For Jets cornerback Dexter McDougle, it’s been a long, tough two years. Despite immediate promise as a progressing Jets defensive back, the injury bug has not been kind. The former 3rd round pick’s playing time in his senior year at Maryland was limited by a shoulder injury, and a torn ACL forced him to miss his entire rookie season with the Jets.
This past week was the first time this offseason that McDougle has seen real practice work for the Jets, something he’s been banking on with a promise to fans for nearly a year.
”I’m blessed to be out there getting reps again,” McDougle said after practice Wednesday. ”I got the heads up a couple of days ago, and they’re going to let me get in the mix. I’m just happy to be out there,” he added, according to Dennis Waszak Jr. of Yahoo Sports.
And as a member of the organization who emerged last training camp, the Jets will be very happy to know that McDougle is already running stride-for-stride with Saalim Hakim, who many would tab as New York’s fastest player on the team.
Last season was a season of “what ifs” for the Jets secondary. Dee Milliner tore his ACL in Week 6, and Dimitri patterson was cut before the season started, leaving New York to experiment in order to scramble together consistent starters for the second half of the season. In fact, without his injury, McDougle likely would have received the opportunity for extensive starting time.
That’s certainly not to say he’s missed his chance. It will take time for him to get back into football shape, and he’s long a long, competitive road ahead of him in the offseason. However, solid talent and an unmatched work ethic will have McDougle deep in the race for starting reps in 2015.