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 Will Blackmon.
The Jacksonville Jaguars originally picked Will Blackmon up in one of their many Seattle Seahawks waiver claims, but unlike most of them head coach Gus Bradley and Blackmon didn't have a relationship prior. The Seahawks signed Blackmon the offseason Bradley became the Jaguars head coach, after the move was finalized. Blackmon obviously fit what Seattle did defensively however, nearly forcing himself onto the roster with his play, undoubtedly making an impression on Pete Carroll and Gus Bradley.
Why he might improve:
Blackmon just finished his first full season in the NFL since the 2008 season when he was a member of the Green Bay Packers. Blackmon's dealt with a lot of major injuries thus far in his career, but the fact that he was able to stay healthy through the course of a season getting a good amount of snaps, both inside and outside at corner, should mean things are pointing up going into 2014. Even though Blackmon will turn 30 this season, he's only played a total of 58 games in his NFL career due to some major injuries.
Blackmon's role with the Jaguars should be more defined now going forward, if everyone stays healthy. Blackmon did well both inside and out as mentioned, but his real value is as an inside slot corner, where he can also come on the blitz or buzz back in coverage, picking up the middle of the field or flipping outside. Blackmon played under 700 snaps last season and they may go down overall, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Why he might regress:
While Blackmon was able to stay healthy for the 2013 season, there's always the concern that he's got the dreaded "injury prone" thing creeping back up. It's always a concern with an older cornerback, especially with someone who's had so many issues with injuries in their past.
There's also the question if Blackmon's play last preseason and during the 2013 is sustainable, because by all accounts it was arguably the best season of his career. He ended up the second highest graded player on the Jaguars defense according to Pro Football Focus, which was also the highest grade he's received on a season for his career. Sometimes there are some guys who are late bloomers and in Blackmon's instance, he's simply finally healthy. He was a playmaker in college at Boston College, so it's possible he's just been held back with injuries and at the age of 29 is ready to break out as a premier slot corner.
Chances of making the final roster:
Many people consider Will Blackmon a lock to make the final roster, as it was clear the Jaguars made him a priority to re-sign when his contract expired, but I don't think he's a lock per say. I do think him not making the final roster is unlikely, but the Jaguars also have a lot of bodies at the corner position, including two players they drafted in the 2013 NFL Draft in Demetrius McCray and Jeremy Harris, the former of which had a handful of flashes last season.
One of the young pups at the position will have to play like a man possessed to push Blackmon off the roster, however. He should be slotted in as the Jaguars' "starting" nickel corner.