Jacksonville Jaguars nickel cornerback Aaron Colvin is signed through the 2017 season but it may be time to look for his replacement.
When the Jacksonville Jaguars landed cornerback Aaron Colvin in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft it was undoubtedly a steal. One of the draft’s more talented players at the position, Colvin fell to the fourth round as a result of a Senior Bowl ACL tear. The Jags fell in love with his ability during Senior Bowl week and decided to bring him to Jacksonville regardless.
Colvin is capable of playing inside and outside though he has settled into the nickel corner role behind starter Jalen Ramsey and, previously, Prince Amukamara. Now he continues to occupy the nickel slot after the addition of A.J. Bouye in 2017 free agency.
Bouye, Ramsey, and Colvin headline a thin position group at cornerback. The Jags will have to address the position in the 2017 NFL Draft at some point to bring in fresh talent that can flesh out the depth. The team would be wise to bring in someone who could push Colvin for his nickel role.
This is due in part because of Colvin’s play. While he is incredibly athletic and talented, the stats don’t jump off the page. Through 32 games (20 starts) over three seasons with the Jags, Colvin has just nine passes defensed, zero interceptions, one fumble forced, and one fumble recovered (for a touchdown his rookie season). That fumble recovery returned for a score has, frankly, been the highlight of his tenure with the Jags thus far.
Yet those stats disguise the fact that Colvin is a capable defensive back and he is consistently reliable. To say Colvin is a poor corner would be to misstate the problem. Those stats alone aren’t enough to warrant replacing him in the 2017 NFL Draft.
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Combine those stats with the fact that his contract is up in 2017 and the Jags have a multitude of players from the 2014 draft class to sign and the situation becomes more clear. With Brandon Linder, Allen Robinson, Blake Bortles, and Marqise Lee all needing new contracts, the Jags will have at least four priorities ahead of Colvin. Tack on Colvin’s desire to play outside and his inclination to play out his final season to market himself (per Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union), finding a cheaper replacement for Colvin becomes even more prudent.
While Colvin is well-liked by the fan base and has been consistent, his lack of eye-popping plays and contract season may make 2017 his last season for the black and teal. This is speculation, of course, but if that is true, the Jags need to find someone who can play the nickel well. With defenses increasingly relying on nickel backs, using a mid-round pick at corner wouldn’t be surprising.