The New York Jets are most well known for making splashy additions during the offseason that make the headlines.
Although the ones that slip under the radar have proven to be some of the best in recent years. The team brass is certainly hoping that’ll once again be the case in 2022.
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Alex Ballentine was recently tasked with identifying the most overlooked additions of the 2022 NFL offseason.
He listed seven players, ranked in order and veteran cornerback DJ Reed Jr won the most overlooked contest.
“Of all the secondary players who were given contracts in excess of $10 million in annual average value, Reed might be the best bet to play above his compensation,” Ballentine argued via Bleacher Report. “While the attention is going to be on first-round pick Sauce Gardner in the secondary, Reed is coming off his best season. He was the eighth-highest-graded corner by PFF this past season and allowed a completion percentage of just 47.8 percent on his targets.”
The former Kansas State product originally entered the league as the No. 142 overall pick in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL draft.
After spending two years with the San Francisco 49ers they tried to sneak him through waivers and the Seattle Seahawks gladly scooped him up.
During that four-year sample size, Reed played in over 55 games and started in 24 of those contests:
- Four interceptions
- 19 pass deflections
- 194 total tackles
Throughout Reed’s career, he has been overlooked for one reason or another. He stands in at 5-foot-9 on a slanted hill and weighs 193 pounds soaking wet.
Most labeled him as a slot corner exclusively with his measurables, even including his old coach:
Despite signing a sizable deal in free agency, he is once again being overlooked. Reed isn’t considered in the JC Jackson category and didn’t get the same money as a Charvarius Ward ($40.5 million), but the analytics say he can be a superstar corner in the big leagues.
Reed will be one of two boundary corners for the Jets along with the No. 4 overall pick Ahmad Gardner.
Is it Groundhog Day? Or did two Jets somehow crack this elite list?
Believe it or not, it is very much the latter. While Reed was the No. 1 overall most overlooked player according to Bleacher Report, another member of the Jets secondary finished No. 2 on that same list.
Gang Green doled out $14.5 million to add veteran safety Jordan Whitehead to the secondary.
According to Ballentine, “Whitehead is squarely in his prime and appears eager to prove that he wasn’t just a product of the Bucs.”
When Whitehead spoke to the media in New York he revealed that the Bucs, the team he was drafted by and won a Super Bowl with, never offered him a contract in free agency. That clearly bothered Whitehead and is a very visible chip on his shoulder heading into his new contract with the Jets.
He brings championship pedigree, versatility, and an affinity for laying the lumber. Whitehead is an ideal fit on the backend of the defense and with one wave of his magical wand, Joe Douglas was able to turn the secondary from a weakness into a strength.
There is a ton to prove on the football field, but having two of the most overlooked additions in the NFL this offseason should go a long way toward changing things on defense.