in coverage, including coming down with some contested catches on balls thrown up for grabs. He was also adept at making big yardage on returns.
He hasn’t done much of this at the pro level, although he did have this pick-six in a CFL preseason game.
Myers’ primary problem is that he is either late to get his head turned round and locate the ball or doesn’t get his head turned at all on downfield throws. This happened regularly in his NFL, AAF and CFL footage. Here’s an example.
Myers’ film shows him to have been a big hitter in college, but coming up aggressively at the pro level can (and did) lead to several missed tackles.
Myers has plenty of experience of playing press coverage. Here’s footage of him playing physical coverage to break up a fade route in college.
However, he seems reluctant to get his hands on his man early to get a clean jam and this is part of the reason he sometimes gets beaten over the top.
He could also serve to be more aggressive at the catch point and in disrupting routes down the field.
Myers has had issues with getting called for pass interference at every level. On this play, he was burned deep for what probably would have been a touchdown but Luke Falk’s underthrow led to an interference call instead.
He had another play in preseason where he got beaten deep and seemed to dive and trip the receiver but got away with it.
Myers is a willing run defender and is capable of coming up into the box to make plays like this one.
He had plenty of good plays against the run on his college film as well, including a few tackles for loss.
Myers hasn’t had a sack or hurry at any level and hasn’t even had a pass rush attempt in the NFL or AAF.
In college, Myers was a prolific punt returner, averaging over 19 yards per return in 2015, 13 in 2016 and 20 in 2017. He had a lot of long returns, including a couple of touchdown and some plays where he broke several tackles in spectacular fashion.
However, he hasn’t had a chance to return punts in the pros. That may be because he takes a lot of risks in terms of catching punts when an opponent is bearing down on him.
At the pro level, Myers has had experience of being in the vice role, blocking on the return units and playing the gunner position in punt coverage. He wasn’t very effective in any of these roles, though. As you can see, he was completely slowed down at the line by a double team here.
Myers did have one special teams tackle in his two preseason games while up in Canada.
In college, Myers made some impressive plays where he made a quick read and closed to blow it up. It was harder for him to do this at the pro level, although he did a nice job of jumping the route on the aforementioned pick-six.
He shows poor anticipation on this play, which sees him get caught up in traffic to leave his man wide open underneath.
Myers comes from a Christian background and was a leader in college. He’s said to be a motivated player who puts in a lot of hard work as he tries to constantly get better every day.
Myers doesn’t seem to have had many injury issues during his career so far, although he dealt with a head injury during his time in the AAF.
At this stage of his career, Myers needs to refine his technique before there’s a role for him on this team. Longer term, it might make sense for him to keep working on his ability to play in the slot because there’s often less competition there.
Myers is an extremely raw player but he clearly has some athletic potential and would have been an interesting draft prospect based on his college film.
The fact he’s basically struggled in NFL, CFL and AAF play since entering the pros doesn’t necessarily mean he can’t play at this level. It was probably smart of him to chase roles in the CFL and AAF because he needs all the reps he can to try and continue to get used to the jump in competition. Maybe that will pay dividends as camp progresses.
It’s perhaps surprising that Myers hasn’t been included in the mix for the punt returner role, but as he isn’t likely to otherwise make any kind of impact on special teams or defense, he’s perhaps not the ideal contender for that role.
It seems unlikely Myers will compete for a roster spot this season. However, he’ll be determined to try and hold his own with the third unit if he makes in to preseason. Then perhaps the Jets will feel he can continue to develop with them and will give him an extended look on the practice squad as the Bucs did last year.