Cornerback is becoming a trendy pick for the Jaguars in the 2024 NFL Draft

• The Jaguars need to bolster their CB room. They could do it with pick No. 17 in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Mar 1, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama defensive back Terrion Arnold (DB02) works out during
Mar 1, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama defensive back Terrion Arnold (DB02) works out during / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars need to find a replacement for Calvin Ridley, but wide receiver isn't the only need they need to address the 2024 NFL Draft. They could also use a cornerback, which is why analysts see them taking one with the 17th overall pick.

Matt Holder of Bleacher Report thinks that Jacksonville would be the ideal landing spot for Quinyon Mitchell, one of the top cornerback prospects in the class. Holder points out that the Jags released Darious Williams in a cap-saving move before free agency and argues that signing Ronald Darby shouldn't stop them from bolstering the position.

On the other hand, Eric Edholm of NFL Media has the Jaguars taking Terrion Arnold at No. 17 in his latest mock draft, noting that top-notch athleticism makes him an intriguing replacement for Williams.

"Arnold's pro-day workout, which reportedly included a scalding three-cone time in the 6.6s, had to put NFL scouts more at ease with his projection. The Alabama cover man falls just below the ideal size benchmarks for the position, but I think he has all the goods to be a fine replacement for free-agent departure Darious Williams."

This isn't the first time a cornerback has been mocked to Jacksonville, though. Earlier in the offseason, they were seen as a landing spot for Iowa's Cooper DeJean, a prospect with the tools to play press or zone in the NFL. That said, some scouts and talking heads opine he may benefit from switching to safety.

Arnold, Mitchell, and DeJean, along with Kool-Aid McKinstry and Nate Wiggins, are the top cornerback prospects in 2024. A couple of them could be gone by the time the Jags are on the clock, but they will still be in a position to take one of them if they go cornerback in the first round.

Drafting a cornerback in the first round would make sense for the Jaguars

Even though the Jags signed Gabe Davis in free agency, they still need a WR1. Brian Thomas Jr. and Adonai Mitchell could be realistic targets at No. 17. The team's brass could also add a pass rusher (Chop Robinson) or a defensive tackle (Byron Murphy II) but nobody would bat an eye if they opt for a cornerback.

Tyson Campell had an outstanding 2023 season but injuries hindered his performance last year. He's expected to bounce back but he may not be a fit in defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen's heavy-press scheme given that he excels in zone coverage. On top of that, Campbell's set to become a free agent next year, so the Jags may want to add insurance to their cornerback room in case he either falters or leaves in 2025.

On the other hand, Ronald Darby is a reliable start who will immediately step in Darious Williams' place. However, the Jags need a long-term answer at the position, someone with a bigger upside and they could get that player in the draft.

Of the teams that will pick before Jacksonville, only the Las Vegas Raiders and the Indianapolis Colts have a strong chance of taking a cornerback. And even then, either club could go in a different direction, so the Jags will have their fair share of options when they're on the clock.

The bottom line is that there are several routes the Jacksonville Jaguars could take in the first round, but they can't go wrong if they take a cornerback, whether it's Terrion Arnold, Quinyon Mitchell, or someone else.

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