Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Analyzing the top three positional needs
By Rich Cimini
The Jets patched some holes in free agency and they drafted as many as four players who could contribute immediately, but they still have several holes on the roster. Here's an analysis of the top three:
1. SAFETY -- They lost LaRon Landry (Colts) and Yeremiah Bell (Cardinals) in free agency, filling one spot with Dawan Landry. The top in-house candidate for the other starting job is Josh Bush, but that would be a leap of faith. He played only 17 defensive snaps last season as a rookie. Fellow second-year safety Antonio Allen (72 snaps) also is in the mix, but Bush would be a better complement to Landry -- a "box" safety -- because he's better in pass coverage. The coaches may want to evaluate OTAs, which begin next week, before making a decision. In the end, it wouldn't be a surprise if Eric Smith is re-signed. Free-agent options: Charles Woodson, Quintin Mikell, Abe Elam (ex-Jet).
2. TIGHT END -- The Jets should've tried harder to re-sign Dustin Keller (Dolphins). Now they're left with a No. 2 (Jeff Cumberland), an H-back (Konrad Reuland) and a project (Hayden Smith). Seventh-round pick Tommy Bohanon, listed as a fullback, has some H-back skills and could fit into the picture. The bottom line is, the current cast of tight ends has a combined total of only 44 career catches. They also don't have an accomplished blocker in the group. This is a serious concern because the free-agent market is virtually barren. Free-agent options: Dallas Clark, Kellen Winslow, Chris Cooley, David Thomas.
3. WIDE RECEIVER -- With Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley filling the top three spots, the Jets need a No. 4/No. 5 receiver with the ability to step into a prominent role, if necessary. Let's face it, Holmes is a question mark, coming off foot surgery. He's expected to be ready by opening day, but if there's a setback along the way, they need veteran insurance. They can't afford a repeat of last season. They still have Clyde Gates, but he's hardly a grizzled vet. The team is showing interest in ex-Brown Josh Cribbs, but he'd help more on special teams than at receiver. Free-agent options: Braylon Edwards, Ramses Barden, Brandon Lloyd, Steve Breaston.