The Jacksonville Jaguars have been quiet in free agency and will most likely wait until the 2023 NFL Draft to revamp their roster. Cornerback seems to be their top priority and Josh Edwards of CBS Sports thinks they'll address it with the 24th overall pick.
Edwards has the Jags taking South Carolina cornerback Cam Smith in the first round. He argues that they need someone to line up opposite Tyson Campbell and thinks that Smith should have no trouble making the adjustment from college to the NFL.
"Tyson Campbell played well last season, but they need more from that position. Cam Smith is a bit volatile in the eyes of talent evaluators, but Smith was much improved this season. He is capable of handling the transition to the NFL with ease."
It's important to note that the Jaguars also have Darious Williams, who started the 2022 season in the slot but moved to the boundaries when Shaquill Griffin was placed on the Injured Reserve. Williams progressively got better as he grew comfortable outside and will tentatively start the 2023 season there. Having said that, Jacksonville still needs a nickel cornerback and Smith might be a solid fit.
Smith lined up outside most of his collegiate career but he saw an uptick of snaps in the slot in 2022, appearing in 197 after logging a combined 39 in his first two years at South Carolina. Although he needs to work on his tackling technique, he's got the skill set to thrive in the slot, where he would likely play for the Jags in his rookie season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars would check off a box in the 2023 NFL Draft with Cam Smith
The Jaguars re-signed Tre Herndon and Tevaughn Campbell in the first week of free agency but cornerback remains a priority. The way things stand right now, it's hard to see them dipping their toes in the open market due to their lack of cap space, so they'll probably wait until the draft to bolster the position.
Working in the Jags' favor is that this year's cornerback class is pretty deep, so they don't have to back themselves into the corner (no pun intended) and can easily wait until the second or third round to choose one. This would in turn allow them to take an offensive lineman to replace Jawaan Taylor, who joined the Kansas City Chiefs, or add a tight end to pair with Evan Engram.
On the other hand, Jacksonville will be in a position to take one of the top cornerback prospects at No. 24. It's always hard to predict how the draft will play out but they should be in a favorable position even if there's an early run for cornerbacks early in the first round. There's a strong chance Smith will be available at that point of the draft and he would be one of many potential options.
Part of the reason the Jacksonville Jaguars made the playoffs last year was that they load up on difference-makers in the offseason. While they don't need to add as much talent, they still need to fortify a few position groups, including their cornerback room. That's where Cam Smith could potentially help. Given that the draft is still more than a month away, the team's brass will have ample time to decide whether they should take him.