Aug 24, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Dwayne Gratz (27) and running back Jordan Todman (30) celebrate after Todman scored a 63-yard touchdown during the second quarter of their game against the Philadelphia Eagles at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Dwayne Gratz Should Make Big Strides in 2014

The Jacksonville Jaguars had a handful of rookies play significant time in 2013. Consequently, most of those players are heading into the 2014 season with raised expectations. Johnathan Cyprien has been a popular candidate for most to make abig leap in 2014, but 3rd round pick Dwayne Gratz is another guy who could make strides in year 2.

Sayre Bedinger over at NFL Mocks listed Gratz as his guy on the Jaguars who should have a breakout sophomore year.

 Dwayne Gratz is one of many 2013 Jaguars draft picks that could have made this list, but in a league that is predicated on the pass, Gratz is going to have a huge part in the Jaguars’ rebuild as a potential #1 corner for them going forward. He is a well-built athlete who finished his rookie season playing only 10 games due to a couple of separate knee injuries, but he still managed to snag a pair of interceptions. When QBs threw his way, their rating was under 76. This kid has a bright future in the NFL.

Despite being a 3rd round pick, Gratz came into the fold in Jacksonville with the expectation of being an immediate starter. While hampered somewhat by injuries, Gratz flashed the kind of ability needed to thrive in Gus Bradley’s defensive scheme. Gratz saw 43 balls thrown his way in 2013, and he only allowed 26 of them to be caught. Given how much time opposing quarterbacks had to throw the ball, that’s actually a fairly impressive number. Like Cyprien, Gratz should benefit immensely from an improved pass rush up front. If he can stay healthy, Gratz should cement himself as a long term piece on defense.

 

- Daniel Lago

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