- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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They wouldn't. They couldn't.
Oh, yes, they could.
With their first-round pick in next month's draft, the New York Jets could select a cornerback for the second straight year (Dee Milliner, 2013) and the third time in the past five years (Kyle Wilson, 2010). That may sound like overkill, but it isn't, not when you consider the importance of corners in Rex Ryan's defense. It's also not farfetched when you look at the way the Jets have approached free agency, cutting Antonio Cromartie and ostensibly replacing him with journeyman Dimitri Patterson -- hardly a long-term solution with a one-year, $3 million contract. General manager John Idzik, criticized for not landing any of the top corners, seemingly held back, knowing he had an ace up his sleeve -- the draft.
So it comes as no surprise that four of the highest-rated corners in the draft are scheduled to visit the Jets -- Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard, Ohio State's Bradley Roby, Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert and Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller, listed in order of Scouts Inc's ranking. It's an interesting mix of talent.
Dennard, who won the Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back, doesn't have off-the-charts measureables, but he possesses some Darrelle Revis-like qualities in terms of instincts and toughness. Gilbert is a bit inconsistent, but it's hard to ignore his playmaking skills -- seven interceptions last season (two returned for touchdowns) and six kickoff-return touchdowns over his career. Roby may have the most pure talent of the group, but he had a mediocre year and has character questions. Fuller is a solid, all-around package, but he underwent hernia surgery last November.
The Jets could wait until the second round (No. 49 overall) to address the cornerback need, but it gets dicey at that point because the top prospects could be gone. Scouts, Inc. has seven corners rated in its top 50, five of whom could go in the first round. Over the last four drafts, six, four, six and seven corners have been picked in the top 50.
If the Jets don't choose a wide receiver in the first round, it'll be a cornerback. Write it down.