2013 NFL Draft: Which cornerbacks fit with the Jaguars?

Jared Wickerham

Jaguars general manager David Caldwell recently said that the team would draft based on need.

With free agency looming for Derek Cox and Rashean Mathis, cornerback could quickly become a weak spot on the Jaguars' roster. As it stands, Cox has struggled to stay on the field during his career, and Mathis' best years are behind him.

Add to the mix new head coach Gus Bradley, who put an emphasis on big, physical defensive backs who could handle press coverage during his time in Seattle, and Jacksonville's secondary could look a bit different in 2013.

While Bradley and Caldwell have a ways to go in evaluating the Jaguars roster and in forming concrete rankings for the draft, it stands to reason that a number of cornerbacks will appeal to the Jaguars based on what Bradley had with the Seahawks.

Cornerback is not necessarily a pressing need on the roster, but it's an area the team will likely address on the draft's second and third day. Given the Jaguars draft position, no cornerback in this class will be worth the team's No. 2 overall pick in the first round, but here are a handful of names to keep an eye on as the draft rolls along.

Xavier Rhodes, Florida State (Scouting Report: Big Cat Country, Mocking the Draft)

There probably isn't a cornerback in this draft that better fits Bradley's defense than Xavier Rhodes. A big, lean athlete, Rhodes has the physicality, athleticism and ball skills that make him an outstanding press-man cornerback. He has the speed to turn and run with receivers down the sideline and the strength to jam them at the line of scrimmage. The only issue with Rhodes is that he probably doesn't fit the Jaguars draft range. He doesn't grade out highly enough to be drafted No. 2 overall but probably won't be on the board when the team is drafting in the second round.

Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut

Blidi Wreh-Wilson is an interest prospect that could be on the Jaguars radar on the second night of the draft. At 6-feet-2-inches tall, Wreh-Wilson has the size and strength to play right up close to the line of scrimmage, but his ball skills are what stand out most when watching him play. He turns his head around and locates the football in the air as well as any corner I have watched, and that type of playmaking ability will be welcome in the Jaguars secondary. As important as size and physicality were to the Seahawks under Bradley, the ability to make plays was probably even more important. Wreh-Wilson would certainly bring some of that to the table.

Jordan Poyer, Oregon State (Scouting Report: Big Cat Country, Mocking the Draft)

At first glance, Jordan Poyer doesn't fit the same mold that Rhodes and Wreh-Wilson do. He's not particularly big and doesn't blow you away with his press cover skills. Poyer does, however, compete for the ball very well and isn't afraid to stick his nose in and play physical close to the line of scrimmage. He's what Tyrann Mathieu would be if Mathieu was a bit taller and could stay out of trouble. Poyer seems to best fit in the slot, so with the Jaguars already having Mike Harris in that role, Poyer might not be worth the second day pick. That will depend on how Bradley and Caldwell evaluate the roster.

D.J. Swearinger, South Carolina

D.J. Swearinger is an intriguing prospect. He lined up all over the secondary at South Carolina and excelled at a few different positions. While he likely won't play cornerback at the next level, Swearinger would provide the team with some versatility and playmaking ability in the secondary. He's a physical presence who makes outstanding plays on the football game in and game out.

Sanders Commings, Georgia (Scouting Report: Big Cat Country)

About a week ago, Alfie identified Georgia cornerback Sanders Commings as a player that could fit the mold of what we expect Bradley to look for one defense. Commings is a player that won't likely come off the board on the first two days of the draft, so he would not run quite as much risk. His physical play and versatility would be welcome in Jacksonville's secondary.


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