The fourth round saw Louisville safety James Sample come to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday, providing the Jags with a safety who can compete immediately for the starting spot at free safety and will provide depth and special teams in a worst case scenario.
The move to pick up James Sample was important for the Jaguars in the 2015 NFL Draft because they finally addressed the free safety position, which they waited on until the fourth round and only put a bandaid on in NFL free agency with the addition of Sergio Brown. Sample could be the future at the position and will have to out-battle Brown and Josh Evans. The latter shouldn’t be too much trouble.
No matter which way you look at it, this selection is an upgrade for the Jaguars.
Like with all picks in the 2015 NFL Draft, co-editor Daniel Lago and I came up with draft grades way too early for this pick. So, let’s dive in.
This grade is for both the selection of Sample and for the trade made right before the pick. Moving down one spot is extremely savvy on the part of general manager David Caldwell, and landing a potential starter in the 4th round is terrific value. Sample is considered by some the best coverage safety in the draft, which is exactly what the Jaguars need in the back end. Josh Evans hasn’t developed into a consistent starter and the Jaguars needed another option at free safety.
James Sample may be an upgrade, but he’s an unproven player. The guy only has one season of starting in the college ranks under his belt. He was solid in coverage during that season and he looks promising (like a fourth round pick should) but I’m not sure I see Sample as the future of the free safety position for the Jaguars. This pick looks more like a scheme fit in size rather than a fit for the role of free safety. I hope to be proven wrong and I love the potential the guy has, but he is easily the most raw Jaguar drafted in the 2015 NFL Draft so far. It will be exciting to see what he can do, but until he proves his coverage skills are for real this pick is neither exceptional nor poor.
What do you, the fans think? Let us know in the comments and the poll below!
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