You may not have known much about D.J. Reed before he signed with the Jets last week, but he’s pretty sure you’ll know plenty soon.
The cornerback, who signed a three-year, $33 million contract, does not lack any confidence.
“I feel like I’m a CB1,” Reed said. “I think it’s obvious, but people look at my height and say, ‘Oh, he’s a good CB2.’ Well, like, no. If you watch the tape from last year and the year before that, it’s CB1. My stats compared to the All-Pros last year — from Jalen Ramsey to A.J. Terrell to, who else was it? J.C. Jackson? — my stats are with those guys. And I’m going to take another step this year.”
Reed is 5-foot-9 and played nickel early in his career with the 49ers, but he has been an outside corner in Seattle for the past two years. The Jets are bringing him in to bolster a secondary that struggled mightily last season, finishing 30th in pass defense.
Reed, 25, has impressive statistics. He allowed 35 catches on 68 targets last year for 383 yards, two touchdowns and grabbed two interceptions in 606 coverage snaps, per Pro Football Focus. He graded out as the eighth-best cornerback in the NFL by PFF.
According to NextGen Stats, opposing passers completed minus-11.9 percent of their attempts than expected when targeting Reed, which was fourth in the NFL. By comparison, the Jets’ defense allowed plus-3.2 percent of passes to be completed over expectation, the worst in the NFL.
The plan is for Reed to be the Jets’ right cornerback, that is where he thrived in Seattle. Reed knows Robert Saleh’s system from their days together in San Francisco.
You don’t have to worry about Reed not having the confidence to adjust to his new team.
“Honestly, man, I knew I was gifted, even in high school,” Reed said. “Even when I had no offers, I knew I was special. I knew that God created me as his masterpiece. I knew that my work ethic was unmatched. … I’ve always been confident.”
Reed’s belief in himself as one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL is why he was insulted by the Seahawks’ offer to remain in Seattle, where he hoped to stay.
“They made me an offer, but the offer, in my opinion and my agent’s opinion, was disrespectful for my level of play and the player I am,” Reed said. “I’m not going to get into specifics, because I don’t want to bash anybody or do anything like that, but I definitely know my worth should be more. That’s how I feel. Like I said, I’m grateful to be a Jet.”
Reed said he has “nothing but love” for Seahawks general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll for giving him a chance there, but he was upset with the offer they made to keep him.
“I felt disrespected,” Reed said.
The Jets had a youth movement in the secondary last year with rookie Bradin Echols and second-year player Bryce Hall starting at outside cornerback, and rookie Michael Carter II starting at nickel. The Jets signed Reed and safety Jordan Whitehead to add some experience to their secondary.
“I would call myself a young veteran,” Reed said. “Obviously, I play smart because I know the game and I communicate, and I want to learn and I’m still learning. But on top of that I’m only 25 years old so I’m still young.”