Originally written on Turn On The Jets  |  Last updated 11/20/14

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - JANUARY 21: Rex Ryan addresses the media during a press conference after being introduced as the new Head Coach of the New York Jets at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on January 21, 2009 in Florham Park, New Jersey. (Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images)

The New York Jets have had inconsistent play at the safety position since Rex Ryan took over as head coach. The problem is magnified because they play in the same division as the New England Patriots, who have the best tight end in the league, Rob Gronkowski, and another top ten tight end in the league in Aaron Hernandez. It isn’t just New England who attacks the middle of the field on the Jets, any team with an athletic tight end smartly stays away from the outside of the field, where the Jets have Darrelle Revis, Antontio Cromartie, and Kyle Wilson and instead attacks their safeties.

Currently the Jets have Eric Smith under contract and nobody else. (Sorry Tracy Wilson and Gerald Alexander, until you play a down for the team, I can’t count you). The free agent market is thin, as it is currently headlined by LaRon Landry, Dwight Lowery, and Reggie Nelson. Jim Leonhard and Brodney Pool were with the team last year but both are free agents now as well.

In the draft, Mark Barron is considered the top safety by a good margin. His recent double sports hernia has prevented him from working out thus far, keeping his positioning on most draft boards in somewhat of a flux. He will be available at #16 but might slide far enough where the Jets could consider trading up their second round pick to snag him in the back end of the first round, or just trading back in the first round to take him. Harrison Smith, Markelle Martin, Antonio Allen, and Brandon Taylor could all be 2nd or 3rd round options for the Jets at safety if they don’t end up with Barron.

So, how will the Jets proceed? Brodney Pool most likely isn’t coming back. He can’t stay healthy and hasn’t distinguished himself in the past two years with his play. It would likely be wise to bring Leonhard back on the veteran’s minimum, considering how well he knows the defense. Eric Smith is coming back and if used in the proper role, can be an effective player. Don’t forget how well Smith was playing in 2009 when he was used as a situational player and on special teams. He simply lacks the skill set to be a full time starter.

What that equates to, is that you need two more safeties in a bad way. Smith should be the #3 safety, used in certain packages and as an emergency starter. Leonhard should be the place holder for the rookie the Jets add in one of the first rounds of the draft, helping ease his transition and gradually sliding into a part time/depth player only role. A free agent needs to be brought in who can start immediately or the Jets need to swing a trade for one.

LaRon Landry is a big name that will get people excited. The problem is that he will command a big price tag that comes with durability concerns and questionable coverage skills. In reality, Lowery could be the best option out there. He spent last off-season preparing to be a full time safety and then the Jets traded him to Jacksonville where he took advantage of that off-season by putting together his best year in the NFL. Mike Tannenbaum would have to swallow his pride but bringing Lowery back makes plenty of sense.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

John Harbaugh: Bill Belichick is best coach of this century

Brandon Jennings suffers horrific Achilles injury

Van Gundy rips Bulls management about Thibs

Harbaugh lands first commitment at Michigan

NFL warns Seahawks about 'obscene gestures'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Lane Kiffin will remain with Alabama in 2015

Belichick: Patriots followed 'every rule' prepping footballs

Colts LB Andrew Jackson arrested on DUI charge

Sam Shields: Dez Bryant catch should have counted

Klay Thompson sets NBA record with 37 pts in a quarter

Hall of Famer Ernie Banks passes away

Five potentially fatal flaws for Seahawks in the Super Bowl

WATCH: Urban, OSU students send message to Mark May

The five best Super Bowl matchups ever

WATCH: Mike Riley gets big welcome at Nebraska game

Leonard Fournette's brother commits to LSU

Bledsoe not happy about other QBs trashing Brady

Red Sox P Joe Kelly predicts he will win Cy Young Award

WATCH: Bill Belichick drops 'My Cousin Vinny' reference

USC sends recruit personalized business cards

Coastal Carolina planning to install teal-colored field

The five most significant Super Bowls of all time

WATCH: J.R. Smith, LeBron half-court alley oop

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jennings suffers horrific injury

Harbaugh lands first commitment

Seahawks GM: I love Lynch's act

Lane Kiffin staying with Alabama

Belichick goes 'My Cousin Vinny'

Belichick: Patriots followed 'every rule'

Could Patriots have used a sauna?

Klay Thompson scores 37 pts in a quarter

Hall of Famer Ernie Banks passes away

Sesame Street makes "inflate" the word of the day

Which NBA player should get next on a signature shoe deal?

NFL's Deflategate statement doesn't say much

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.