After looking at part of the defensive backfield in the safety position on Wednesday, we will continue our series breaking down the roster by finishing out the defensive backfield and moving on to the cornerback position. This position has seen some added talent in both free agency and the 2016 NFL Draft and there is a perception that the team is deep at the corner position, but I think that we should slow our roll a little bit in that thinking.
There is a lot of talent, some of it potential and unrealized, but there isn't a lot of production out of the cornerback position on the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Returning player(s): Davon House, Nick Marshall, Dwayne Gratz, Demetrius McCray, Peyton Thompson, Rashaad Reynolds,
New player(s): Jalen Ramsey (R), Prince Amukamara (FA), Josh Johnson (FA), Briean Boddy-Calhoun (UDFA), Mike Hilton (UDFA)
Bubble player(s): Dwayne Gratz, Demetrius McCray, Peyton Thompson, Rashaad Reynolds, Josh Johnson, Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Mike Hilton
Suspended player(s): Aaron Colvin
Obviously the big name additions are fifth-overall pick Jalen Ramsey and free agent Prince Amukamara. Both should be big upgrades to the Jaguars secondary, provided the latter stays healthy and the former's transition to the NFL game is smooth. Davon House returns as a good starter at one cornerback position, and between the three the Jaguars should be much improved in that area. I also wouldn't necessarily call Amukamara a lock on the roster since he's only on a one-year deal, but as long as he's healthy he's shown he's more than good enough as an outside corner in the NFL so far in his career.
After that however, is where the concern comes in. Aaron Colvin is a solid player who's flashed for the Jaguars during his first two seasons, but he seems to be a much better fit inside as a nickel corner, which is likely going to be his role going forward once he's back from his four game suspension. Outside of his sack numbers, which came blitzing from the nickel position, his play on the field in 2015 left a lot to be desired. Otherwise, there's a lot up in the air at the cornerback position.
I believe that Nick Marshall makes the team once again, as I think he showed enough during his time playing corner last season to warrant future development. He's got the athleticism and the size the team looks for in the cornerback position, it's just a matter of refining those skills to translate on the field. He flashed last year but also appeared out of his depth on some plays, but as mentioned, it was more than enough to warrant holding on to him for future development.
The real battle on this roster is going to come down to the fifth corner, or sixth depending on how many the team decides to keep, and might see Dave Caldwell give up on yet another draft pick from the 2013 class. You're going to have Gratz, McCray, Reynolds and the two undrafted rookies battling out for a roster spot and it's likely going to come from their ability on special teams and if they're versatile enough to play inside and out, and possibly even deep as a safety.
For whatever reason, the team soured on Demetrius McCray after his put together some excellent games in 2014, so his work appears to be cut out for him. One name to watch in training camp however is the one that every is undoubtedly going to misspell, Briean Boddy-Calhoun. He was a big time playmaker for Minnesota during the 2014 season, but saw a dip in performance in 2015 to go with a knee injury, but he's a guy who can play inside and out on the defense. If he's going to stick with the Jaguars, it's going to be as a slot corner and for his special teams play.