The best way to depict the total anonymity of the Jets cornerbacks is to start at the top of the depth chart.
Bryce Hall, 22, is a social media personality with 21 million TikTok followers, 3.6 million YouTube subscribers and a self-proclaimed net worth of more than $10 million. Oh wait … that’s the wrong Bryce Hall.
The Bryce Hall, 23, who is the Jets’ undisputed top cornerback — likely to draw the tall task of one-on-one coverage against Stefon Diggs, Julio Jones, Mike Evans and more — isn’t even the first “Bryce Hall” who comes up on a Google search.
After surprisingly releasing returning starter Bless Austin, the Jets are going with seven cornerbacks, six of whom are rookies or second-year players and none of whom were drafted higher than the fifth round.
None of the Jets cornerbacks has a salary cap charge for 2021 that ranks in the top 60 at the premium position, and only Justin Hardee’s ($2.24 million) is in the top 143 among NFL cornerbacks, according to spotrac.com. Hall’s cap charge ($858,951) ranks just behind a third-teamer for the Falcons.
“There’s a little bit of an unknown factor with a young group,” general manager Joe Douglas said last week. “But also we’ve been at practice, we’ve seen the games. We’ve seen these guys compete, we’ve seen these guys move around.
“I know they’re getting the best coaching they could possibly get, so I have a lot of confidence in this secondary. They’re all wired the right way. There are high-level competes in that room, and I think you guys are going to see that as the season progresses.”
Because even the staunchest Jets fan needs a crash course in “Who’s Who?” before Week 1, here are the Jets cornerbacks:
Bryce Hall (2020 fifth-round pick from Virginia)
Hall led the nation in passes defended as a junior and nearly entered the 2019 draft. Projected as a first-round pick in 2020 before an ankle injury marred his draft stock and the start of his rookie season, he started the final seven games. Hall played as many as 94 total snaps (81 on defense, 13 on special teams) in a game and was graded No. 67 out of 121 cornerbacks by Pro Football Focus.
Brandin Echols (2021 sixth-round pick from Kentucky)
Echols is the most likely option to start opposite Hall after supplanting Austin late in training camp. Originally a wide receiver recruit, Echols switched positions at junior college and made 22 straight starts at cornerback for Kentucky. He earned a pre-draft score of 99 for his athleticism, highlighted by a 4.34 time in the 40-yard dash, from NextGenStats.
Javelin Guidry (2020 undrafted from Utah)
Guidry is the favorite to start in the slot, but he also is making a push for snaps on the outside. After a promotion from the practice squad as a rookie, Guidry forced four fumbles — tied with Aaron Donald, Myles Garrett and Chase Young among others for third-most in the NFL — in just 11 games.
Isaiah Dunn (2021 undrafted from Oregon State)
One of the surprises of camp was Dunn earning first-team reps. But it wasn’t a surprise he made the team considering he received a $160,000 fully guaranteed salary — one of the highest-ever for an undrafted rookie. He allowed four catches on six targets (one touchdown) in the preseason.
Jason Pinnock (2021 fifth-round pick from Pittsburgh)
Pinnock grew up in Connecticut as a Jets fan because of All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, studied Revis tape, followed Revis’ path to Pittsburgh and now is starting his NFL career in the same place as Revis. He could be a notch behind the others on the depth chart in the early going.
Michael Carter II (2021 fifth-round pick from Duke)
If Guidry moves to the outside, Carter could take over in the slot. He started 36 of 46 career games and played 2,581 career snaps at Duke. And he was a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy (academic Heisman). In other words, experience plus smarts should equate to a fast-learner.
Justin Hardee (Signed three-year free-agent contract in 2021)
Undrafted in 2017, Hardee will be a core special teams player, as he was for the Saints over the last three years. He played just 115 snaps on defense over that time — decreasing totals from a high of 77 to one last season — and was not tendered a contract as a restricted free agent. He missed time in camp due to injury.