Is Georgia’s Lewis Cine the answer to the New York Jets’ secondary woes?
The New York Jets‘ safety room in 2021 was a revolving door of bodies from the very first game of the season.
Starting free safety Lamarcus Joyner suffered a season-ending elbow injury early in New York’s Week 1 matchup with the Carolina Panthers. Joyner’s running-mate, Marcus Maye, played the first three games of the year before missing the next two with an ankle injury. Maye would play three more games before tearing his Achilles tendon in Week 9, causing him to miss the rest of the season.
Joyner and Maye’s primary backup, Ashtyn Davis, dealt with injuries of his own, missing four games.
The Jets ended up starting eight different players at safety in 2021.
However, Whitehead has been the only new addition to this point, and with New York also losing Maye in free agency to New Orleans, a gap remains open on the depth chart.
Whitehead should lock down one of the two starting spots, but who will take the other?
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Most fans anticipate the Jets filling that other spot through the NFL draft – and no prospect fits the bill better than Lewis Cine from Georgia.
Cine is an ideal single-high safety capable of patrolling the deep area of the field with impressive range. His 4.37 speed lets him cover a ton of ground, and his 6-foot-2 frame allows him to box out receivers and make plays on the ball. In the Jets defense, Cine would do just that, while Whitehead would play a more traditional strong safety role that better suits his talents.
Cine would also help the Jets run defense, using that same trademark speed to come downhill and stop ball-carriers in their tracks. He’s a vicious hitter, laying the boom on running backs when they go outside, and crushing receivers over the middle.
Best of all, Cine rarely misses tackles. His eyes are quick and reactive, and once he locks on his target, Cine becomes a heat-seeking missile flying full-speed to the ball.
Cine’s range, aggression, and versatility make him the perfect fit as New York’s next deep safety, and the Jets would be wise to do whatever they can to acquire his services, even if it means possibly trading up to take him in the latter stages of the first round.
The Oklahoma Drill Podcast ends its position preview series by analyzing all the best options for the Jets at linebacker, cornerback, and safety. Listen to the full show for breakdowns on players to watch at each position, as well as expectations for when said positions will be targeted in the draft.
The Jets’ defensive makeover got off to a good start in free agency. Adding Lewis Cine would turn that makeover into a complete rebirth.