For the first time since 1978, the New York Jets drafted five (yes, five) Defensive Backs in this year’s annual NFL Draft.
While the transition from a college defense to the NFL can be daunting, new head coach Robert Saleh and GM Joe Douglas took the approach to draft as many defensive secondary players as possible.
The need for multiple types of coverage and an ongoing need for special teams’ talent means that an NFL team probably should have an entire corps of secondary players ready to play by the end of training camp.
Michael Carter II
Michael Carter II was drafted in the 5th round (#154) and immediately added some depth into the secondary and should find himself in the free safety or nickel back role. A three-year starter and team captain at Duke, Carter II amassed four interceptions and 28 pass breakups in his collegiate career. And, oh, his 4.32 40-yard time doesn’t hurt his cause either.
It will be interesting when Jets game announcers get to say the name Michael Carter on both offense and defense since the Jets drafter Michael Carter this year out of North Carolina and Michael Carter II out of Duke. Both are former ACC opponents, and both look to add depth to the Jets roster this season and become playmakers on both sides of the ball.
Staying with ACC draft picks, the Jets also selected CB Jason Pinnock in the 5th round as well (#175 overall). Pinnock brings a solid-sized body at 6′, 204 lbs. to the secondary, and in 2020 at Pittsburgh, he also had three interceptions.
Again, Pinnock brings speed to the secondary with a clocked 4.45 40 yard time, and he is known for being strong in press-man coverage. Pinnock may also find himself quickly in a special team’s role with good body size and speed, especially punts and punt returns.
Rounding out the Jets’ later DB draft picks, Brandin Echols from Kentucky was selected by the Jets in the 6th round (#200 overall).
Echols is a 5’10”, 179 lb. project who will need some seasoning in the NFL ranks before he is let loose in the secondary. However, Echols’ 4.35 40 yard speed itself is impressive enough to get him on the field in a special teams role, and he did have 12 pass breakups in 24 games with Kentucky, so he is another capable and talented DB.
The Jets will now have the luxury of looking at strengths and weaknesses and coverage packages for each DB and assigning special teams roles to these new draft picks.
If anything, the selection of five DBs shows that the Jets are serious about shoring up defensive weaknesses this season, and these selections should quickly pay off.
Featured Image: Duke University Athletics