3 most pleasant surprises from the Jacksonville Jaguars 2023 season

• The Jaguars failed to make the playoffs in 2023. But there were several bright posts. Here are 3 players how were pleasant surprises in 2023.

Dec 17, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Darious Williams (31)
Dec 17, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Darious Williams (31) / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Darious Williams, cornerback

While some players routinely play at a high level, others experience ups and downs throughout their careers. Cornerback Darious Williams is one such case. While he has never been particularly atrocious, his first season with the Jacksonville Jaguars wasn't particularly great. Then again, there's a reason for that.

An undrafted free agent in 2018, Williams signed a three-year deal with the Jags in 2022. Right off the bat, the coaching staff moved him inside despite the fact that he had previously thrived in the boundaries. Not surprisingly, he was a bit underwhelming. However, things changed when he moved outside, where he was the most comfortable. The former UAB Blazer finished the year with a team-high 17 passes defensed.

Williams built on a strong finish to 2022 and was even better last year. With Tyson Campbell dealing with hamstring and quad injuries throughout the years, Williams became the defacto No. 1 cornerback in Jacksonville and he held up pretty well. Although he had a few rough outings, he also had several games in which he played a huge role in the outcome. His pick-six against the Atlanta Falcons stands out.

By the end of the season, Williams had four interceptions, tied for the most in his career. Similarly, he tallied a personal best 19 passes defensed, along with two forced fumbles. Prior to 2023, he had registered none in his career. The Jacksonville native is now set to enter the last year of the contract he inked in 2022. While the Jaguars could free up $10 million in cap space if they release him, they're better off keeping him around in 2024 and beyond.