Jaguars secondary wrongly ranked near the NFL cellar

C.J. Henderson #23 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
C.J. Henderson #23 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

The Jacksonville Jaguars’ secondary looks in good shape ahead of the 2021 season. Nevertheless, it got a less-than-favorable spot in a recent ranking.

Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus recently ranked all 32 secondaries in the NFL and Jacksonville appeared at number 27. He acknowledges that the Jags haven’t neglected their secondary over the last two years. Linsey goes on to note that they have acquired C.J. Henderson, Tyson Campbell, and Andre Cisco in the last two drafts. Also, he thinks this is a “completely rebuilt unit” after signing Shaquill Griffin and Rayshawn Jenkins this offseason.

Linsey wonders how all the Jaguars’ additions will fit together in defensive coordinator Joe Cullen’s scheme. He points out that Griffin has graded better in zone coverage than man throughout his career. He also isn’t sure who will be the slot cornerback, as Henderson, Griffin, and Campbell aren’t a natural fit at nicklel.

"None of Henderson, Griffin and Campbell is a natural fit in the slot, but they are the three cornerbacks the Jaguars should want on the field. It’s also worth monitoring Jacksonville’s volume of man coverage early in the year. Griffin, in particular, has graded much better throughout his career in zone (81.3 coverage grade) than man (37.0 coverage grade)."

The Jaguars’ brass is pleased with the cornerback room and believes they have four starters in Henderson, Griffin, Tre Herndon, and Sidney Jones. Moreover, they revamped the safety position this offseason, so the secondary could be a strength this upcoming season.

The Jaguars’ secondary looks promising ahead of the 2021 season.

It’s true that you don’t get points for potential, but the Jaguars’ backfield is full of it. Besides all the additions the team made, there are a few returning players that could play a big role in 2021. Safety Daniel Thomas worked his way up the depth chart in 2020 and started two games. Had an arm injury not ended his rookie campaign, he would have had an even bigger impact. Now healthy, he’s been making plays in the Jaguars’ organized team activities. He will likely compete with Cisco and incumbent Jarrod Wilson for the starting spot next to Jenkins.

Another player to monitor is Jones. After three unproductive years with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Washington product landed in Duval last offseason and was having a career revival before injuries ended his season. He appeared in nine games with six starts and logged two interceptions and nine passes defensed. If he can manage to stay healthy, it will be hard to keep him off the field in 2021.

As it stands, Griffin will start opposite Henderson and Herndon will line up in the slot. However, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Campbell and Jones earn a significant amount of playing time. Although it seemed like Jacksonville was pouring too many resources into their secondary but it was a good investment in retrospect. It looks especially smart after All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones joined the Tennessee Titans.

Last season, injuries hit the Jaguars’ defensive backfield and struggle to stop opposing offenses from scoring at ease. That won’t longer be an issue, as they can now withstand a few losses. Don’t be surprised if Jacksonville’s secondary ranks among the top units in the NFL by the end of the year.

dark. Next. Jaguars OTAs: Depth will be crucial in 2021