This offseason, the New York Jets have improved at almost all positions. However, one glaring hole in their depth chart remains at the safety position after losing Pro-Bowler Laron Landry, Yeremiah Bell, and Eric Smith. After signing free-agent Dawan Landry, the Jets still need to find one other starting safety. They have collected a herd of sub-par contenders for the job and hope to find a hidden gem amongst these candidates. The current safeties (besides Landry) on the Jets roster include Antonio Allen, Josh Bush, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Bret Lockett, and Rontez Miles, who you can learn more about here.
Obviously, there aren’t any big names on that list. Rontez Miles, being the only rookie, will have his age and potential helping him out, but besides that there aren’t any clear cut advantages for either player. Here are all of their career stats:
|2012||New York Jets||16||11||9||2||0.0||–||0||–||–||–||0.0||–|
|2009||New England Patriots||10||7||5||2||0.0||–||0||–||–||–||0.0||–|
|2012||New York Jets||7||6||4||2||1.0||–||0||–||–||–||0.0||–|
As one can see, there are absolutely NO major performers out of the list (Rontez Miles’ college stats aren’t shown). The leading tackler out of all of them is Jaiquawn Jarrett with 17 career tackles: two years ago. That’s right, Jarrett didn’t play very much at all last year, making only one appearance and not managing to do anything in that appearance. Also, Jarrett is one of the candidates who has not had experience with Rex Ryan, and it will be difficult for him to learn a whole new defensive scheme. However, Jarrett does have potential. He was taken in the second round by the Eagles just a few years ago. Jarrett has a lot to prove, and Idzik would not have brought him in if he didn’t think he had a chance to play. Although he would not be a starter on almost any other team, he may be the week one starter for the Jets.
Antonio Allen, last year’s seventh round draft pick, will have a chance to start but it is very doubtful. Spending most of last year on the practice squad, it would be an unbelievable jump for him to go from practice squad to starter in a year, although it is possible due to the lack of depth at the position for the Jets. Appearing in 7 games last year, Allen managed just 6 total tackles, although he did manage to scrounge up a sack on Andrew Luck in week six. Allen has three more years left in his contract, but he may never have a better opportunity to get some playing time in the NFL.
Next on the list is Bret Lockett. The former UCLA stud has been in the NFL for three years now, but his only on the field action was way back in 2009. Back with the Patriots, Lockett managed just 7 tackles in 10 games, and he has not played a snap in the NFL since. Lockett will most likely be nothing more than a practice squad player, although Idzik does want him to compete because Idzik is so fond of competition. However, if you’re that desperate that you need Bret Lockett to provided competition for your potential starters, one has to wonder how bad the defense is going to be.
Josh Bush will be covered next. Bush, a Wake Forest grad, is the likely starter this year alongside Dawan Landry. Making an appearance in all 16 games last year, Bush has had more experience with the system than any other person, and he has proved his worth on special teams as well. Also, Bush is still very young and has a ton of potential to develop into a solid starter.
And finally, Rontez Miles. If you have read the link I put in the first paragraph then you know how I feel about him. His pursuit to the ball is ridiculous, and his hit power can rival that of Kam Chancellor, who has replaced Darren Sharper as the “hardest hitting safety in the league.” Miles can also play the ball in the air fairly well, which can only get better in the NFL. Of course, being a graduate of the University of California-Pennsylvania, one has to question if he is just playing well because he’s playing division II athletes. Odds are Miles won’t win the starting job this year, but in a few years, you better watch out for Rontez.
So for this year, one can probably speculate that Josh Bush will be given the starting job. However, Jaiquawn Jarrett and Rontez Miles may make a push for the starting job. However, if there is anyone on the roster to count out it is definitely Bret Lockett. After Idzik spent the offseason surrounding the safety position with low-quality performers, it will be interesting to see what Rex Ryan will do from this point forward.