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Where is the draft day sweet spot for a cornerback?

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When is the right time for the Jacksonville Jaguars to pull the trigger on certain positions?

North Carolina v Pittsburgh Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a very top-heavy secondary. The starters are elite — Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye make up the best tandem as long as they’re healthy, Barry Church is incredibly underrated and he and Tashaun Gipson play just outside of a Pro Bowl level.

But after that — what is there?

Newly signed D.J. Hayden figures in at slot cornerback, but the depth just isn’t there. If one of the starting four gets hurt, it could mean very, very bad things for what was a historically good pass defense last year.

In this series, I want to look at the Jaguars’ draft needs and try to find the “sweet spot” for those positions in the draft. I want to find the lowest round where I’ll still be able to pick a better-than-average player so that I can walk away from the draft with as much value as possible.

There are seven positions the Jaguars need — quarterback, offensive lineman, cornerback, tight end, linebacker, defensive end, and running back.

In Part 3 of my series, I’m looking over the cornerbacks and to help me organize the players I’ve used Dane Brugler’s prospect rankings published at NFLDraftScout.com.

Cornerback

DS Rank Name School Proj. Round
DS Rank Name School Proj. Round
6 *Minkah Fitzpatrick Alabama 1
8 *Denzel Ward Ohio State 1
20 *Jaire Alexander Louisville 1
26 *Josh Jackson Iowa 1
30 *Mike Hughes Central Florida 1-2
41 *Carlton Davis Auburn 2
48 *Isaiah Oliver Colorado 2
58 Anthony Averett Alabama 2
71 *Donte Jackson LSU 2-3
77 Duke Dawson Florida 2-3
82 Tony Brown Alabama 2-3
97 *Kevin Toliver II LSU 3
103 Isaac Yiadom Boston College 3-4
110 *Quenton Meeks Stanford 3-4
120 M.J. Stewart North Carolina 4
126 Davontae Harris Illinois State 4
137 Avonte Maddox Pittsburgh 4
142 *Tarvarus McFadden Florida State 4-5
154 *Nick Nelson Wisconsin 4-5
157 *Holton Hill Texas 5
180 Darius Phillips Western Michigan 5-6
182 Grant Haley Penn State 5-6
191 *D.J. Reed Kansas State 5-6
194 Parry Nickerson Tulane 5-6
208 *J.C. Jackson Maryland 6
209 Michael Joseph Dubuque 6
219 Brandon Facyson Virginia Tech 6-7
235 Taron Johnson Weber State 6-7
243 Levi Wallace Alabama 7
253 Andre Chachere San Jose State 7
255 Arrion Springs Oregon 7

Much like quarterback, I believe cornerback is another position where there will be a run early and so that means two things — these players will likely go earlier than they are projected and if you’re sitting at the bottom of a round (like the Jaguars) you will have to “overdraft” in a sense.

Personally, I don’t know why guys like M.J. Stewart, Avonte Maddox, and Davontae Harris have such low grades from Brugler. I could easily see either of them going earlier than the fourth round.

I think the real line between “good enough” and “gone in a few years” is Tarvarus McFadden. He’s a ball hawk but he’s vulnerable to big plays and quick receivers. Because I believe the guys ahead of him will go a little earlier than expected (and because the Jaguars sit at the bottom of each of their rounds) I think they can still find a really good nickel cornerback at the end of the third round.

Look for the Jaguars to target either of Stewart, Maddox, or Harris at the end of the third round and for all three of those guys to be gone by the end of the fourth round.

Sweet spot for Jaguars at CB: Round 3