Jets draft preview: Secondary

April, 25, 2012
4/25/12
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This is the final part in a nine-part, position-by-position analysis, breaking down the Jets' needs and draft possibilties.

Position: Secondary

Depth chart: Darrelle Revis (CB), Antonio Cromartie (CB), LaRon Landry (S), Eric Smith (S), Kyle Wilson (CB), Isaiah Trufant (CB), Ellis Lankster (CB), Julian Posey (CB), Tracy Wilson (S), DeAngelo Smith (S).

Not under contract: Jim Leonhard (S), Donald Strickland (CB).

Scouting Report: What happened to the depth here? A year ago, the Jets felt so good about their back-end depth that they traded the solid and versatile Dwight Lowery to the Jaguars. They could use him now. Defections and an injury (Leonhard) have chipped away at the unit, leaving only five players with legit NFL experience. No wonder they're checking out free agents Yeremiah Bell (Dolphins) and Chris Johnson (Raiders). They're hurting in the secondary, and we all know how Rex Ryan loves him some DBs.

The good news is that Revis-Cromartie-Wilson gives them one of the better cornerback trios in the league, essential in Ryan's man-to-man scheme. They need to add a fourth corner. Safety still is a big question, even after the signing of Landry, hardly a sure thing because of his history with Achilles' tendon injuries. They absolutely will draft a safety -- ideally, a safety with range and the ability to cover the tight end. Leonhard, recovering from major knee surgery, remains a down-the-road option.

The Last Time: The last DB pick came in 2010, when they selected Wilson near the bottom of the first round.

Potential Targets: If S Mark Barron (Alabama) slips to the Jets at 16, it would be the ideal marriage of need and value. VP of college scouting Joey Clinkscales hinted that Barron might not be the right fit in a man-to-man system -- i.e. the Jets -- but that sounded like a smokescreen. True, Barron was used primarily as an in-the-box safety last season, but he has the ball skills (12 career INTs) and athleticism to play on the hash or in man-to-man. After Barron, the next-best safety is Harrison Smith (Notre Dame), who visited the Jets. He probably won't last until the Jets' second-round pick (47th), and there's a big dropoff in talent after Smith. Brandon Taylor (LSU), Markelle Martin (Oklahoma State) and Antonio Allen (South Carolina) are third-round possibilities.

At some point, they have to pick a corner. The Jets have done extensive work on Trumaine Johnson (Montana), who has Cromartie-like size (6-foot-2, 204) and terrific speed. Some scouts think Johnson could switch to free safety, which makes him appealing. But he's also a problem child, and that raises some red flags. Johnson is regarded as a second/third-round prospect. The Jets also have expressed interest in Jayron Hosley (Virginia Tech) and Omar Bolden (Arizona State), both projected in the third-to-fifth round range.

Need Factor (on a scale of 1 to 10): S -- 10; CB -- 5.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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