The Jaguars' secondary has been dismal for years. There's no way around it, there's no rationale that begs to differ -- it's been bad.
There have been flashes of talent, don't get me wrong. Davon House had a good season last year that he looks to build upon in 2016. Aaron Colvin has established himself as a nice nickel corner, and he looks to make a jump in 2016 as well. But in all actuality, the team's secondary has not been one to be proud of since the Rashean Mathis days.
Not only have we: the fans, the analysts, and everyone outside of the organization, realized it -- the team has too. In the 2016 offseason, general manager Dave Caldwell brought in six new defensive backs to help solidify the secondary: free agent acquisitions Tashaun Gipson and Prince Amukamara, first round pick Jalen Ramsey, and undrafted free agents Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Mike Hilton, and Jarrod Wilson.
Tashaun Gipson is a lock to start at free safety, and brings ball-hawking skills to a secondary that has lacked such a skill for years. Prince Amukamara should start at nickel corner in Aaron Colvin's absence due to a four game suspension, as well as rotate at outside corner throughout the season.
Jalen Ramsey, the team's first round selection, will be starting at cornerback opposite of Davon House, and will also get some playing time at nickel corner. However, the team drafted Ramsey to be the team's No. 1 "lock down" corner, so don't expect too much time at nickel for Ramsey.
Speaking of Davon House, House enters the 2016 as the only defensive back that was with the team last year with job security, as he will remain a starter at outside cornerback. House put together a very good season last year with four interceptions and a franchise-record 23 pass breakups.
Johnathan Cyprien and James Sample look to battle it out in training camp for the starting strong safety spot, but I personally believe Cyprien will win the job as he looks to thrive as a true box safety with Gipson playing single high. Sample has talent, but doesn't have the experience to win the job from Cyprien -- yet.
So, while this isn't a full depth chart, here's my prediction for the Jaguars' starting secondary:
- Cornerback - Davon House
- Free safety - Tashaun Gipson
- Strong safety - Johnathan Cyprien
- Cornerback - Jalen Ramsey
- Nickel cornerback - Prince Amukamara/Aaron Colvin
*Note: Colvin does not return until week five due to suspension for PED use*
With a starting secondary that looks like this, we can finally set expectations for this defensive backfield to be competitive; we can have faith that the Jaguars' secondary will be good and stay good for years to come.
Am I jumping the gun? Sure, but after having accomplished so much this offseason, it's time that we set big expectations for the Jaguars as a whole, especially this rebuilt secondary.