The free-agency period has been good one way or another for every NFL team. Hence, it’s time to take a look at the positives in our newest series for End Zone Score. Which newcomer to the club was the franchise’s best offseason move and why? We’ll get things started with the 2016 last-place teams in the eight divisions and that means the New York Jets are in the spotlight.
For the disaster that was the team’s 5-11 showing in 2016, Todd Bowles’ defense was the big disappointment. One year earlier, the Green and White gave up the fourth-fewest yards per game in the league. Only the Seattle Seahawks gave up fewer yards on the ground, while New York ranked a very-respectable 13th in the NFL vs. the pass. The Jets gave up only 29 offensive touchdowns – 25 through the air.
This past season, the lasting image of this defense was watching cornerback Darrelle Revis and others get burned by the big play. Bowles’ club allowed 30 TD passes. And a season after totaling 18 interceptions, New York defenders picked off opposing hurlers only eight times. Revis was given his release by the team, hence the addition of cornerback Morris Claiborne. He was having a Pro Bowl-type season in ’16 but played in just seven games but did return for the playoffs. All told, that’s been the five-year pro’s biggest issue to date.
Still, the sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft was worth the gamble. He’s Pro Football Focus’ 12th-ranked cornerback and 11th in the league when it comes to his coverage skills. And you can look for the New York Jets to also address this position sometime within the first two days of April’s draft as well.