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2012 NFL Draft: How Long Will the Jaguars Wait to Replace Rashean Mathis?

The Jaguars have had several positions to address in each of their offseasons since Gene Smith took over as general manager following the 2008 season. While Smith has certainly dedicated his efforts in each year to upgrade the positions that most crucially need upgrading, there are some positions that just don't get addressed.

There are only a few free agents worth pursuing at any given position with the talent to be a building block and future starter and there are slim odds that a starting-quality player will be found in the draft after the first two or three rounds. With these limited amount of resources, no team is able to completely change the face of their team for the better in one offseason and it takes years of compiling high-quality players at each position to make a good team.

Among the positions that could be on the back burner is cornerback, but should it be? And if it is, how much longer can the Jaguars wait to replace Rashean Mathis, who will be 32 and recovering from ACL surgery before the start of the 2012 regular season?

Rashean Mathis is still a good player. The lack of good safety play and misunderstanding of coverages has led to many in the city of Jacksonville believing that Mathis is not a good cornerback. It's simply not true; Mathis has been the brightest spot in the secondary for a long time.

However, even if it was the great Deion Sanders who was turning 32 and recovering from ACL surgery, the thought that a replacement should be found would be, at the very least, a rational one. With Mathis's contract expiring in March, it's certainly possible that he has played his final game with the Jaguars, the team that drafted him with their 2nd round pick in 2003.

The Jaguars have several options for the position. They can:

A) Re-sign Rashean Mathis to start in 2012 and worry about the cornerback position next offseason while focusing efforts on other positions like DE, WR and OL this year.

B) Sign a free agent to start in Mathis's place like Brent Grimes, Cortland Finnegan, Carlos Rogers (assuming any become available) or someone else that is capable of filling in effectively.

C) Draft a cornerback early to start in 2012. Someone like Morris Claiborne, Dre Kirkpatrick, Janoris Jenkins or Chase Minniefield.

D) Go into the 2012 season with William Middleton as starter and continue to develop the young talent already on the roster (Kevin Rutland, Rod Issac, T.J. Heath).