Antonio Cromartie, listed at 6’2” 210 Lbs., played 2 seasons of ACC football at Florida State University. During his time with the Seminoles, he was used mostly as a nickelback and kick returner. Cromartie collected 5 INTs, 2 INTs returned for TDs, and 1 fumble recovery which he returned for a TD. On special teams, Cromartie had 1,003 kick return yards. During voluntary workouts before his junior season, Cromartie tore the ACL in his left knee, sidelining him for the remainder of the season. Foregoing his senior season, Cromartie opted to enter the 2006 NFL Draft.
In the 2006 NFL Draft, Antonio Cromartie was selected in the first round, 19th overall by the San Diego Chargers.
In his rookie season with the Chargers, Cromartie played a little at cornerback, but mostly on special teams. A week before making his 1st professional start, Cromartie returned the famous missed field goal by Minnesota kicker Ryan Longwell and ran it back 109 yards for a TD.
Cromartie would start his 1st professional game at cornerback against the Indianapolis Colts, replacing injured Pro Bowl cornerback Quentin Jammer. I would dare to say that he over-performed his expectations for his 1st start, intercepting Peyton Manning 3 times, to include a tremendous leaping, one-handed interception. His efforts during that game earned him Defensive Player of the Week honors. From that point on, Cromartie would take over the #2 cornerback role from Drayton Florence.
More after the jump...
Cromartie led the NFL in INTs (10) and was selected to his 1st Pro Bowl and 1st All-Pro team after the 2007 season. He also earned the NFL Alumni Defensive Back Player of the Year award.
At the beginning of his 3rd season, Cromartie stated that he was on a mission to break the all-time interceptions in a season record of 14. Cromartie failed to reach that goal; part of the reason could be contributed to the fact that he played that entire season with a broken hip.
Before the start of the 2010 season, Cromartie was traded to the New York Jets for a conditional 3rd round pick. Cromartie’s first season with the Jets was good, but also inconsistent. He had 3 INTs and 18 passes defensed, but also allowed 7 TDs. It was his kick return late in the AFC Wild Card game that put the Jets’ Nick Folk in position to kick the game-winning FG. Weeks before the start of the 2011 season, the New York Jets re-signed Cromartie to a 4 year deal worth $32 million.
Again, the 2011 season was very inconsistent for Cromartie. It wasn’t until Darrelle Revis went down with his ACL injury in the beginning of the 2012 season that Cromartie really took form. He performed so well that he earned his 2nd Pro Bowl selection.
Antonio Cromartie’s NFL Defensive Statistics: 257 tackles, 25 INTs, 3TDs, 3 fumble recoveries, and 83 passes defensed
Antonio Cromartie’s NFL Kick/Punt Return Statistics: 7 punt returns, 40 punt return yards, 39 kick returns, and 895 kick return yards
Here’s a direct quote from OJT's Andrew (@AndrewCfran), “With CB Darrelle Revis having been traded to Tampa Bay, Cromartie will be the team’s number one CB entering 2013. The performance of CBs Dee Milliner and Kyle Wilson will likely influence Cromartie’s statistics, namely interceptions and tackles, in 2013—if the number two CB plays well, opposing quarterbacks will be more likely to target the receiver Cromartie is covering, thus allowing Cromartie to improve his statistics. Wilson struggled as the number two CB last year—he seems better suited as a nickleback, a position he played well in 2011—and Milliner is unproven.”
Even though Dee Milliner is yet to be tested and proven, I believe he is going to blossom into a top cornerback in the NFL. Until this happens, Cromartie will continue to be our #1 cornerback. Cromartie has exceptional athleticism which he shows with his interceptions and returns. Alongside Dawan Landry, Cromartie will definitely lead this secondary back to the form we all know and understand as Jets fans over the past 5 years, Top-10.
I believe Antonio Cromartie will have 35 tackles, 3 interceptions (one possibly returned for a TD), 1 fumble recovery, and 10 passes defended.