Jets could use Marshon Lattimore, but can't afford another Dee-bacle

Marshon Lattimore could be a shutdown corner (0:33)

Mel Kiper Jr. thinks Marshon Lattimore, a cornerback from Ohio State, has the skills to match up with top receivers in the NFL. (0:33)

This is the sixth in a series highlighting players who could be selected by the New York Jets with the sixth overall pick in the April 27 draft:

Player: Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

Height/weight: 6-foot, 193 pounds

Scouts Inc. ranking: No. 6.

Draft projection: Second to 11th.

Scouting report: Talented, but risky. Lattimore is a third-year sophomore who played only one full season in college and has a history of hamstring injuries. Based on raw talent, he's a top-10 pick. At the scouting combine, he ran the 40 in 4.36 seconds, third-fastest among defensive backs. But he's not just a straight-line blazer; he has loose hips, allowing him to make fluid turns and mirror wide receivers. He also has a 38.5-inch vertical jump. His skill set is ideal for a man-to-man system, which makes him a scheme fit for the Jets. Lattimore visited them earlier in the week, as did Gareon Conley, another former Ohio State cornerback. Conley's ceiling isn't as high as that of Lattimore, but he's more experienced and has no injury concerns.

Key stats: Lattimore was targeted only 35 times last season, but he got his hands on 13 of those passes -- four interceptions and nine pass breakups. The passer rating against him was a ridiculously low 30.2, according to Pro Football Focus. He committed only two penalties and he didn't miss any of his 37 solo-tackle attempts. He was a first-team, all-Big Ten Conference selection.

Red flags: Let's start with the hamstrings. In 2014, he tore his left hamstring on the third day of preseason camp and required surgery, causing him to miss his freshman year. On the third day of camp in 2015, he injured his right hamstring and was limited to six games (84 snaps). Lattimore started yoga and strengthening exercises, which he believes helped him stay healthy in 2016. He didn't complete his combine workout, but he claimed it was because of tightness in his hip flexor, not another hamstring issue. The Jets got burned when they chose oft-injured cornerback Dee Milliner with the ninth overall pick in 2013. A different regime pulled the trigger, but does the current front office want to take a similar gamble?

In his own words: "I've got the confidence that I'm one of the best, but I had to get healthy enough to show that I'm one of the best, and that's what I did this year. ... [The injuries] were frustrating, but all the coaches were telling me I had a bright future, so stick with it. I talked to my parents a lot about it. They always keep me up, make me laugh about it, get me off of being hurt or injured or whatever."

Scouts' take: ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr.: "Every time you watched him, you saw a guy who could be a shutdown corner. He was able to elevate his game and he just jumped out at you. I'm not going to say he's going to be Darrelle Revis in his prime or Richard Sherman, but he’s got a chance to be one heck of a corner. ... I think he has a chance to be one of the top three corners in the league. I think he has higher ceiling than any of the other corners [in the draft]." ... ESPN's Todd McShay: "Lattimore, to me, is the best cover corner in this class. Cornerback is clearly a need for the Jets."