This former Gator ranks among top 10 NFL safeties in 2021

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Florida’s claim to the “DBU” moniker has grown weaker in the last few years under Dan Mullen. Though the team had a first-round pick from the secondary in 2020, C.J. Henderson, he’s the only one since 2016.

But some former Gators defensive backs continue to impress in the NFL, and, perhaps, chief among them is New York Jets safety Marcus Maye, who was a second-round pick in 2017. He’s coming off the best season of his career in which he totaled 88 tackles and two sacks while tying his career-high with two interceptions.

According to this ranking of the top 10 NFL safeties by CBS Sports’ Tyler Sullivan, Maye comes in at No. 6.

The 2-14 New York Jets didn’t have much to celebrate in 2020, but Maye was one of the club’s bright spots. The 28-year-old turned in a career year, totaling highs in pass breakups (11), total tackles (88), sacks (two), and forced fumbles (two). Maye also tied his career high in interceptions with two throughout the year. When targeted, he allowed just a 58.7 completion percentage and an 80.4 passer rating. According to PFF’s grading system, Maye slotted in as the fourth highest-graded safety for 2020. Maye was also not only able to carry the weight of Jamal Adams’ departure but proved that he can be a versatile weapon on his own, which is promising as he enters a 2021 season where he’ll likely play on the franchise tender.

The Jets franchise tagged Maye this offseason, and the team has until July 15 to work out a long-term deal with him. If that doesn’t happen, his future in the Big Apple is in jeopardy.

Either way, though, Maye has solidified himself as one of the preeminent players at his position in the league, and his future seems to be bright, whether it’s in New York or elsewhere.

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