Rookie cornerback Dex McDougle has worn a red no-contact jersey all throughout the offseason while rehabbing a shoulder injury that he suffered early in his senior season at Maryland. This week the third-round draft choice was able to suit up in a green jersey after getting the nod from the Jets medical staff.
"I'm just happy," said McDougle in regards to finally being given the green light to have a little contact. "I finally got out there, getting in there with the team and start running around, flying around trying to make plays out there, so I was really happy today."
McDougle had a great start to his season last year however he could not stay healthy after sustaining a shoulder injury which sidelined him for his final nine games. Now that he is cleared for contact, the Jets will get a good look at how strong his shoulder has healed but McDougle ensures that it is just fine.
"It feels great. Like I said, we're still working on strength right now, but other than that it's great," noted the Jets rookie.
Putting his injury history aside, McDougle has surprised coaches all offseason with his work ethic, football IQ, and skillset. His short season last year provided scouts with limited film against lesser talent but McDougle dominated his opponents. If he stayed healthy for his entire senior season, this rookie could have been drafted a lot sooner based off of just his 2013 highlight reel.
McDougle, who will be wearing No.43 in 2014, has caught Rex Ryan's eye early in the season. McDougle said that Ryan approached him after his first day of practice without the redshirt and said that his new coach praised how well he adapted.
"He had some good things to say," McDougle said in reference to Ryan. "He just said that he was impressed by the way I came in after being in a red jersey for so long. He said he's taking notice of me."
If McDougle can stay healthy and dominate in the NFL like he did in his limited playing time in college, he could turn out to be one of the biggest steals of the draft, especially since there is an apparent weakness in the Jets secondary in 2014.