The nickel defense is now firmly the standard defense in the NFL today. If what Gil Brandt's reporting is true, the three-cornerback defense was used in 60% of plays last year... and it will only grow this year.
Quinn told me NFL teams used nickel defenses 60% of the time last year. He expects that number to increase in 2016.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) March 21, 2016
The nickel defense is when a defense uses five defensive backs and it's most often that the fifth defensive back is a cornerback and not an extra safety since it's a defense that's used primarily to cover extra receivers on an opponent's pass play.
So, who are the Jaguars' top three cornerbacks going into the 2016 season?
Davon House is the obvious front runner for the No. 1 outside spot. He was the best cornerback on the Jaguars last year and the best member of their secondary. He grew leaps and bounds in his technique last year (a big reason he wasn't a starter with the Green Bay Packers) and his speed and consistent ability to close on opposing receivers is something that was missing from the rest of the cornerbacks.
Prince Amukamara wasn't brought in to play the nickel cornerback position, nor is this group best suited for him to be doing so. He has experience as an outside corner and although his 6'0" and 207-pound frame is a bit larger than what the Jaguars typically look for, he's an outside corner and he'll stay an outside corner with the Jaguars.
Aaron Colvin plays best in the nickel position. He played as an outside corner moreso because Dwayne Gratz is #bad and less because it was what was best for the team. He's a good blitzer, he can play the run well, but nickel plays up his skill set better.
That's... not a bad trio of cornerbacks.
That leaves Dwayne Gratz (again, bad), Demetrius McCray (captured by aliens), Nick Marshall (inconsistent), Peyton Thompson (lol no), and Rashaad Reynolds (um) fighting for what looks to be two spots at cornerback.
Who do you think gets in as No. 4 and No. 5 on the depth chart this year?