Jets' Patterson an early favorite to start

As the New York Jets look to rebuild their secondary, Rex Ryan might be looking to replace the recently departed Antonio Cromartie with former Miami Dolphins cornerback Dimitri Patterson.

Dimitri Patterson got off to a pretty strong start to the 2013 season.

Through four games, the then-Miami Dolphins cornerback had already tallied four interceptions, six passes defensed and a sack. However, a groin injury landed Patterson on the Injured Reserve list a couple weeks later.

Patterson had surgery on the groin during the final week of the regular season and was cut from the Dolphins a month ago before signing with the New York Jets Tuesday.

The veteran cornerback fielded a few phone calls from different teams over the past 30 days or so but opted for New York, where he'll be a favorite for the starting spot opposite Dee Milliner, or at the very least, the top nickel position in Rex Ryan's defense.

"[The Jets brass] told me that there was definitely an opportunity there for me to come in and pick up where I left off last year," Patterson said Wednesday, via NJ.com.

Patterson, who turns 31 in June, will be up against the likes of Kyle Wilson, Darrin Walls, Jeremy Reeves and Ras-I Dowling for opening day roster position. That said, with Walls' and Reeves' perceived upside, the former first-rounder Wilson could be a goner if the Jets even as much decide to take a cornerback in the first half of the draft.

And either way, Patterson has to already be penciled in to one of the top three spots on the depth chart, given he's healthy come preseason. Whether that means he's on the perimeter or in the slot by the time the regular season arrives is moot.

"I played a little more outside as the (2013) season went on," Patterson said. "Initially, coming into the season, I was asked to play both. I can play both. It's not a big deal. It's just really what a team wants me to do."


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