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New York Jets: Is Moving Joe McKnight to Cornerback Crazy Enough To Work?

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 10: Joe McKnight #25 of the New York Jets tries to break a tackle by Dan Skuta #51 of the Cincinnati Bengals during a preseason NFL game at Paul Brown Stadium on August 10, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Erik FrenzSenior Writer IDecember 12, 2016

Just like the NFL cannot replace real referees with untrained replacement officials, the New York Jets can't expect to replace depth in their secondary with a running back.

Yet that is what they are expected to do, according to Conor Orr of the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger.

McKnight will learn to play corner in "not a full time capacity but he'll play there a ton" Rex said #jets #nyj

— Conor Orr (@ConorTOrr) September 26, 2012

That's probably not exactly the ringing endorsement cornerback Ellis Lankster was looking for. Jets head coach Rex Ryan is willing to do anything to fix the secondary, which has shown a lack of depth and will likely be undergoing a lot of changes this season.

The truth is, they'll never know until they try. Things have worked out so poorly for McKnight at running back up to this point, it couldn't hurt to try him out at a new spot.

Just last year, the Patriots made it to the Super Bowl with a patchwork secondary that included wide receivers Julian Edelman and Matt Slater playing cornerback and safety, respectively. The Jets don't have the Patriots' high-powered offense to fall back on, though.

But it's not as though McKnight is completely green at the position, either. He has played there before and practiced there this season, according to the Star-Ledger. In fact, the Jets have had some success with him at cornerback.

Against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4 [of the 2011 season], McKnight ...blitzed from the cornerback spot, forcing an errant pass that was intercepted by David Harris and returned for a touchdown.

It's not likely that every play will work out that favorably with McKnight in the defensive backfield instead of the offensive one, and if there were ever an indictment on Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum's inability to stockpile depth, this is it.

But desperate times call for desperate measures.

 

Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand.

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