Antonio Allen at cornerback would be genius

During Sunday’s practice, the Jets’ cornerback unit suffered a pair of injuries. Dee Milliner, the top corner on the Jets roster, suffered a high ankle sprain and is expected to be sidelined for multiple weeks. The Jets third round draft pick from Maryland, Dexter McDougle, tore his ACL and is going to miss the entire 2014 season. 

These two injuries occurred after veteran cornerback Dimitri Patterson missed practice with multiple minor injuries.

Due to the lack of healthy corners, head coach Rex Ryan used safety Antonio Allen as a replacement cornerback. He had a solid practice session. Allen had two picks playing with the first unit. Cornerback Darrin Walls, who was working with the second team, said Allen “did a great job” manning the cornerback position.

When the Jets drafted “Double-A” in the seventh round in 2011, he was making the transition from outside linebacker to safety. Now, the former South Carolina Gamecock will move from safety to cornerback, and it is the best choice the Jets can make.

General manager John Idzik missed out on an opportunity to sign several free agent corners in March, and while there are a few serviceable veterans still unsigned, there is a reason why they aren’t on teams.

A few of those veterans include Asante Samuel, Jabari Greer, and Dunta Robinson. Although all three players had success in their prime, none know the Jets defense or the playbook as well as Allen, who has been in the system since 2011.

Moving Allen to the cornerback position gives the Jets a playmaker in the secondary, which is what they have been looking for throughout training camp. In the 2013 season, the Jets had less than one takeaway per game and just 13 interceptions the entire year. Three of those picks were in the season finale against Miami.

Allen’s pick-six was one of the top highlights of the year.

Last year, Allen got his feet wet in pass coverage by defending tight ends in coverage on some occasions. One of his best plays of the 2013 season was a pick-six he recorded while guarding Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots.

Allen moving over to the outside also enables the Jets to insert Dawan Landry into the starting safety position, the spot in which he played all of last year. One problem the Jets were facing was how to get Landry a decent amount of snaps, since he was expected to be a backup. If Allen plays cornerback, New York can start Landry alongside rookie Calvin Pryor at safety, and get him valuable snaps.
The Jets defensive backfield is a weak unit and inserting Allen at cornerback is certainly not their first choice, but it is the best thing Rex Ryan and New York can do given their tough situation.

About Max Marcilla

Max is a sophomore broadcast journalism major at the University of Maryland. He is the news director for WMUC Sports, a reporter for The Left Bench TV and the co-owner of New York Jet Fuel, a site dedicated to covering the New York Jets. You can contact Max at and follow him on Twitter @MMarcilla98.

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