Rashean Mathis (Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Despite having what many would consider to be three solid cornerbacks, the Jaguars don’t appear to be satisfied with the current group of personnel in their secondary.
The Jaguars reside in the powerful AFC that features fantastic quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, and Carson Palmer, not to mention the great Peyton Manning, who the team sees twice a year. Having to face explosive passing attacks like those of the Patriots and Colts, among others, it is more than understandable that any AFC team would decide to load up with talent in their secondary to try and compete with those perennial powers.
Brian Williams, Rashean Mathis, and Drayton Florence are all starting caliber corners, and the team has better than $31 million invested in signing bonuses in the those three players.
Even with the wealth of talent they currently have at corner, the Jaguars are still shopping for more players. It was reported by a few sources over the last week and a half that the Jaguars were in the sweepstakes for Atlanta Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who the Falcons are currently shopping around the league. Hall confirmed the reports of Jacksonville’s interest, when he mentioned the Jaguars as one of the teams asking about his services.
It appears as if the Falcons and Raiders have struck a deal in terms of compensation for Hall, but the outspoken corner still must strike an agreement on a new contract before the deal will go through.
"As of right now, we're still at the same stages that I was at with every other team," Hall told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "New York, Washington, Dallas, and Jacksonville. Nothing has been OK'd on my end. Unless they agreed to something that I don't know about, but I don't think no team is going to sign me without talking to me and getting everything right on my end."
The Jaguars seem to have an infatuation with the cornerback position as of late. To strongly consider trading away what would likely be a first-round pick for DeAngelo Hall, or a series of picks for the talented, yet often malcontented player, and then giving him a new deal in the range of what former Patriots, now Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel seems a little unorthodox for a team like Jacksonville, which already has so much of their salary cap tied up in one position.
Aside from Hall, the Jaguars have taken a proactive approach with scouting some of the top-ranked corners in this year’s draft. Jacksonville was one of the teams that were in attendance at Troy State’s Pro Day, which featured Leodis McKelvin, who is likely to be the first or second corner taken in next month’s draft. The team also sent representatives to Tampa to watch the University of South Florida’s Pro Day which featured cornerback Mike Jenkins. The Jaguars also showed interest in Tennessee State cornerback Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, as well as the University of Arizona’s talented cornerback Antoine Cason. Each of these players has kick return abilities to go along with their fantastic cover skills, but it’s likely that Cason may be the only player available at the Jaguars 26th pick in the first round.
Antoine Cason reacts after making a big play.
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
With the Jaguars spending valuable resources and time scouting seemingly each available cornerback both in the draft and on current NFL rosters, it is more than possible a move could be made in their secondary. It has been speculated upon for months that Brian Williams could move from cornerback to safety, being that the Jaguars have a perceived need at the position with Gerald Sensabaugh missing 14 games in 2007 with shoulder surgery. Although Williams played some free safety when he was in Minnesota, it doesn’t appear as if he has the size to play strong safety, and if he were to bulk up, he could likely lose some of his quickness.
Although neither Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio, nor new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams have endorsed any type of position change for any of the secondary it seems that if the team does indeed pursue another cornerback via free agency, a trade, or most likely early on in the draft, a move of some sort would seem to be feasible for the team to get their most talented players on the field as much as possible.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of JagNation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius NFL Radio, MySpace Sports and Sportsillustrated.com. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.
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