FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- There were plenty of people who didn't understand the Jets' decision to draft safeties in both the first and second round, but Marcus Maye wasn't one of them. As far as he's concerned, the Jets' plan was obvious and simple.
"They tried to get the best two safeties in the draft," he said. "And they did that."
Those are strong words coming from the former Florida safety whom the Jets took in the second round, one day and round after they took LSU safety Jamal Adams with the sixth overall pick -- especially since three other safeties were chosen in between them. But the Jets don't necessarily disagree with that assessment.
In fact, after the Jets opened their rookie mini-camp on Friday, coach Todd Bowles said it's "feasible" that both rookies could start on opening day.
"It's feasible, yeah, if they're good football players," Bowles said. "If they earn it, they could start at safety. I've seen it happen before.
"I don't think it's a big challenge at all. Nowadays you come out and a lot of guys have to play right away. It all depends on how fast they learn, obviously staying healthy, and how well they play."
The path certainly has been cleared for Adams and Maye to rise above an otherwise thin safety corps. The Jets cut veteran Marcus Gilchrist on Thursday, at least in part because he's still recovering from a serious knee injury and Bowles said he likely wouldn't be ready for the start of training camp in July. That decision was made easier, of course, by the presence of Adams and Maye.
The other starting safety from last season was Calvin Pryor, and the writing may be on the wall for him, too. The Jets last week decided not to pick up the fifth-year option (for 2018) on his contract, meaning he'll be a free agent at the end of the season. Bowles has indicated that Pryor will stick around and that the Jets may employ some three-safety defensive sets.
But Adams and Maye are the future, and it sounds like the Jets won't hesitate to leap either of them over Pryor and into the starting lineup. Bowles said he has spoken to Pryor since the draft, but seemed unconcerned about whether the presence of the two safeties would bother the veteran.
"There's competition everywhere," Bowles said. "If you're afraid of competition, you don't need to be here." Clearly, Adams and Maye aren't afraid of that competition. But did the Jets really get the two best safeties in the entire draft?
"That's just young guys talking," Bowles said. "I'd rather they play than talk."