Jaiquawn Jarrett came out of the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, and attended Fort Hamilton High School. He moved to Philadelphia for a few years, playing for Temple and the Eagles -- a second-round pick in 2011. Now he's back in New York, a Brooklyn kid whose wait-till-next-year story is happening this year.
Jarrett is expected to start at free safety Saturday night for the Jets at MetLife Stadium. If he plays well against the Jaguars, he can nail down the starting job, beating out Antonio Allen. Jarrett was considered a long-shot candidate at the start of training camp, but he has impressed the coaches with his studious approach -- that, and he hit everything that moved last week against the Lions.
"The kid is hungry," secondary coach Tim McDonald said.
Jarrett was cut by the Eagles in the middle of his second season -- a stunning move. Teams don't cut high draft picks, not in their second season. Jarrett is one of only two second-round picks from 2011 not with his original team. The Jets invited him for a workout and signed him last New Year's Eve to a reserve-future contract -- the last act of the Mike Tannenbaum administration.
"There could be a thousand things I could say that went wrong [in Philadelphia]," said Jarrett, declining to name any of them.
Did the Eagles make a mistake or are the Jets so desperate for safety help that they're overrating his skills? Here's the take of one AFC scout: "He's an over-drafted player. I don't see a starter in my eyes, but he may have to be there. He's physical and will support the run, and he can be heady, but he's not the guy that will add range, ball hawking or speed to your back end."
The Jets believe they found something. Rex Ryan was so thrilled with Jarrett that he promoted him, on the spot, immediately after last week's game in Detroit.
But, still, a former second-round pick on the street? Makes you wonder.
"It happens every now and then," McDonald said. "Atmosphere ... attitude ... circumstances. I know one thing about the kid: The kid's got character, so it wasn't anything that had anything to do with his character. I'm excited about him. I think we got ourselves a pretty solid football player."