Jags Must Explore All Options at Safety

With a secondary a year ago that allowed big play after big play the Jaguars know they must find more talent at the safety position. They are exploring every option in the draft and free agency.

The Jaguars had a revolving door at the safety position early in the season.

They decided Reggie Nelson, a former first round choice, was no longer the answer and traded him to Cincinnati.

But finding the answer at safety was no easy task for the team last season. The Jaguars started five different combinations at safety in the first seven games as they tried to find some answers.

Consider the cases of strong safety Anthony Smith, who started the opener at free safety, was inactive the next two games, started the following two games and then was traded.

And then there's the case of free safety Gerald Alexander, who was released at the end of training camp. But after not being on the roster for the first three games, he was re-signed and started the next three games and then was waived again.

Then there was Sean Considine, who started the first three games at free safety and then only started two more the rest of the season although he was slowed by a hamstring injury.

Then there was Courtney Greene, who started the second and third game at strong safety but not the first, fourth and fifth. He then was put back into the lineup for the sixth game and started the rest of the year except for missing two late in the year with a shoulder injury.

Then there's Don Carey, who was inactive for the first game, inserted into the starting lineup in the seventh game and started the rest of the year.

They at least had some continuity at the position with Greene and Carey starting the second half of the season, but the safety spot remained a major problem all year.

While Greene has potential, he is still learning and Carey is more ideally suited to be a cornerback than a safety.

Along with the lack of pass rush, the play at safety was a major reason why the Jaguars ranked 28th in pass defense last year.

"We had so many explosive plays allowed last year it is alarming and it is something we're going to have to give a lot of attention to and we're going to have to fix," coach Jack Del Rio said.

The Jaguars were planning to try to sign a safety in free agency and they brought in Bob Sanders for a visit after he was cut by the Colts, but Sanders opted to sign with San Diego.

And now with free agency on hold because of the lockout, they're going to have to find a safety in the draft, but it is not a vintage year for safeties. And they have other priorities.

They may have to wait for the middle rounds to get a safety and one they are giving a lot of attention to is Marcus Gilchrist of Clemson.

He fits the profile of the kind of player that general manager Gene Smith likes. He is smart and a vocal leader even though at 5-10, he doesn't have the ideal height for a safety.

Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker had dinner with Gilchrist, a sign the Jaguars are interested in him.

They are looking at the safeties carefully because they know they need to find one in this draft.

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