It's almost like the New York Jets knew this was coming.
The team ranked first in the NFL in pass defense in 2009-10, and they not only went out and signed Antonio Cromartie, a top-10 cornerback in his own right to play alongside Darrelle Revis, but they also spent their first-round pick on Boise State ballhawk Kyle Wilson.
That seemed like it made about as much sense as the infamous Detroit Lions wide-receiver draft streak of the early 2000s.
Now, Revis Island is in day nine of his holdout, and Jets owner Woody Johnson says his gut instinct is that the league's best cornerback won't play this coming season.
Tuesday, Rex Ryan stated that, "We [the Jets] have everything we need here on defense."
While it seems that everything that Johnson, Ryan, and Revis are saying can be dismissed as posturing gambits, and that Revis, like any sane NFL star, will eventually come back to the team, Ryan may actually be right.
In fact, a Cromartie-Wilson pairing could still potentially be the league's best. According to The New York Times, Cromartie has been the standout of 2010 training camp, appearing to be back to 2007 form when he had a league-best 10 picks. His numbers for the past two years, perhaps, can also be attributed to being thrown at much less frequently.
Oakland's Nnamdi Asomugha is often labeled as the best corner in the league (as well as the cause of Revis' holdout), despite the fact that he doesn't appear on interception leaderboards. Quarterbacks just never throw the ball his way. Cromartie may have won himself a similar reputation. He actually considers 2009-10 the best of his career.
But, back to Wilson, who also has apparently shined at camp. At 29th overall, Wilson was a steal, as his 92 Scouts Inc. draft grade ties him for 21st-best. He had the fastest 40-yard dash at his position at 4.42, and his 25 bench-press reps were more than respectable.
Scouting metrics aside, there are a lot of reasons to have high expectations for Wilson. He's a leader, having served as Boise State's captain during its 14-0 campaign last year. He's also a winner, having gone a laughable 49-4 in college. Most importantly, he's a player with great current ability and upside.
Not only is he a great return man, a likely area of need in the post-Leon Washington era, but he should quickly be an elite corner as well. Nearly every scout describes him with the same word: "fluidity." Apparently, Wilson has the world's best hips, Shakira aside, and can keep himself in any play with them, according to the Times. When you watch his highlights, you notice something else, too. He goes to the ball like a wide receiver.
Obviously, having the league's best cornerback is better than starting a rookie, but don't be surprised if Wilson proves to be a more-than-worthy fill-in.
Having a great defensive coordinator, stacked defensive line and solid linebacking core probably won't hurt the team's pass defense, or Wilson's development either.
Check out his college highlights below.