4 Jacksonville Jaguars that were a nice surprise in 2021

A Jacksonville Jaguars fan at TIAA Bank Field (Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images)
A Jacksonville Jaguars fan at TIAA Bank Field (Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images) /
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Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars defensive back Rudy Ford (5) at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 3 Jaguars player who was a nice surprise in 2021 – Rudy Ford.

Safety Rudy Ford was one of several players the Jaguars signed last offseason but unlike wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. or cornerback Shaquill Griffin, it was hard to tell what kind of role he would have in 2021.

A sixth-round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017, Ford was mostly relegated to special teams throughout most of his career. In Jacksonville, he joined a crowded safety room that included Rayshwan Jenkins, Andre Cisco, Daniel Thomas, Jarrod Wilson, Josh Jones, and Andrew Wingard. Back in training camp, it looked like Ford would have trouble making the Jags’ 53-man roster but in the end, he made the cut over Wilson and Jones.

Ford didn’t play much early in the 2021 season but that changed once he switched from safety to nickel corner and took over the slot in place of Tre Herndon. He logged an interception and three passes defensed in his first start and played a key role in the Jags’ upset win over the Bills in Week 9.

Herndon is set to become a free agency, and it’s currently unknown if the Jaguars plan to bring him back. If they don’t Ford may enter the 2022 season as the favorite to start in the slot. He signed a two-year deal last year and if he performs well, he will be able to cash in in 2023.