With their first pick of Day 3 of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Jaguars selected Louisville FS James Sample. Sample was seen as a surprising selection because many assumed that if the Jaguars were going to draft a Louisville Safety, it would have been Sample's teammate, Gerod Holliman, but Sample makes a lot of sense from a fit standpoint and ultimately looks to be the better option between the two.
Why James Sample Makes Sense
First and foremost, it should be cleared up where Sample is playing.
Many assumed that due to his role at Louisville and his physical style that he is a box safety, similar to the role that Johnathan Cyprien plays for Jax. But the Jaguars staff has reiterated several times that Sample will actually compete with FA signee Sergio Brown at FS, with Josh Evans moving to SS to back up Cyprien.
This makes the pick make a lot more sense than it did initially. It makes no sense for Jax to draft a backup to Cyprien that highly, but to draft a player who can compete with an unproven Brown for FS is smart. Even if the does not win the job in camp, he provides ST Depth and can be plugged into some "Big Nickel" packages (3 Safeties)
As a scheme fit, Sample couldn't have landed in a much better situation. He is athletic and smart enough to cover in Cover 2 coverages, and rotated from FS/SS a lot at Louisville, something Jax has indicated they want to do with their safeties. Vs the run he takes good angles, is instinctive, and is a solid form tackler, a combo that is not very common among safeties in todays NFL.
If Jax wants both their safeties to be able to hold up vs the pass as well as they do the run, Sample is the type of balanced player they need.
Why James Sample Doesn't Make Sense
Like the A.J. Cann pick, there aren't a ton of arguments against picking Sample. He is a smart safety who can tackle, with both FS and SS versatility. What is the issue?
The only argument I think would really have any ground, is the one that Sample is a lot like Cyprien. This is kind of true because Sample is a physical striker type as well, but Sample is more adequately fit to cover further from the LOS and offers positional versatility that Cyprien does not.
The Sample pick is yet another 2015 draft pick that indicates Jacksonville has completely bought into #BullyBall.