Jaguars urged to get cornerback help: 3 enticing options remain available

• The Jaguars should consider bolstering their cornerback room ahead of the regular season.
Oct 15, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) and Tyson Campbell (32) at EverBank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 15, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) and Tyson Campbell (32) at EverBank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports / Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have filled the most glaring roster holes since the end of 2023, but you could argue that one remains unaddressed, the cornerback position. While the team's brass has made a handful of changes to the unit, it remains a question mark heading into the offseason. Not surprisingly, analysts across the league think cornerback is currently the Jags' biggest need.

Matt Holder of Bleacher Report isn't sold on Tyson Campbell and Ronald Darby as the starters, which is why he thinks Jacksonville should add another cornerback before the regular season. Kevin Patra of NFL Media echoes Holder's sentiment, pointing out that the secondary should be much better with defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen at the helm.

However, Patra proceeds to say that hiring Nielsen to run the defense shouldn't have impeded Jacksonville from adding premiere cornerback help in the offseason.

"Ryan Nielsen brings a defense that should be an upgrade, but the question is whether the Jaguars have the corners to play the new DC's desired system. Ronald Darby was signed this offseason and could be a starter. Third-round pickJarrian Jones might be the nickel starter, and fifth-rounderDeantre Prince is in line to play a key reserve role.

I don't question the Jags' decision to draft wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. in Round 1 instead of picking one of the corners sitting on the board, but doing so certainly left question marks on the defense's back end. At this point, Jacksonville appears to be counting on Nielsen to scheme around any roster concerns. "

As Patra noted, the Jags inked Ronald Darby to a two-year deal in the offseason. Darby is still dependable going into Year 10, having given up just one total touchdown the past two seasons. However, he's struggled to remain healthy, so it's reasonable to believe that he will miss time in 2024.

In Tyson Campbell's case, he dealt will injuries last season and will be asked to make the adjustment to Nielsen's press-heavy scheme. He's previously excelled in zone coverage, so his transition will be worth monitoring.

There's also Deantre Prince and Jarrian Jones, a pair of promising rookies who may seize a starting role down the stretch. That said, they're both unproven and there's always a chance they won't contribute in 2024. The Jaguars will probably want to see how they fare in training camp before they make a move, but if they end up looking for help at the position, these three veterans make the most sense.

3 options the Jaguars should consider to upgrade the cornerback position

Xavien Howard

Before Sauce Gardner earned the title of the best cornerback in the NFL, Xavien Howard held that distinction. A second-round pick in 2015, Howard spent his pro career with the Miami Dolphins until his release earlier this offseason. From 2018-2022, he earned four Pro Bowls and a pair of All-Pro designations. However, he had a bit of a decline in 2023, and his production no longer matched his salary.

Howard is just 30, so he should still have ample gas in the tank. The one hurdle that could prevent the Jaguars from signing him is that his salary demands may still be too high. Once he realizes he won't get another big payday, he should quickly find a team.

Adoree' Jackson

If the Jaguars aren't willing to meet Xavin Howard's asking price, they could then turn their attention to Adoree' Jackson, a more affordable offer. Jackson has never been in the same echelon as Howard but he's as reliable as they come. He's missed 15 games the past three years but health shouldn't be a serious concern.

Jackson could provide valuable depth and step up in case either Ronald Darby gets injured or Tyson Campbell underperforms.

Steven Nelson

Another option if the Jaguars aren't thrilled about Adoree' Jackson is Steven Nelson. A well-traveled veteran, Nelson has played in a myriad of schemes throughout his career. He logged four interceptions in 2023 but totaled just five the four seasons prior. Still, he would be able to step up if needed.

At 32, Nelson may be better suited for a reserve role at this stage of his career, and if he's willing to take it in Jacksonville, he would be a great addition.

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