AFC’s East Corner Rooms
Unless you’re Greg Roman or Kyle Shanahan, the general league game plan is to ask questions first and then ask questions later. Only one franchise has Derek Henry roaming its backyard, so everyone else needs 3 fighter jets at scale to compete.
The rules of nature and Newton’s third law It states that “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When the competition can attract many fast-passers, defensive coordinators and front office staff stay awake in search of the antidote: elite corners.
Thanks to 7 on 7 and the recipient’s inflated salaries, in fact perhaps fame, most college football athletes are eager to be the next Randy Moss. Find and develop the next Champ Bailey Or Jalen Ramsey is more difficult and time consuming. Getting a list that can field 3 average Cornerbacks at once is akin to finding a “Golden Fleece”. Some teams seem to be close to making it happen.
In the second breakdown at the AFC East, let’s highlight those side balls: depth, headers and rookie potential.
- = US dollar cap approx
- R = Rookie Recruit 2021
Leslie Frazier, Buffalo DC دي
Levi Wallace (1.7), Tredivos White (6.8), Taron Johnson (2.4), Dean Jackson (0.8), Rashad Wildejos R (0.7), Oliajah Griffin R (0.7), Cameron Lewis (0.8), Nick McCloud R (0.7) )
Total center group = 8
Total Center Pool Cap (approx.) = 14.6
RPS = 2
At the end of the 2020 regular season, the PFF ranked minor 9th in the league, dropping from 7th the previous year. This includes the safe play (your next post) in which Buffalo excels and also depends on the pressure of the front seven. In the void, this room begins and ends with white.
White finished the 2020 campaign with a PFF score of 74.5 and three objections. He is easily one of the top five corners in the league and is more than capable of chasing the best men wide in the field. Its ceiling is still a staircase away.
Behind White Lies is, perhaps, the weakest depth on the Bills list. I was honestly surprised that Ben didn’t go after a playmaker (in a deep class) to pair up with Wyatt. That means either (or both) selling McDermott on the Wallace roof or looking to focus on QB pressure as the defensive identity rather than closed corners. When you have Hyde and Poyer the latter makes a lot of sense.
The draft weekend in Buffalo resulted in the trio of Wildgoose, Griffin and McCloud. Wildgoose selected in the sixth round is a 3-year badger with strong production. He has recovered from an exceptional right shoulder injury but has an uphill battle to make this roster.
Griffin and McCloud are both from UDFA. Of the two, USC’s Griffin has shown the most potential and can make his way to a 53 or PS with special teams skills. In short, a Buffalo can be seriously compromised against the appearance of 10 and 11 individuals or in an injury crisis. Will he take between more moves?
Josh Boyer, Miami DC
Xavien Howard (13.5), Byron Jones (16), Jason McCourty (1), Justin Coleman (2.3), Noah Igbinoghene (2.6), Nik Needham (0.9), Tino Ellis (0.7), Jamal Perry (0.9), Terrell Bonds (0.8), Jaytlin Askew R (0.7)
Total center group = 10
Total group cap (approx.) = 39.4
RPS = 1
As with the reception room, Miami is spending (much) more than its top-tier competitors in Cornerback. In the blessed league, it makes reasonable sense. If Grier can navigate Howard’s contract politics and attack Howard in 2021 with the same commitment he had last season, that unit is gold. Howard plays as the Cheshire Cat committing Grand Theft Cream, with swag to match.
Byron receives a lot of criticism for his “box” numbers and is an exceptional teammate, leader, and athlete. The addition of Coleman and McCurty was a very clever maneuver by Greer and will keep complacency and injury bouts in check.
The plot in this room is Igbinogene. His talent and athleticism are off the charts (exactly the kind of athlete that Greer and Flores aspire to). The choice of the first round is fully justified in a system that is prepared to live and die on the hill of “recruitment and development” principles. For this to work, Noah has to work his way up in meaningful shots and show off some of that ingrained talent this year.
Bill Belichick has more magic to come
New England Patriots
Stevon Gilmore (16), JC Jackson (3.4), Jalen Mills (4.5), Guyjuan Williams (1.8), Justin Bethel (1.9), Michael Jackson (0.8), De Virgin (0.9), Dr Angelo Ross (0.7)
Total center group = 8
Total Center Pool Cap (approx.) = 30
RPS = N/A
Stefon Gilmore is the third in a trio of elite anglers cruising the fields in East Asia. Two seasons ago, Gilmore was ranked poor 61 by the PFF in 2020. Many talk about his impending death, but sleeping on Gilmore is at your expense. If Belichick doesn’t drive him over for assets, expect a return to dominance this year. The Patriots’ defense is a completely different beast in ’21 and Stefon has a scheming intuition and amazing skill.
