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If the Jaguars don’t sign Aaron Colvin, another team will quickly

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The Jacksonville Jaguars need to lock up nickel cornerback Aaron Colvin or else another team is going to pounce on him.

Los Angeles Chargers v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The NFL is continuing to grow into a pass focus league, with a completion percentage close to 65 percent which hasn’t dropped below 59 percent since 2002. During an NFL season, the offensive side of the ball will see a fifth defensive back more than 50 percent of their snaps, as opposed to the basic two corners and two safeties. When an offense adds an extra receiver in the slot position, the defense substitutes out an outside linebacker and in a third cornerback. This is a better matchup for the defense as opposed to a slower linebacker that normally would be covering a fullback or running back.

Jalen Ramsey continues to voice his opinion on free agent cornerback Aaron Colvin, lobbying publicly for the Jacksonville Jaguars to re-sign him since the middle of the 2017 season and it’s probably because Colvin didn’t allow a touchdown during the entire regular season, even adding an interception in their Wild Card matchup against the Buffalo Bills. He secured the middle of the field even when opposing quarterbacks avoided the team’s two Pro Bowl cornerbacks on the outside. This was a tough job for Colvin, undeterred by the uphill battle.

Colvin and the Jaguars quickly became the number one secondary in the league. According to Pro Football Focus, Colvin allowed 45 catches for 317 yards on 62 targets during the regular season. He only allowed 7.0 yards per completion despite a catch rate of 72.6 percent.

Key attributes for a nickel cornerback is acceleration, quick hips, tackling, awareness, and toughness. Your nickel corner must have speed for slot receivers like Julian Edelman and toughness to bring down tight ends like Rob Gronkowski.

The best part of Colvin’s game is his awareness when in zone coverage and his ability to stop the ball carrier in the flat. Lets break down the key elements and prove why Aaron Colvin deserves this contract.

It’s Week 6 and Los Angeles Rams have the ball leading 24-17. There are 11 minutes left in the game and its 2nd-and-14. Colvin has an opportunity here to make a crucial stop to potentially get his offense the ball back to attempt to win the game. Colvin is in his normal zone coverage and shows the Rams why they should never run a flat to his side.

Fast forward to Week 10 against the Los Angeles Chargers, Colvin is once again in zone, shutting down the screen resulting in a loss of two yards.

As the seasoned continued, he continued to make these plays and even Week 15 against the Houston Texans, a quick screen is thrown to his side with two blockers headed his way. Colvin ends up with the tackle.

The very same game its 3rd-and-14 and Colvin is playing off, shading the inside of the slot receiver. This tells you that he is keeping his eye on all three threats to his zone coverage. Since we know he is in zone, the secondary has anything going over the top and his only job is to prevent the first down.

In Week 14 against the Seattle Seahawks, it’s third-and-10, once again Colvin recognizes the play immediately forcing the Seahawks to punt on the very next play.

The Jaguars throughout the year remained at the top of the NFL with a defensive line leading the league in sacks and a secondary allowing the fewest amount of passing yards per game. The only weakness in this defense was against the run. It was apparent very early in the season that the Jaguars had an issue with stopping the offense’s rushing attack; they even addressed it by adding size to the defensive line with Marcell Dareus and Eli Ankou.

Opposing offenses often exploited the Jaguars man-to-man defensive scheme by motioning the slot receiver to the play-side switching out our linebacker Myles Jack (6’1” 245 pounds) with the smaller Aaron Colvin (5’11” 177 pounds) giving the ball-carrier a weight advantage when attempting to break tackles.

Early in the season, Colvin was getting a lot of playing time and by Week 5 they felt like he fit in the defensive scheme against the Pittsburgh Steelers because he played 70 percent of the defense’s snaps.

On this play, the Steelers motion to reveal Colvin man to man with Antonio Bryant. The Steelers snap the ball as Bryant runs back down the line and they essentially use Colvin as a blocker leading the way for Le’veon Bell to gain a solid chunk of yards.

The Tennessee Titans run an almost identical play and instead of staying man to man, he switches to zone and gets a solo tackle on Derrick Henry tossing him out of bounds.

As you can see adjustments were made and Week 17 the Titans run an almost identical play. Instead of staying man-to-man, Colvin switches to zone and gets a solo tackle on Henry, tossing him out of bounds.

Here, Colvin is lined up across from two wide outs with A.J. Bouye behind him covering the sideline. Since his receiver motions for a possible Jet Sweep his assignment quickly switches to the running back and immediately comes free through the C gap to make the tackle on Lamar Miller.

This was one of my favorite plays by Colvin. He shows his ability to take away the outside, forcing the running back in towards his linebackers and makes the solo tackle on the back.

Colvin shows his superior hand-eye coordination and high football IQ here as he stiffs out the quick screen immediately and bats down the ball.

It’s 3rd-and-10 in the second quarter against the Chargers he shows his ability once again to get his hands on the ball resulting in a Los Angeles punt.

Colvin has shown the ability all year to keep up with the receiver across from him, but here against the Titans in the regular season finale he shows he can recover from the pick and still force the breakup from behind.

It wouldn’t be fair to leave out Colvin’s lone interception in 2017. There’s 11:32 left in the second quarter and... well... I’ll let the film speak for itself.

In short, the Jaguars need to lock up nickel cornerback Aaron Colvin or else another team is going to pounce on him.