Jaguars: Cornerbacks

In this series we will look at each position on the Jaguars, determine the talent and needs, and suggest changes. The next position group we are going to analyze is the Jaguars cornerbacks.

The Jaguars pass defense underachieved all year long, and part of the blame certainly has to go to the secondary. This should be a fantastic year for cornerback help in free agency, and if the Jaguars want to spend some of their precious cap money, the talent should be there.

Starters -- LCB Rashean Mathis, RCB Brian Williams. Backups- Terry Cousin, Scott Starks, Aaron Glenn, and Rashod Moulton.

Rashean Mathis had a disappointing 2007 season after earning first team All-Pro honors in 2006, including his first trip to the Pro Bowl. Mathis appeared to be caught "looking" in the backfield too often and was burned repeatedly. Mathis was also a poor tackler last season. Mathis is probably the Jaguars best athlete and needs to return to his form of years past.

    Contract status: Mathis is under contract through 2011.

Brian Williams had a very good 2007 campaign as he was picked on often, and was up to the challenge most of the time. Williams remains a solid tackler and finished 2007 with 3 interceptions, and 8 passes defensed.

    Contract status: Williams is under contract through 2011. His salary for the next two years is $4 million, $5 million in 2010, and $6 million in 2011.

Terry Cousin was the Jaguars starting nickelback, and was one of the weak links in the team's pass defense. Cousin isn't speedy enough to keep up with some of the league's better slot receivers, and missed a lot of tackles throughout the year.

    Contract status: Cousin is an unrestricted free agent.

Scott Starks played well in limited opportunities in 2007, and was mostly a special teams contributor. Starks has the athleticism to be a starter in the NFL, but lacks size at just 5'9", 176 lbs. Starks should have the opportunity to compete for the starting nickel job in 2008.

    Contract status: Starks is under contract through 2008.

Aaron Glenn was signed by the Jaguars at the beginning of the season and was inactive in all but five games. Glenn played fairly well when inserted into the lineup, but has physical limitations due to his age (will be 36 before training camp).

    Contract status: Glenn is an unrestricted free agent.

Rashod Moulton spent 2007 on the Jaguars practice squad, and will have an opportunity to compete for a roster spot in 2008.

    Contract status: Moulton is an exclusive rights free agent.

Are changes necessary? Yes. The Jaguars pass defense was porous in 2007, due equally in part to the lack of a pass rush and the play of the secondary. Terry Cousin can no longer be effective as a nickel corner, and opposing teams targeted him all season. They play in a conference with great passing attacks and need better coverage.

Other free agent options that could be available: Marquand Manuel, Gary Baxter, Jacques Reeves, Travis Fisher, Randall Gay, Asante Samuel, Nnamdi Asomugha, Marcus Trufant, and Drayton Florence.

Who makes sense: Asante Samuel is the most decorated of the free agent corners, but he will be very expensive, and the Jaguars probably don't need to invest $20-25 million in guaranteed money on a cover two corner. Trufant will likely be franchised, as will Asomugha, but either would be immediate upgrades if Wayne Weaver wishes to open up the checkbook. Drayton Florence could be a great pickup at a moderate price.


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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