Will the Jacksonville Jaguars add depth at the safety position through the NFL Draft next week?
The Jacksonville Jaguars are in need of a safety after some of the moves they made this offseason. Jacksonville may look at their options in this year’s draft to fill those holes.
The Jaguars cut ties with safety Barry Church in the middle of the year last season, giving rookie Ronnie Harrison a chance to start. Harrison performed well, and he should return as a starter next season.
Currently, the starting safeties for the Jaguars are Harrison and Jarrod Wilson. Harrison showed promise last season and will look to improve upon his rookie season with more reps and experience.
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Wilson is a young player as well who is looking for his first opportunity to start. This position group is a weak point in what is otherwise a strong starting defensive unit. Though none of them are probably worth the 7th pick, the Jaguars will probably look to fix this early on in the draft.
Below are four players who may be an option for this team in the earlier rounds.
DEIONTE THOMPSON – ALABAMA: Combine: DNP, Draft Projection: Round: 2
Pros: Deionte Thompson is a hard-hitting safety with range. Thompson is an explosive safety who fills holes in the run game and can play very well in coverage. Thompson is fast, instinctive, and has the awareness that will allow him to make plays on the football.
Pairing him with his former college teammate Harrison means there may already be a chemistry between the two safeties.
Cons: Thompson has a tendency to be overaggressive, meaning he could bite on double moves, misdirection’s, or trick plays. He also has a tendency to be more of a thumper than a wrap-up tackler, which could lead to missed tackles.
Thompson is also somewhat thin for an NFL safety which could cause problems with durability or taking down larger opponents.
CHAUNCEY GARDNER-JOHNSON – FLORIDA: Combine: 40 Yard Dash: 4.48, Bench Press: 17 Reps, Vertical Jump: 36 Inches, 20 Yard Shuttle: 4.2
Pros: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is a very athletic safety, one that will assure nothing gets over the top of the defense. Gardner-Johnson is more a coverage safety than a run support safety, but he does flash the ability to stuff the run.
He will create turnovers by making aggressive plays on the ball in the air.
Cons: Gardner-Johnson tends too rely too much on his athleticism, an that may haunt him at the professional level. Sometimes he can be a bit too over aggressive and could bite on double moves or crossing routes.
He also needs to improve as a tackler.
JUAN THORNHILL – VIRGINIA: Combine: 40 Yard Dash: 4.42, Bench Press: 21 Reps, Vertical Jump: 44 Inches, 20 Yard Shuttle: DNP
Pros: Juan Thornhill does a great job of diagnosing plays and creating turnovers. He is very instinctive and is a very good athlete coming into the draft. Thornhill is a very good all-around safety, showing the ability to stuff the run as well as create turnovers in the passing game.
Jacksonville would like that he can play any position in the secondary, but he would be best suited as safety to begin his career.
Cons: Instincts are commonly a good thing, but Juan tends to rely too much on them and this could lead to big plays when he finds himself out of position.
Thornhill also has a tendency to stop and diagnose the play instead of moving towards his assignment.
TAYLOR RAPP – WASHINGTON
Combine: 40 Yard Dash: DNP, Bench Press: 17 Reps, Vertical Jump: 35 Inches, 20 Yard Shuttle: 3.99
Pros: Taylor Rapp is a very intelligent football player, who understands the game and knows his role. He posses very good coverage skills, fits well into run gaps, and is a very good tackler.
Rapp can be plugged into any position in the secondary and has the physicality to be cover tight ends in man coverage.
Cons: Rapp isn’t going to be the fastest player on the field and may find himself getting outrun by receivers or backs on the edge if he is slightly late in coverage.
He also has shown some inconsistency thing the ball and dropped a few interceptions.