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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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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith apparently fined by team

Demetrius Harvey

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Dec 2, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars outside linebacker Telvin Smith (50) reacts during the first quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have apparently fined LB Telvin Smith for missing three days of mandatory minicamp. This amount, according to Telvin Smith on Instagram, was for a total of $88,650. Telvin Smith decided to leave the game of football for a year last month and has not shown up to any team activities since the season ended in January.

https://www.instagram.com/stories/telvinsmith50/

Smith stated in his Instagram post “Oh y’all  thght [sic] it was a game!!! You say you wanna sit & get ya life right. . . they say nah […] you pay me!!!” also stating “It’s still love!!”

The Jaguars have every right to fine Smith under the current CBA signed in 2011 regarding mandatory participation in team activities. Smith has not yet informed the Jaguars officially of his intentions for the 2019 season, thus he is still considered a part of the team and on the 90-man roster.

It is not yet known whether or not the team has opted to fine DE Yannick Ngakoue who was also missing from mandatory minicamp last week as he resolves his contract with the team.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

REPORT: Jaguars sign WR Tre McBride and DT Kalani Vakameilao

Demetrius Harvey

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The Jacksonville Jaguars announced today the signings of WR Tre McBride and Rookie DT Kalani Vakameilalo. Both players had a tryout during yesterday’s minicamp practice. They have waived LB Nick DeLuca and LS Christian Kuntz to make room.

McBride has played for the Tennesee Titans, Chicago Bears, and the New York Jets during his time in the NFL. In 2017 he hauled in eight receptions for 144 yards. His lone touchdown came in 2015 with the Tennesee Titans. The Jaguars currently have 12 WRs on the roster including McBride. They will enter training camp for a battle for possibly five or six spots. Currently, it would be a surprise if McBride makes the team.

Vakameilao went undrafted out of Oregon State where he posted 75 tackles, including 13.5 tackles for loss.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars finalize draft class with signing of LB Quincy Williams

Demetrius Harvey

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Photo courtesy of nfldraftdiamonds.com

The Jacksonville Jaguars have officially wrapped up their 2019 NFL Draft class with the signing of third-round pick Quincy Williams the team has announced today. Williams played college football at Murray State as a linebacker and safety and will be playing LB with the Jaguars.

Following the departure of WLB Telvin Smith, the Jaguars needed to find a replacement, and they hope Williams can eventually develop into that role. During OTAs and mandatory minicamp, Williams has taken some first-team reps at LB along with LB Ramik Wilson. The WLB battle will be one to watch during training camp later this summer.

Williams spoke briefly following the signing of his contract stating, “I’ve been dreaming on this and waiting on this moment my whole life,” Williams said. “I’m just here to answer the question of, ‘Who is Quincy Williams?’”

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