Aaron Colvin started out at Oklahoma as a backup cornerback, but was then moved to safety in 2011, where he started 12 games and led the team with 84 tackles. Colvin was then moved back to cornerback in 2012, where he would stay at for the next two seasons. He received an invite to the 2014 Senior Bowl, where he was among the most impressive players on a consensus basis during the first practice, but tore his ACL in the second practice.
Colvin's Fit with Jacksonville
Schematically, Colvin is a very good fit for what the Jaguars want to do. Despite playing in a predominantly off-coverage based defense, Colvin flashed the necessary traits to translate to a press defense, due to his aggressiveness in coverage and when closing on the ball.
Colvin can always be seen being the one to initiate contact, and rarely backs down from a receiver, which makes him a natural fit in Jacksonville's secondary. There will be a learning curve due to radical transition in schemes between Oklahoma and Jacksonville, though.
I see Colvin as the replacement for Will Blackmon down the road, due to his fit as a slot cornerback and blitzing ability that is similar to Blackmon's, and the fact that his recovery from ACL coincides with Blackmon's contract. This is a "redshirt" year for Colvin, and next year will truly be his first year of development.
After those two years, Blackmon's contract will be up, and Colvin should have recovered and developed enough to make the coaches comfortable enough to make the transition from Blackmon to Colvin as starting slot corner.
The Jaguars secondary is very deep right now, at best he is the No. 5 cornerback on the Roster and the No. 2, or potentially No. 3, slot corner. The fact that he will likely not see major playing time for likely two years is convenient for both him and Jacksonville.
Any player who has a major injury as close to the draft as Colvin did will obviously have their draft stock lowered, and this was the case for Colvin, one who many pegged as a Top-62 pick throughout the last year and a half or so. When a player suffers an injury in the circumstances that Colvin did, it is hard to predict a concrete value and draft slot (obviously not within top 50 picks) so ultimately the value of this pick is unclear.
Aaron Colvin's Biggest Strengths
Physicality and Blitzing
The first thing that jumps out about Colvin is his physicality play in and play out -- both vs the run and in coverage.
The stereotypical "press corner" is build like your Brandon Browners and your Richard Sherman's -- long and towering. Colvin does not fit that mold, at all really. He has been roughly 175-180 pounds his entire college career, and he's only 5'11". None of that matters though, because Colvin's he is just as physical as Corners who are 3-4" taller than him and 20 lbs heavier.
On this play, just by comparing his build to his assigned WR's, you can see he is at a physical disadvantage. This does not phase Colvin, however, and he attacks the WR right off the line with good press technique and a physicality you don't see in many defensive backs who are Colvin's size.
Colvin flashes his physicality past the line of scrimmage as well, which is vital to his NFL transition.
On this play, Colvin is able to identify his receiver's route in the red zone and choose the appropriate time to initiate contact. He gets his eyes back to the quarterback and is able to use his physicality and timing to disrupt the receiver to force the competition.
Here, Colvin yet again uses timing and physicality to throw the receiver off and force an incompletion.
This was the most impressive play I saw Colvin make when I reviewed a few games from the past two years.
As you can see, the trajectory of the pass is on course. It was set to be a completion to Rams draft pick Stedman Bailey, but Colvin is able to separate the ball from the receiver by simply out-muscling Bailey, which is evident by the way Bailey is shielded away from the ball at the end of the play.
Colvin's physicality shows up vs the run when he is forced to take on blockers well, which is a rarity among most CB prospects. He still needs work on tackling and taking good angles, but this kind of physicality and focus is tough to coach up, unlike the other issues.
Much like Will Blackmon, Colvin is an effective blitzer. Colvin times his blitzes well and uses his athleticism to create pressure from various points of the field. And despite his less than intimidating size, he is still able to make an impact, which speaks volumes to his future usage and his aggressive play style.
Aaron Colvin's Biggest Weaknesses
Recovery Ability in Coverage
Colvin's biggest on-field weakness is his inability to recover whenever he is beat. Due to his physicality in coverage, Colvin can mask this weakness on occasions. But when he can not simply throw off the receiver's timing or disrupt the catch, his issues are evident.
On this play, again against Bailey, Colvin does not maintain inside leverage and lets Bailey get an advantage off the line of scrimmage. Without the receiver in front of him, Colvin becomes significantly less effective, and does not have the long speed to prevent a reception.
In this example, Colvin is lined up 7-8 yards off the line of scrimmage, which does not play into his strengths at all. Instead of being allowed to mix it up with the receiver, he has to mirror the receiver. To do this, he has to become a reactionary defender instead of a proactive defender, which is his typical nature.
As he attempts to mirror the receiver's breaks in the route stem, he has to start guessing and reacting, instead of taking control of the play. He eventually gives up separation and a completion.
As I spoke about above, there were plays where Colvin had to line up 7-8 yards off the ball and become a reactionary defender. Unfortunately, this was nearly every play. Instead of seeing Colvin in press situations, he was in positions like this more often times than not
In Jacksonville's scheme, Colvin will be allowed to play to his strengths as a physical press corner, but it will still be a transition nonetheless. He has either been a safety or an off-coverage defensive back his entire college career, so a learning curve will still be evident.
The Best Case Scenario For Aaron Colvin's Rookie Season
This one is not very hard. Colvin isn't expected to be cleared to get back onto the field until the latter part of the season, so the best-case scenario for him this year should be to focus on getting healthy and learning the playbook. Nothing else matters right now.
The Worst Case Scenario For Aaron Colvin's Rookie Season
The worst-case scenario for Colvin is for their to be complications in his recovery, and for him to return to the field unprepared for the rigors that is the NFL. There should be no timetable for his return. He needs to come back when he is physically comfortable. If it is rushed, complications will occur.
Reasonable Expectations For Aaron Colvin's Rookie Season
To expect anything other than a lengthy recovery from Colvin is irrational. He will not be an immediate contributor, that is simply a fact. Reasonable expectations should also be for him to be brought along slow when he actually is cleared. This is a redshirt year for him, it is not truly his "rookie" year in the sense of development.
Overall Opinion Of Pick
Cornerback is the one position where the Jaguars can afford to take a chance on a player like Colvin. It's simply their best position group on the entire roster, having three starting-caliber players in Alan Ball, Will Blackmon and Dwayne Gratz, and likely a fourth by the year's end -- I'm very high on Demetrius McCray.
Colvin will not be asked to do much at all when he comes back, and his development will be able to come into fruition. As a player, I am not extremely high on Colvin. There were better corners on the board when he was taken. But he fits the Jaguars profile in terms of play style and is a logical replacement for Blackmon in two years or so.