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2019 NFL Draft: Who meets the Jaguars defensive back thresholds?

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Nov 10, 2018; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans cornerback Justin Layne (2) stands on the field during the first half of a game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Spartan Stadium. Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

On the surface of the roster, defensive back may not seem like an urgent need for the Jaguars.

However, when you look at the depth chart, you see that the team only has three players that started over seven games last season in cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, as well as strong safety Ronnie Harrison. Additionally, the Jaguars could move on from nickel corner DJ Hayden next year and save nearly $2 million in cap space with a pre-6/1 release or save $3.5 million with a post-6/1 release as they see fit. With the recent release of free safety Tashaun Gipson, the Jaguars could be looking for someone in the draft to battle with 4th-year safety Jarrod Wilson to start across from Ronnie Harrison.

When looking at defensive backs that the Jaguars have drafted during general manager Dave Caldwell’s tenure, length is clearly weighted heavily into their selections. Other than Jalen Myrick, a seventh-round selection in 2017 with one of the fastest 40 yard dash times in NFL Combine history, and Aaron Colvin who strictly played nickel cornerback in Jacksonville, every Jaguars cornerback draft pick has measured in at either 5-11 + or with 32+ inch arms, or both. And at safety, the threshold has been 6-0 tall, 31 3/4″+ arms.

The broad jump is another heavy factor. Every cornerback the Jaguars have drafted has tested in the 68th percentile or better among NFL CBs.

Of note, the Jaguars have never drafted a boundary corner with under 32 and 1/8 inch arms. Everyone under has either been a nickel or safety. While these numbers aren’t elite for the respective positions, the Jaguars do seem to prefer defensive backs who run a 3-cone drill (change of direction test) between 6.94 seconds to 7.17 seconds.

Tier 1: Highest athletic threshold match

Juan Thornhill, Safety, Virginia 

While Thornhill can jump through the roof and run a sub 4.5 40, Virginia primarily used him as a linebacker/box safety. You would like to think with that athleticism, formerly playing corner and a background in basketball he could very well rotate with Ronnie Harrison as a box and deep safety.

Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State

A lengthy corner standing at 6’2″, Layne is a former wide receiver who regularly disrupts opponents in man press while displaying his ball skills and ending his 2018 campaign with 15 pass breakups. With all of that said, Layne is not as adept against the run as he is against the pass. Often struggling to get off blocks, Layne rarely gets dirty when ran directly towards.

David Long, CB, Michigan

Although he may not be flashy nor have the size you would like, Long is a pitbull-turned-cornerback. In man-press coverage, Long repeatedly sticks to his receiver like his hands ooze super glue. If you want a steady player who you can throw out there and not worry about, this is your guy.

Jamel Dean, CB, Auburn

A long, lanky brimming with potential thanks to his freak athleticism, Dean is a boom or bust prospect due to the fact that he already has had three knee surgeries due to playing football. Also of note, Dean was only a starter for one year at Auburn. If Dean doesn’t have to play much year one, gets to develop behind say one Jalen Ramsey, he could very well become a solid pro.

Tier 2: Above average athletic threshold match

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Safety, Florida

Elite. That, in every sense of the word, is what Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is at attacking screens and runs into the flat. Gardner-Johnson has played every defensive back position in his time at Florida, which is always a plus.

Even though Gardner-Johnson played nickel for Florida this previous season, the former Gator ended his season with a bang whilst showing what he could be back at safety.

Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson

While Mullen has the size to covet at cornerback, he doesn’t regularly use his size to his advantage. Given his measurables and testing numbers, he will have a shot at being a solid corner in the NFL, but I wouldn’t expect him to be anything more than a complementary corner.

Isaiah Johnson, CB, Houston

Like tall, long-armed corners with ball skills? This draft class is for you! Johnson, albeit a wirey frame, doesn’t often get bullied in 1v1 situations. He’s recorded four interception and 12 defended passes in two years after moving to DB from WR. Johnson’s explosiveness and length are the most common traits that show up on film.

Tier 3: Not a fit athletically

Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

Baker projects as a first round pick this year and could start immediately in the NFL, but he just doesn’t fit in with Jacksonville based on their athletic thresholds. He’s slightly undersized (5-11, 32″ arms), his broad jump (26th percentile) was miserable, and he’s underweight compared to Jacksonville’s boundary cornerbacks. He’s a nickel by size/athleticism if he were to dress in black and teal, but don’t get your hopes up.

