Will Blackmon has never been the best corner for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He’s never been the worst either, though.
The Jags announced his release on Thursday, allowing the cornerback to become a free agent and sign with another team.
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Senior writer John Oehser optimistically stated that the Jaguars now only have four corners with “extensive” experience in the secondary, including Dwayne Gratz, Aaron Colvin, Alan Ball, and Demetrius McCray. Aside from Ball, all three of those players only have a couple years of experience or less. In fact, Gratz, Colvin, and McCray have been cycling through the rotation with McCray appearing to be the most complete corner of the three. Colvin seems to have the highest potential for of them all, but he missed significant time during his rookie season in 2014. So really, that only leaves Ball as the corner on the team with “extensive” experience and he’s set to be a free agent shortly.
So with the release of nine-year man Blackmon, the Jaguars now find themselves with a veteran hole in their secondary. Based on how the unit played last season, I would expect the Jaguars would like to slot in a new veteran in his place, though Ball does fill that role well for the defense, suggesting re-signing the eighth year player.
That veteran hole is concerning for the Jaguars as none of their young cornerbacks have really emerged to lock down one of the two spots. As mentioned before, McCray seems certain to be a starter going forward, but until he can put it together consistently, year over year, the doubts should remain.
Blackmon’s departure also leaves a hole in engagement with the fans. One of the most well-liked Jaguars, Blackmon’s departure will leave Twitter a lot quieter and removes one of the brightest personalities on the team. While the focus of the the Jaguars should be on putting together the best football product on the field as possible, it is always helpful to have a player who can engage and become a fan favorite. The Jags are looking to make a leap to contender sooner rather than later and will have to draw in fans from other locales and regions as they work on building their fan base in both London and the United States. Players like Blackmon help with that.
We here at B&T wish him the best going forward and hopefully the Jaguars will find a quality replacement.