Opposite Gilmore, J.C. Jackson thrived as a UDFA in a talented spherical ocean corner. Jalen Mills introduces Belichick to the cliché “Swiss Army Knife” coming from Philly in free agency. He’s played about 200 shots in multiple positions last year, but my fear may be more from being a “jack of all trades, master of none” than being uniquely versatile.
Depth is provided by Williams. He has not found his way yet and has mainly contributed to special teams. One would imagine it’s a personal struggle with Belichick as he only had a chance in early 2020 to be a health scratcher by the end of the season. Will the off-season provide complete clarity and progression for the second-round selection?
The room was rounded up by Bethel, a driver who hasn’t started a game in 4 years. Ross, Jackson and Virgin are simply campy bodies and will struggle to see any time to play.
With McCourty at Safety and Dugger expected to develop, the lack of depth in the corner at least has solid insurance. Belichick’s retooling of the front seven, including the return of Hightower, certainly means that the offensive coordinators are fully focused on keeping the quarterback upright and finding the light of day in the running game.
Jeff Olbrich, Gates DC
New York Jets
Pleasuan Austin (0.9), Bryce Hall (0.9), Cory Ballentine (0.9), Justin Hardy (2.2), Jason Pinnock R (0.7), Michael Carter II R (0.7), Bennett Jackson (0.9), Lamar Jackson (0.8) , Zane Lewis (0.7), Isaiah Dunn R (0.7), Brandin Echols (0.7), Javelin Guidry (0.8), Zane Lewis (0.7)
Total center group = 13
Total group cap (approx.) = 11.6
RPS = 3
Rome was not built in a day and planes were not rebuilt in the off-season. Douglas started the 2019 draft with Cal Bears, Ashton Davis and Virginia Price-Hall. Heavy with trenches, skill positions, QB, and a rush of passes, Douglas used the 2021 off-season to build from the inside out and add game-changing factors. This left few guarantees for the secondary.
Douglas chose to distract the remaining minor players in the fifth and sixth rounds. Picking up Duke’s second Michael Carter, he’s small but elegant and fast that competes in the nickel. Jason Pinnock was formerly a wide receiver from Pittsburgh whose upside is sporty. It may take a season to develop corner skills, but he stands out as an essential special team right from the start.
Notably, Nasir al-Din hit me as a heist accelerator in his pick of 186. Despite being a safety in the now-failed Florida Empire and dealing with casualties, the aircraft classifies him as an LB. It’s worth mentioning here because it has a real chance of being quick to take pictures over time. Line up in a variety of secondary positions can comfortably handle TEs and blitz missions. He could become Ulbrich’s best friend if his character was good.
Hall and Austin should start from the ocean come first week. Hall began to settle into his role in the second half of the season as he demonstrated good awareness and ball skills. A solid off-season program with much better training should make him a hard corner 1 but expect some pitfalls against the best player in the league.
Hall struggled so hard in 2020, the entire unit and team in general are set to fail in a toxic, unprofessional disaster. He has a chance this year with a strong front seven that is generating pressure and playing better safety through growth and training. However, look out for the huge changes in this room in the upcoming off-season, and the top ten pick from the draft probably surprises the prospect of the top three corners.
With the AFC ramping up talent collectively, Miami has a clear and distinct advantage when it comes to cornerback games. Miami high school coach Graham Alexander built a unit in the California Bears that earned the nickname “The Takers.” With less Blitz-dependent pressure expected, this unit will earn a national buzz and overshadow mainstream shader reels.
The mandatory phrase in every AFC East analysis should be rephrased, Don’t sleep on the Patriots. With the chemistry of Belichick, Gilmore and McCurry, New England would emerge and advance the early age of offensive coordinators.
The bills are so full on the other sets that the lack of depth in the corner should be silenced. Beane is a proactive GM who will strike before week eight with trade or maneuvering to strengthen the unit. The buffalo is ready so don’t expect any hesitation. The future looks bright for New York, but a lot more needs to happen over the next 10 months to clear the way for Cornerback reform. The organization and its fan base are (rightfully) all eyes of Wilson. This year we can expect to expose their defense and give up its fair shareGreat plays
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