We're now moving on to look at defensive backs, starting with this year's cornerback class. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, so please share analysis, commentary and gifs of your favorite prospects in the comments section.
Jets Needs: Cornerbacks
The Darrelle Revis era is over and the Jets need some more talent at the cornerback position. They signed Morris Claiborne during the offseason, but he's probably more of a stop-gap.
While Marcus Williams has been a good playmaker over the past few years, his weak tackling has been exploited by teams and Buster Skrine has had some good games but isn't exactly viewed as irreplaceable.
There isn't a lot of quality youth in the pipeline, although fourth round pick Juston Burris showed a few flashes of ability late in his rookie season. Fortunately for the Jets, this is a deep class and starter-level players could be available all the way into the middle rounds.
First round prospects
As the dust began to settle, it was looking like a pair of Ohio State cornerbacks would represent the top two picks in this year's draft. Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley both had terrific numbers in coverage this year and each has visited with the Jets.
However, new broke today that Conley has been reportedly accused of sexual assault, so that will almost certainly drop him significantly.
Of the two, Lattimore is the better athlete, but Conley has superior length. Lattimore has been linked with the Jets at six, but they may be turned off by durability concerns that could be seen as similar to those which blighted former top 10 pick Dee Milliner throughout his Jets career.
There's not much consensus over which other corners will be first round picks but there are a bunch of candidates. Alabama's Marlon Humphrey and LSU's Tre'Davious White have been considered possible first round picks for most of the year, while Washington's Kevin King, Colorado's Chidobe Awuzie and Florida's Quincy Wilson seem to have raised their profile since the season ended.
Humphrey will again draw parallels to Milliner because they both went to Alabama and this may again hurt his reputation because it's well documented that cornerbacks from Alabama require an adjustment period to the NFL due to the way Nick Saban coaches his defensive backs.
White brings an ability to play outside or in the slot and also adds value as a return man. He's not regarded as a great tackler but did a decent job on this play:
Awuzie also posted some nice measurables and could be a good slot specialist at the next level. He's also an effective blitzer.
Finally, Wilson has the size and length that scouts covet and might be viewed as one of the best press cover corners in the draft apart, especially if Conley's stock falls. However, his athletic numbers were not great and his film reveals he can be prone to focus blips.
Beyond the first round, there are a couple of players who at one time or another have also been considered potential first round picks. These include Adoree Jackson from USC, Cordrea Tankersley from Clemson, Teez Tabor from Florida, Sidney Jones from Washington and Iowa's Desmond King. In any other year, each of these could have been potential first round picks, but not in this corner-rich draft.
It seems like each of these players has fallen for different reasons. Jackson was a hot name earlier on in the process due to his return skills, but his inconsistent film at corner seems to have caught up with him. Tabor has fallen due to disappointing workout numbers. Jones tore his Achilles tendon, King still has people questioning if he's athletic enough to play corner and Tankersley just seems to have been bumped out of the first round by some of the rising prospects that have overtaken him.
Although he is still relatively raw, Jackson's athleticism can help him make some remarkable plays. While it wouldn't have counted based on NFL rules, this was one of the most impressive interceptions of last season:
Jones' injury, suffered at his pro day workout was a disaster for a player almost certain to get picked in the first round. Once again, there are Milliner parallels, because Milliner never again played a defensive snap for the Jets after tearing his Achilles. However, scouts are reported to have said Jones won't fall much further than the third.
King is technically one of the best cornerbacks in the draft but has a reputation as someone who lacks elite-level athleticism. While his combine numbers were actually not bad and, in some places, superior to other prospects who are still being considered as cornerbacks, he has supposedly said he is prepared to move to safety if that's what a team really wants. He's already one of the better cornerbacks in this class against the run but if he moves to safety then his coverage skill will be an equally useful asset:
UCLA's Fabian Moreau was another player whose stock was rising in the pre-draft process only for him to then suffer a torn pectoral muscle at his pro day. He'll still be considered a worthwhile option, capable of physical coverage like this:
Two other candidates to go on day two are Ahkello Witherspoon from Colorado and Rasul Douglas from West Virginia. Each of these has excellent length and Douglas used that to snare eight interceptions during the season. Witherspoon boasts a 40.5" vertical leap and ran a 4.45 40-yard dash at the combine.
Late round sleepers
Jackson's interception above was definitely impressive, but I think the best interception of last year was this one from Michigan's Jourdan Lewis:
Lewis' ball skills would have made him a high pick but he currently has a domestic violence charge hanging over him, so will probably be available later on.
Other later round picks could include Middle Tennessee's Jeremy Cutrer. He has good length but is pretty thin, so he'll need to bulk up to compete at the pro level. He uses that lanky frame to break up this pass at the pylon:
Finally, two later round options in the slot could be Najee Murray from Kent State and Miami's Corn Elder. Despite his lack of size, Elder contributes against the run and is an effective blitzer. Murray has good coverage skills and agility numbers.
Let's have your views in the comments! Who is overrated, who is underrated and who did we not mention that interests you?