Malik Gant, S, Marshall

Gant has a fun highlight reel of big hits, but his testing is a red flag compared to Jacksonville’s history at safety. His average height is hurt by below average arm length, his 3-cone drill ranks in the 2nd (!) percentile among safeties, and his broad jump barely gets into the teens at the 12th percentile. He’s a fun tackler, but doesn’t offer the intangibles to make a difference in coverage. And his length doesn’t help his case at all.

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Film Room

FILM ROOM: Jaguars receiver DJ Chark is building a résumé

Demetrius Harvey

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Sep 8, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark Jr (17) reacts prior to the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Kansas City Chiefs at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Drafted in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Jaguars receiver DJ Chark is growing into the number one receiver the team envisioned.

After recording only 14 receptions for 174 yards during his rookie year, Jaguars receiver DJ Chark is slowly turning into a legitimate go-to receiver for the Jaguars. Only two games into the 2019 season, Chark has already accumulated 11 receptions for 201 yards and two touchdowns.

Hard work and dedication to his craft during the offseason is beginning to pay off.  The young receiver believes his confidence level is growing. “A lot,” Chark told Locked On Jaguars when asked about how much his confidence level has grown. “Just from knowing where to be, when to be there. Knowing the offense. Knowing the routine. All that helped me out a lot.”

Every offseason, while players work on everything, they typically hone in on one specific area. For Chark? “My routes. That’s the biggest thing,” Chark said. “Getting in-and-out of breaks, understanding my playbook, and just tweaking small things in my game.”

While the second-year wide receiver is confident heading into week three, he knows there’s a lot he needs to do to get better. “I think I’ve been doing well, but I haven’t had a perfect game,” Chark said when asked if he was satisfied with his game. “A lot to work on, a lot to get better at. Also we 0-2. A lot we need to work on, so not satisfied, no.”

Typically, it takes about a year for a receiver to truly get into a rhythm as far as the speed of the game, knowing where to be, how to be there, and all of the little things that a receiver needs to understand. Chark has seemingly met at least some of those goals, and while he still has a lot to work on, the first two weeks into the 2019 season has been a fantastic start.

Last week against the Houston Texans, Chark accounted for seven receptions (nine targets) for 55 yards and a touchdown. The two incompletions came on an overthrown ball from rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, and a fantastic pass breakup made by Texans’ cornerback Lonnie Johnson.

Chark has built a close bond with the Minshew. Something he says is due to the “southern swagger.” Minshew was born and raised in Mississippi while Chark was born and raised in Louisianna. “We from the south,” Chark said when asked about the chemistry the two have together. “It just works that way.”

The two will hope to continue growing together as a dynamic duo over the course of the season.

Shortly after the Jaguars loss to the Houston Texans last Sunday, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone was very complimentary of the second-year receiver out of Louisiana State University stating, “I think it’s consistency…He’s a guy that can go in there and make plays and someone that is going to keep getting better and better.”

The team hopes Chark continues to show promise as the season progresses. Having ready-made chemistry with Minshew certainly helps.

Onto the film room:


FILM ROOM:

Thoughts: Probably the best aspect of Chark’s game is his ability to travel from one side of the field to the other effortlessly, and with speed. Chark ran a 4.34 40-yard dash during the combine in 2018, and it shows on the crossing route ran against the Texans last week.

During his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Jaguars offensive coordinator John DeFilippo complimented the receiver on how much work he is putting in running all over the field.

What might seem simple at first glance, Chark does a fantastic job at maintaining inside leverage with the corner while creating separation with his speed. The reception itself illustrates a consistency with his hands — something receiver had not been able to find throughout his football career.

Thoughts: Chark made good on his “southern swagger” connection on Sunday. The Louisiana native breaks on his crossing route and follows Minshew throughout to give the rookie quarterback a clear, and clean opening for a would-be game-tying touchdown. The growth and maturity in his game is obvious.

DeFilippo agrees with Chark’s opinion that his confidence is certainly growing. “He’s running across on the touchdown pass and he points up to the sky like they put it up for me,” DeFilippo said when speaking about Chark on Tuesday.

Once again, Chark uses his hands to haul in a perfectly placed football thrown by his rookie quarterback. With his confidence level rising, as DeFilippo points out, the skies the limit.

Thoughts: Against soft coverage, Chark does a fantastic job at selling the nine-route while transitioning to a stop-route just after the first-down marker. In years past Chark likely either runs the wrong route or is too hesitant at the line to sell a deep route. Now, with a full understanding of the playbook and his position, he can just run freely.

Thoughts: On his most impressive play of the game, Chark shows off his insane body control and hands catching. This is a complete 180 from his play last season when Chark was inconsistent in both areas.

