To help get through the boring NFL offseason, we're going to attempt a series of breaking down the Jacksonville Jaguars 90-man roster. This is obviously subject to change with Dave Caldwell's wont to churn the roster and I'm sure that trend will continue going forward. Nevertheless, we'll start going down the roster sheet in alphabetical order and touch on why a player might improve, or regress and their chances of making the roster.
Next up, cornerback Alan Ball.
The Jacksonville Jaguars originally picked up Alan Ball in free agency off the scrap heap, in what was considered by most as a band-aid type move for the team as they rebuilt the roster and went young in the secondary. The team was believed to be targeting players that fit Gus Bradley's mold defensively, similar to that of the Seattle Seahawks secondary, which they did do, but they also seemed to find a gem in Alan Ball.
Ball was a big surprise for the Jaguars in 2013, giving more than solid play at one of the outside corner positions and become a reliable player in the secondary. He wasn't just good to the naked eye either, as he graded out as the best overall defensive player for the Jaguars according to Pro Football Focus, giving up just two touchdowns and allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete just 54.4 percent of their passes on the season.
Why he might improve:
Ball was always believed to be a better fit in a press-man type role defensively, rather than as a safety or off-corner like he was in past stops with the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, and that showed out during the 2013 season with the Jaguars. Ball comes back with a full season in Bradley's defense under his belt and with that understanding could improve on his fine 2013 form.
Why he might regress:
The Jaguars should have a logjam at the cornerback position with a lot of younger players who were on the back burner and not ready to start last season. Ball just turned 29 and is in the final year of his contract. Age could catch up to ball, as it's wont to do with players once they near that 30-year-old mark, as well as some of the young pups pushing for a roster spot.
Chances of making the final roster:
At this point, outside of something disastrous for Ball, I think he's a lock to make the final roster. He should be the team's starting outside corner opposite second year corner Dwayne Gratz with Will Blackmon firmly in the nickel corner role. The team could save roughly $1.2 million on the cap for releasing Ball, but with a cap hit of just $1.3 million total, they're better off keeping him around, even if he doesn't start.