The Jets recently announced a series of futures signings and we've been conducting research and looking at game footage to review their strengths and weaknesses. We continue today with a look at defensive back Terrell Sinkfield.
The 27-year old Sinkfield was an undrafted free agent out of Northern Iowa and has yet to play in an NFL regular season game. He spent three years in Canada as a wide receiver before converting to cornerback in training camp with the Vikings last year. He's spent time with five NFL and three CFL teams.
Sinkfield was a running back in high school but converted to wide receiver at Northern Iowa.
He didn't play much in his first season and had just five catches as a sophomore, although he did average 26.8 yards per catch. In his junior year, Sinkfield caught six touchdown passes and averaged 16.6 yards on 28 receptions. He had more of a possession role as a senior with 43 catches for 499 yards and four scores.
Sinkfield created some buzz with a big performance at his pro day but still went undrafted and was on four different teams before being released in preseason.
After two years in Cananda, Sinkfield tried again to make an NFL roster but the Vikings released him in final cuts so he spent another year in the CFL.
In his three years north of the border he caught 102 passes, rushed for 296 yards, contributed well as a return man and scored 11 total touchdowns. This included a season with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats where he caught 69 passes for over 1,000 yards, leading them to the Grey Cup.
Sinkfield returned to the Vikings for camp and preseason in 2017, which is when he made the transition to cornerback. After he was released in final cuts, the Jets signed him to their practice squad and he remained on there all year.
Let's take a closer look at what Sinkfield brings to the table, based on in-depth research and film study and divided into categories.
Sinkfield fits the profile of project cornerback the Jets tend to target as he has good size and length at 6'1" and 200 pounds.
However, he drew the most attention for his athletic ability at his pro day where he was unofficially clocked at 4.16 seconds in the 40-yard dash. However, his officially recorded fastest time was 4.33. This is obviously still really good though.
Some of his other numbers, including a 42.5" vertical and a 138" broad jump were also outstanding, although his agility and strength numbers were only about average.
The only footage we have to go on in terms of Sinkfield's abilities on defense are the two preseason games he played with the Vikings in August. In those games, he played exclusively on the right side and never in the slot. Sinkfield lined up both up at the line and in off-coverage.
Sinkfield has played just 17 snaps as a receiver in NFL preseason action, with no catches on one target. However, he showcased some good athleticism and playmaking abilities in college:
In preseason, Sinkfield was targeted 10 times. He gave up six catches for 41 yards and a touchdown but also had three passes defensed and another pass disruption negated by a penalty on his teammate.
Most of the time Sinkfield was in a good position and did a good job of staying with his man after the break in his route and closing on the ball. The biggest play he gave up was this completion on 4th-and-6:
However, he also had a play where his man beat him over the top and he never got his head turned around. That should have been a good gain, but the receiver dropped it.
As noted, Sinkfield played up at the line of scrimmage sometimes, although he usually bailed out at or just before the snap. On this play, he failed to get a clean jam on the receiver and ended up giving up a touchdown:
Sinkfield didn't have any penalties in preseason action but did draw a penalty on special teams.
Sinkfield showed an ability to disrupt passes in preseason with his length. One came on third and long as the quarterback threw a desperation pass up for grabs. The most impressive saw him make a diving play on the ball over the middle, but there was a defensive face mask call so that was negated.
As a converted receiver, you would expect him to have good hands, as he showcased on this play in college:
However, he had a play in preseason where he jumped in front of a route but the ball went through his hands.
As he played on the outside all the time, Sinkfield wasn't really a factor in the running game. Officially he had five tackles, all in the passing game. However, there was one play where he leveraged his way off a receivers block and got in on the tackle for a short gain on the outside.
Sinkfield didn't get many chances to show his tackling ability in preseason, although he displayed good technique to bring down his man short of the marker here:
There was one other open field tackle he made where the receiver was juggling his catch so Sinkfield went for a big hit and didn't really get him cleanly.
On one play, the offense ran a tunnel screen to Sinkfield's man on the outside and he got chipped by the slot receiver and couldn't make the tackle as he made a diving attempt in desperation.
Sinkfield did not have any pass rush attempts in preseason, so this is something we can't really evaluate yet.
Sinkfield might bring some potential as a return man. While the rules are slightly different in Canada, his 14.2 yards per punt return average over three years is impressive. He also had one touchdown. His kickoff return average was less impressive at 22.4 yards.
Here's an example of what he can do, but he broke plenty of long returns like this one in Canada:
With the Vikings, Sinkfield didn't get any return work but saw time in multiple roles, including as a vice and a gunner. On one punt, he initially overpursued due to a block in the back, but then still broke back to the ball immediately for a big hit.
Sinkfield admits that the cornerback position was completely new to him when he made the transfer although he did apparently play some cornerback in high school. He said in an interview that the defensive terminology was like a foreign language to him, although he was helped by veterans like Terence Newman.
On the field he seemed comfortable enough, although there are perhaps moments of hesitation and tentativeness at times.
He shows some good instincts as a runner in the open field as a return man.
Sinkfield's desire to make it at the NFL level has seen him dedicate himself to making the transition to defensive back, with a focus on technique and film-study.
In college, Sinkfield reportedly was frustrated with his role and, in Canada, it was said that he relied too much on his natural talent, leading to occasional mental errors. However, his coaches praised his improved work ethic as he seems to have matured over the past few years.
Sinkfield missed the last two games of preseason with an undisclosed injury. Prior to that, he doesn't appear to have had serious injury issues in the recent past.
As noted, Sinkfield fits the profile of a typical Todd Bowles cornerback, although he may need to work on his press coverage abilities. His lack of experience of playing in the slot hurts his chances, although he has played as a slot receiver.
It's interesting that Sinkfield stayed on the practice squad all year. Since his position change is only recent, his progress over the last year might make him worthy of keeping an eye on.
Although he was only on the third unit in preseason, Sinkfield actually looked pretty good so you can imagine a scenario where the Jets saw some potential in him and were keen to get him in the system.
Of course, he's another long-shot otherwise he wouldn't have been available on a futures deal in the first place. However, it will be interesting to see if he's progressed much since last year.