When Aaron Colvin was selected, I didn't peg him as a player who would make any substantial impact in 2014. He was injured less than five months before the draft, and Corner was a relatively deep position of the team going into the season.
But Colvin was able to bounce back from his ACL tear relatively quickly, making his first appearance after the Jaguars bye week in Week 12. And the position that was once considered the deepest on the team, was now shaken up due to injuries to the team's two veteran cornerbacks, Will Blackmon and Alan Ball.
Colvin didn't get full starter reps immediately, but he hit the ground running in Week 12 and never looked back, becoming one of the Jaguars best players on defense in the last quarter of the season.
Best Case Scenario
"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."
With the Jags secondary depth, it was foreseeable that Colvin could end the year with zero snaps. Once Ball and Blackmon went down, this was a pipe dream. The fact that he played so well in such a short time is something to marvel at.
Worst Case Scenario
"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."
Thankfully, this was not the case. At all. There was not really a single instance where you could look at Colvin play and see that he just came off a serious injury.
"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."
I obviously missed here, but these truly were the most realistic expectations. Nobody thought he would come off injury and be an impact player so early. Not even the Jaguars. The fact that most saw him as a redshit player yet he ended the year making people believe he'd be an impact player in 2015 says a lot about his performance, and his character.
"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 the area I had pegged Colvin best at, though to me it was relatively easy. When the Jaguars free safety spot was consistently an issue throughout the year, many people proclaimed Colvin should see time at free safety. But that simply isn't who he is. He is an ideal slot corner (and I could imagine him starting on the outside next year) but ultimately I think the Jaguars starting three corners (in nickel) at McCray-Colvin-Gratz.
Colvin had a solid game in pretty much every appearance he made in 2014. Even his first game vs the Colts (which some criticized) was solid, considering it was his first game back and he was matched against Reggie Wayne numerous times.
Ultimately his best game was against the New York Giants. He was a vital part in not only the comeback (fumble recovery for a touchdown) but in limiting the Giants passing game and Odell Beckham, Jr. The Giants were still productive moving the ball, but Colvin consistently limited dump passes and edge runs to small gains.
Like I mentioned, I see Colvin as a "starter" next year, regardless of Blackmon. Colvin was simply the better player to end the year, but it is nice for the Jaguars to have nickel depth for the first time in two years.
Colvin could also start on the outside with Gratz in the slot if needed, but there is plenty of time before the season to sort all that out. The biggest thing is that Colvin is a baller. No matter where he plays. Whether he blitzed, covered, or played the run, Colvin made an impact every single game. I can't think of one game where I walked away from thinking he struggled.
The Jaguars took a leap of faith with Colvin, and it paid off in 2014. Hopefully this trend continues going into next year and beyond.