While the main headlines focus on a quarterback battle in New York, defensive back Ellis Lankster may be in a position battle of his own. And as a rare veteran in the defensive backfield, he may have an advantage.
2013 Season Recap: Lankster’s production slipped a little bit after the 2012 season, tallying just 18 tackles without any interceptions after registering 39 tackles and two interceptions in 2012. His best game came in Week 13 when he had five tackles in a 23-3 loss to Miami.
Contract: Though his production went down, Lankster played his way into another contract with the New York Jets. His new deal came in the form of a two-year, $1.63 million deal with a $155,000 roster bonus. He’ll make $730,000 this season and be a free agent in 2016.
Summer OTA Outlook: With the release of Antonio Cromarite this offseason, the time is now for Lankster. Dee Milliner will be the top dog and even Lankster believes he will become one of the top corners in the league soon, if not this season. For Lankster, though, he’ll compete with Kyle Wilson, Dimitri Peterson and rookies Dexter McDougal and Brandon Dixon for the No. 2 spot. The five-year veteran will flourish, however, on special teams, where he’s made his living the past few seasons with New York. The Jets hired a new special teams coordinator in February and in March Lankster was re-signed despite an off-season. Lankster appeared on 382 special teams plays – the most of any Jets player – and was second on the team in kick coverage tackles.
2014 Season Outlook: Lankster will continue to thrive on special teams with the Jets but could see some action in certain packages. Lankster is a veteran within the Jets defense and will be utilized to teach the young defensive backs the system and could see more action while they’re getting acclimated.