The Jaguars started the 2019 season with two great starters at cornerback. The Jaguars start the 2020 season with one starter at the position. What a difference a year can make.
There are some very good cornerbacks in the 2020 draft. The question is what priority does the Jacksonville Jaguars place on the position?
There are so many needs in so many areas on this football team. I checked many lists by experts and found the best cornerback as rated by the most popular writers and sites. Let’s assume that the Jaguars are in a position to draft the best player available in the secondary. That player is, no doubt, Jeffrey Okudah of Ohio State. In fact, he is considered the best cornerback prospect since Jalen Ramsey.
Okudah was a five-star recruit from South Grand Prairie High School in Texas and a USA All-American as a high school senior. He started as a freshman at Ohio State and played in all 14 games. He continued to build on his success as a sophomore and a junior. He was a unanimous first-team All American in 2019, and first-team Big Ten in 2019.
I always start with the NFL Combine when looking at potential prospects. The accuracy of their commentary remains true years later if you look up a veteran. Okudah’s draft grade was 7.15. This puts him in the stratosphere as a future Pro Bowler and possible Hall of Famer.
As Lance Zierlein wrote, “He has size, length and foot quickness to road-block press release and elite closing burst to close catch windows or eliminate yards after catch. He has room for improvement with his recognition and balance at the top of the route, but quarterbacks rarely target and beat him over the top.”
He is 6’1” and 205 pounds. He ran a 4.48 forty yard dash and is compared to Arizona Cardinals star Patrick Peterson.
Walter Football rated Okudah the top prospect at the position as well
“In 2019, Okudah was phenomenal in pass coverage to run the route and prevent separation. He has a nice combination of size, speed, athleticism, and instincts. Importantly, his ball production was vastly improved over his 2018 season. He totaled 35 tackles with nine passes broken up and three interceptions on the year.”
By their rankings, Okudah is projected as a top-16 pick in April. He won’t last that long. By virtue of the deal that sent A.J. Bouye to the Denver Broncos for a fourth-round pick, this position becomes an even greater need for the Jaguars. Tre Herndon is expected to start on the other side for now.
It is obvious that Okudah is a dream draft pick who checks all the boxes. He has all the athletic traits and great character as well. If he fell to ninth in the draft he would be a perfect choice for the Jaguars. He would have an immediate impact on the defense. Not only that, but he would also make the loss of Ramsey a distant memory.
It is unlikely that he will become a Jaguar unless the team makes a deal to move up in the first round, but he will become someone’s first-round draft choice and a player to watch in 2020 and beyond.