Oct 20, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (24) runs the ball past Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Will Blackmon (24) and safety Josh Evans (26) during the second half at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
With free agency on the horizon, it is as good a time as any to take an in-depth look at the performance of each position group on the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013. As a standard metric to start the conversation, Pro Football Focus grades were used to get an initial look at how each player fared in the 2013 regular season. Specific information about how Pro Football Focus comes up with their grades is available in their FAQ.
Today we finish our review with one of the more promising young positions on the team, safety. The Jaguars spent a second round pick on Johnathan Cyprien, who started immediately, and a sixth round pick on Josh Evans. Both guys ended up playing significant time and improved dramatically over the course of the season.
Johnathan Cyprien played the entire year and showed a lot of promise towards the end of the season after having a very rough go of it in the first few games. Cyprien looked lost and out of place in coverage often, but he started to play faster by the end of the 2013 campaign, and he’s shown enough to warrant some excitement going into 2014. He has the potential to develop into at least a solid starter at safety.
Josh Evans started out exclusively on special teams, but an injury to Dwight Lowery thrust him into the starting lineup 4 games into the season. Like Cyprien, Evans showed noticeable improvement over the course of the season, and he certainly displayed the range needed to roam the back end of the field effectively. He started to play with some inconsistency towards the second half of the year, but he’s another guy who could develop into a solid starter with a good offseason and more coaching.
Winston Guy rotated in with Evans after getting signed to replace Lowery, and he was decent despite giving up a few huge plays. His spot, as well as Chris Prosinski’s, are up for grabs this offseason if they bring in some undrafted free agents or late round picks to compete.
The Jaguars have a promising pair of young safeties, and they should go ahead and see how they develop this year before addressing the position again.
2013 Position Grade, Safety – C+
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89