Antonio Cromartie Could Play Some Wide Receiver for New York Jets

Sam Quinn@@Samquinn23Contributor IIIJuly 27, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 18:  Antonio Cromartie #31 of the New York Jets warms up before the start of the Jets game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 18, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

In his Friday post-practice news conference, Rex Ryan let it slip that cornerback Antonio Cromartie might see some reps at wide receiver this year.  

"[S]ome games there has to be some crossover," said the Jets head coach upon discussing some potential shifts on the offensive line, via Gregg Rosenthal and

"Don't be surprised if [cornerback Antonio Cromartie] plays some receiver, that's something we talked about. You have to be ready for those type of things."

As crazy as it sounds to put a former Pro Bowl cornerback on offense, the idea actually makes some sense.

Cromartie is among the best pure athletes in the league—he once returned a 109-yard missed field goal for a touchdown and has two career pick-sixes.

The transition isn't exactly unprecedented. Deion Sanders spent some time at receiver—most notably in '96 for the Dallas Cowboys, when he caught 36 passes for 475 yards. 

Devin Hester made the transition from full-time corner to full-time receiver after coming out of college for the Chicago Bears

While Cromartie may not be quite as athletic as Sanders or Hester, he's fairly close and should be good for comparable and respectable production, at the very least, as the other two.

The Jets aren't exactly loaded at wideout. Santonio Holmes is the only proven starter on the roster, and his relationship with the team hasn't exactly been spotless ideal as of late. And they are expecting major production out of second-round pick Stephen Hill and slot receiver Jeremy Kerley.

While Cromartie shouldn't start or even be a regular on offense, his size and speed could present some matchup problems for defenses. He ran a 4.38 second 40-yard dash at his NFL combine, and that was before he was fully recovered from ACL surgery.

That kind of speed could make Cromartie a valuable deep threat; the major challenge would be learning the playbook, as Cromartie has never been known as one of the sharper players in the league.

Luckily for Cromartie, his role on offense would be small, likely limited to deep and simple routes. That seems completely reasonable for any player.

The Jets have plenty of holes on their roster, so they'll have to be creative in filling them. Playing a guy like Cromartie on both sides of the ball is an innovative way to bolster the offense without the extra cost. This is a move I'd 100 percent support should Rex Ryan actually choose to go that direction.