Sep 29, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Will Blackmon (24) makes an interception which was reversed due to a defensive penalty past Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (81) during the first half of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Jacksonville Jaguars Mid-Season Report Card – Grading the Defensive Backs


 

The Jacksonville Jaguars are in the midst of arguably the most inept stretch of football in the history of the NFL. Mercifully, they have a bye this week to regroup and reevaluate some players and decide how to approach the last 8 games.

The bye week also gives us the opportunity to grade the personnel and their performance so far. Today we examine the youngest group on the team – the defensive backfield.

 

Snaps Tks Miss. Tks. INT Pass Def. TDs Allow. %Catch PFF Coverage PFF Overall
Johnathan Cyprien 552 40 10 0 0 3 75.0 -14.6 -19.4
Alan Ball 450 23 8 0 4 1 69.0 -1.9 -1.5
Will Blackmon 448 28 6 1 7 3 58.3 0.5 6.0
Josh Evans 426 25 8 0 1 3 81.3 -6.2 -10.5
Mike Harris 226 17 1 0 3 0 75.0 0.7 0.0
Demetrius McCray 85 4 1 0 1 0 60.0 -1.3 -1.2
Dwayne Gratz 81 6 0 0 0 0 60.0 0.3 0.4

 

Oct 27, 2013; London, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars safety Johnathan Cyprien (37) during the NFL International Series game against the San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium. The 49ers defeated the Jaguars 42-10. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The defensive backfield is comprised of primarily younger players and they have performed at that level so far this season. Rookie Johnathan Cyprien was thrown into the fire week 1 and has struggled mightily in coverage. He has the second worst PFF grade of all safeties behind only Major Wright and he has by far the worst coverage grade. Cyprien has flashed some of the physicality that could make him an impact player but he has a way to go as far as reacting to plays and disrupting the passing game.

Fellow rookie safety Josh Evans was forced into the lineup after Dwight Lowery (who isn’t included here) was injured and he’s steadily improved. Like Cyprien, Evans has struggled in coverage especially against tight ends but he’s also shown some potential. These two young safeties have a lot of room to grow and are hopefully learning a lot from their time on the field now.

The Jaguars have actually gotten some good play at cornerback, particularly from veterans Will Blackmon and Alan Ball. Blackmon has indisputably been the best player on defense and Ball has rarely been smoked or been seen blowing coverages. Second year player Mike Harris has also shown the ability to cover slot receivers and hasn’t been a liability. Dwayne Gratz and Demetrius McCray have seen limited time but both have been solid especially for rookies.

Mid-Season Grades: Defensive Backs

Johnathan Cyprien – D

Alan Ball – C+

Will Blackmon – A-

Josh Evans – D

Mike Harris – B-

Demetrius McCray – C+

Dwayne Gratz – C+

 

- Daniel Lago

Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89

 

Tags: Alan Ball Demetrius McCray Dwayne Gratz Featured Jacksonville Jaguars Johnathan Cyprien Josh Evans Mike Harris Popular Will Blackmon