The Jets coach said he is impressed with the rookie cornerback enough to have him taking all the first-team snaps Saturday in practice. Ryan admitted the third-round pick from Maryland came into camp a little overweight, but said once he gets into NFL shape, he has “a heck of a chance.’’Despite whatever the Jets are saying publicly about Dimitri Patterson, the man has played on seven teams in 10 years for a reason. He's good enough to make a roster, but doesn't seem to make enough of a positive impact to stick around for long.
The 5-foot-10 McDougle is listed at 195 pounds, with Ryan clearly intent on melting off a few of those.
“We’ll see where Dimitri is physically. But I expect [McDougle] to get a lot of opportunities,’’ Ryan said.
“I’ve been kidding him, I said, “43, I think he thought he was a running back.” He means well. He works his butt off. We’ve just got to get him down a little bit more. He came in a little heavy. Sometimes guys do that. They think, ‘It’s the NFL, they are big guys, I’ve got to get a little bigger.’ That’s not the case. You’ve got to be able to run and be in great shape. But I’ve been impressed with him. For a guy that only played three games last year, I’ve really been impressed.’’
If the Jets play Patterson as their starter this season, it will be with a wary eye and having hedged their bets with Darrin Walls, Ellis Lankster and McDougle.
Playing cornerback as a rookie can be one of the hardest jobs in the NFL. McDougle might not have been on this team for long, but a look at the team's depth chart validates the team's high opinion of him; that and the third round draft pick.
I was impressed with McDougle at camp and came away convinced that he can be a factor on this team, what I am unsure about is when and for how much work early. It's clear to me that the Jets will do their best to buy a player like McDougle as much time as possible, but if Patterson can't stay healthy or can't respond, his time might come sooner than expected.