BOOK IT: 5 Things I Think about the Jaguars, Cornerbacks Edition

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3. Derek Cox has all of the talent to be successful. As he matures, he will fulfill his potential. Cox had the

poorest overall PFF rating of all of the Jaguars cornerbacks last year. However, he was rated better in coverage than Mathis was and of his -12.4 overall score, -6.3 of that was from penalties. He was whipped by Brandon Lloyd in week 1, but after a few weeks to collect his thoughts, he regained his starting position in Week 5 and held his own against plenty of credible WR’s: Lee Evans (33 yds), Dwayne Bowe (6 yds, 1 TD), Miles Austin and Dez Bryant (21 yards total), Kevin Walter and Andre Johnson (31 yards total), Mohammed Massaquoi (12 yards), Mario Manningham (18 yards), Nate Washington (34 yards), Reggie Wayne (2 rec on 6 throws for 19 yards), speedsters Santana Moss and Anthony Armstrong (26 yards total),  and Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones (37 yards total). His only sub-par game, once returning to the starting lineup, was against Oakland where he allowed a 27-yard catch to Jacoby Ford on blown coverage and two catches for 20 yards and a TD to Louis Murphy, where he was beat by a double move in the end zone. Cox held opposing QB’s to 39 completions on 74 attempts, good for a 52.7% completion rate and 72.2 QB Rating, both of which were best on the team, and in the turnover category, his 4 INT’s and 8 passes defensed were also best on the team. Cox may never play at an elite level, but he still has room to grow before reaching his ceiling. He doesn’t get burned by the speedsters and or shredded by the top-flight WR’s of the NFL and has proven himself to be a playmaker and tough in run support, which is more than enough to be a strong #2 CB, with the upside to be possibly be a #1.

  • 4. The nickleback position is becoming increasingly important and can become a point of strength with Rod Issac. William Middleton spent more time at NB (also known as the “third” or “slot” cornerback) than any other defensive back on the Jaguars’ roster last year. He played 462 snaps, which was 45.8% of the total defensive snaps, making this position a very important one since the player will be on the field roughly than half the time. He played in run defense for 22.7% of the time (105 snaps) and rushed the passer 8.2% of the time (38 snaps). He was thrown at 49 times for 36 completions (73.5%), which would be worst on the team, but the proportion of YAC/total yards (165/338 yards or 48.8%) suggests that these are mostly high-percentage, underneath routes. Have you been reading about our boy Rod Issac recently? He’s man-sized at 5’11”, 200 lbs. and has been called “the toughest corner in the draft” by Gene Smith. He tackles well, loves contact, and has all the measurables to play corner in a rough way (4.41 40-yd and 22 bench reps of 225 lbs on his Pro Day). Does rushing the passer, stopping the run, and blowing little slot receivers up on drag routes not sound like this guy’s dream world?
  • 5. Expect several high-upside cornerbacks to be signed once undrafted free agency opens up. David Jones and William Middleton (though I admire his toughness) have reached their potential and at this point, are there for depth. Terrance Wheatley is the lone CB on the roster behind Mathis, Cox, and Issac who could still “level up”, so GM Gene will likely sign several development-type cornerbacks who have raw athleticism and playmaking ability. The depth is already covered and it’s always worth trying to bring a guy like that up through the practice squad and seeing if he can become something special.

Care to retort?

– Andrew Hofheimer