New York

Safety First and Second for Jets in NFL Draft

Safety was the Jets' top priority early in the NFL draft.

After taking LSU's Jamal Adams at No. 6 overall Thursday night, the Jets surprisingly selected Florida's Marcus Maye with their second-round pick Friday night.

Coming off a 5-11 season and in what appears to be a rebuilding mode, New York entered the draft with plenty of needs. Safety was one of them - and the Jets decided to double up at the position with their first two picks.

"It's not even fair that we're together," Adams wrote to Maye on Twitter . "Let's ride bro, welcome home!"

Adams and Maye give the Jets two hard-hitting playmakers in their defensive backfield, instantly improving a secondary that struggled with giving up big plays last season.

"I feel like we'll do great," Maye said during a conference call. "He's a competitor, he's a great ballplayer. He has a lot of talent and being out there with a guy like that, he's just going to make you great as well."

That's what the Jets are hoping for, especially after forgoing other needs - cornerback, tight end, linebacker - to take another safety.

Even Maye acknowledged that he was surprised "a little bit" that New York drafted him.

"I was just waiting for that call, and it was the Jets," Maye said. "To say that they picked (Adams) and I, I feel like we can do great together."

The picks could signal the ends for possibly both Calvin Pryor and Marcus Gilchrist with the franchise. Pryor was the Jets' first-rounder in 2014, but has dealt with injuries and inconsistency. General manager Mike Maccagnan also recently declined to say as to whether the team would exercise the fifth-year option on Pryor. Gilchrist, recognized as one of the team's defensive leaders, is coming off a serious knee injury and it's uncertain as to whether he'll be ready to start the season.

With backups Rontez Miles, Ronald Martin and Doug Middleton the only other safeties on the roster, Adams and Maye could have an opportunity to make an immediate impact.

"I feel I can play both safety spots," Maye said. "I played in the slot, played a ton of special team all my years there (at Florida). I feel like I can do a lot on the field."

Maye, who had five interceptions during his career with the Gators, had last season cut short after nine games because he broke his left arm against South Carolina. He said he's fully healed from that ailment and doesn't anticipate being limited in workouts this offseason.

"Yeah, everything is clear," he said. "I'll be ready to go."

The Jets had two more picks scheduled for the third round: No. 70 overall and No. 107 - the last selection for Friday night.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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