The ball from Minshew comes is a beauty. Perhaps slightly earlier than he’d necessarily like, but the moment Chark turns around to look for the ball and makes a perfect adjustment in the air to make the grab on first-and-ten.

Bonus:

The play Minshew missed on. Depending on the move Chark would have put on Texans’ safety Tashuan Gipson this goes for six.


Chark will hope to continue the path to becoming the Jaguars number one receiver on Thursday when the team plays host to their division rival Tennessee Titans. Chark knows how important this game is coming off of a short week against a division opponent.

“It’s pretty big,” Chark said. “But I’m excited. Quick turnaround from Sunday. It’s football — going out there with my offense. Can’t wait.”

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars Wednesday injury report: Bouye listed as questionable

Brandon Carroll

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Sep 23, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) and corner back A.J. Bouye (21) motion to the crowd during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, the Jacksonville Jaguars released their final injury report before their game on Thursday night against the Tennessee Titans. 

The Jaguars are getting ready to play after an eventful week of reports surrounding the organization. They look to stay grounded and salvage a season that look to be in for a steep decline if they can’t pull out a win in week three. 

Final Week three injury report: 

Observations: 

  • There is a multitude of players back on the field this week after missing time for the Jaguars throughout the first two games. This includes the likes of Cam Robinson, who will be starting at left tackle and Yannick Ngakoue. Backup swing tackle Cedrick Ogbuehi and wide receiver Marquise Lee are also ready to return to the playing field if their number is called. 
  • A.J. Bouye is officially listed as questionable ahead of Thursday nights action. The Jaguars expect to have Bouye back after he missed week two with a hip injury. As he continues to work out the minor kinks and get back into football form, Tre Herndon will prepare to go in case Bouye is once again absent. 
  • Two players that are officially listed as out are first-time Jaguars, Josh Oliver, and D.J. Alexander. Oliver went down in training camp with a hamstring injury and continues to battle with that issue. There is no timetable for when Oliver will be able to return but he would sure help a struggling tight end group. 
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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey will play Thursday, Cam Robinson to start at tackle

Demetrius Harvey

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Jun 14, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle KC McDermott (left) and offensive tackle Cam Robinson (right) hit at the line during mini camp at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone spoke to the media shortly after practice on Wednesday to address injuries and availability for tomorrow. 

Shortly after practice today Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone met with the media and discussed a variety of topics including his relationship with cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Marrone, when asked if Ramsey will be good to go and if he is expected to play tomorrow, said he expects the cornerback to suit up. This follows suit with what Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash stated yesterday at his press conference when he was asked if the superstar cornerback should be expected to play.

The Jaguars head coach said the argument between himself and Ramsey on the sideline is behind them. Marrone went on to tell the media, “Jalen and I have always had a good, open relationship where we’ve always been able to talk. We sat down yesterday we talked about what’s going on as far he and I.”

So, for now, Ramsey will be playing tomorrows’ game against the Tennessee Titans, although the trade looms heavy over the stadium.


As for the players who want to be a part of the organization, the jaguars are getting healthier along the offensive line. Both left tackle Cam Robinson and swing tackle Cedric Ogbuehi will be active tomorrow with Marrone indicating Robinson will start at left tackle.

The right guard starting position is still semi-fluid. Although Marrone said A.J. Cann will continue to start at right guard, the head coach said, “A.J. will be the right guard and wouldn’t be surprised if both Cedric [Ogbuehi] and Will [Richardson] play in the game.”

Both Will Richardson and Cedric Ogbuehi may get some minutes if either Robinson or Cann struggle during tomorrow’s matchup.

Shortly after practice Robinson told Locked On Jaguars, “I’m looking forward to it.” when asked about what it’ll be like getting back out there with his teammates. “I’m anxious and I’m ready to get on the field. It’s been over a year since I played a regular-season game so I’m looking forward to it.”

Robinson will have to get off to a fast tomorrow after playing only six in-game snaps in over a year. When asked about how difficult it is to get thrown back out there, Robinson replied “It’s definitely gonna be rust, that should be expected. No excuse, but still gotta go out and play well.”

While Robinson is ready to get back on the field, and expects a bit of rust his injuries over the past year and recently, a couple of weeks ago, have not hurt his confidence one bit. “I don’t ever lose no confidence,” Robinson said. “Some injuries are just freak injuries. It doesn’t affect my mental at all.”

The Jaguars will be completely healthy along the offensive line against the Titans on Thursday, and they’ll need it as the Titans defensive line has given them problems — especially inside — for a while.

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