The Jacksonville Jaguars enter the 2020 offseason needing to bolster their roster at several positions. Once the new league year officially begins, star cornerback A.J. Bouye will become a member of the Denver Broncos. Jacksonville agreed to send the cornerback to Denver in exchange for a 2020 fourth-round draft pick. The deal is beneficial to both parties but leaves a big hole in the Jaguars’ defense. Jacksonville will need to add depth to their backend this offseason, and the Jaguars cornerback options are plentiful.
Jacksonville Jaguars Cornerback Options
Option 1: Free Agency
Following the A.J. Bouye trade, Jacksonville is left with only one true veteran on the backend in D.J. Hayden. Adding another strong veteran presence would help not only with production on the field but with the development of the young players. There are several strong players at the cornerback position that Jacksonville could look to add.
Byron Jones is easily the top name at the position on the market. He is a supremely athletic corner who has great length and toughness. The 27-year-old has spent his entire career with the Dallas Cowboys, being named to the Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro in 2018. But with other roster needs, the Cowboys seem content to let Jones walk. However, likely costing around $15M per year, Jones may be out of the Jaguars’ price range.
Chris Harris Jr.
After acquiring A.J. Bouye, it seems like Chris Harris Jr. may be on his way out of Denver. At 31 years old, Harris is not a long-term option but would definitely be a strong short-term option for the Jaguars. Harris is a very versatile player who would immediately bolster Jacksonville’s cornerback room. Given his age, Harris will cost less than Byron Jones would, giving Jacksonville flexibility to add pieces elsewhere as well.
The Jaguars could look to keep it in the division and bring in Bradley Roby who spent 2019 with the Houston Texans. Roby began his career in Denver before signing a 1-year $10M deal with Houston for the 2019 season. Roby is a tier below the top players but boasts plenty of starting experience and has proven to be a more than capable above-average cornerback.
Option 2: Draft
Free agency is not the only option for Jacksonville to add depth. If the team wants to continue its youth movement in the secondary, the Jaguars will likely grab a cornerback in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The Jaguars have two first-round picks in the draft thanks to the trade of Jalen Ramsey. This year’s cornerback class is deep, but three players stand out above the rest.
Okudah is the top cornerback prospect this year and has been touted as the best prospect since aforementioned Jalen Ramsey. His length and athleticism allowed him to dominate at Ohio State and completely lock down receivers. Okudah is a top-5 talent and there is a strong possibility he is off the board before the Jaguars number nine pick. Luckily for Jacksonville, they have plenty of draft capital to use if they want to trade up to land the star corner.
Fulton helped anchor an outstanding defense on LSU‘s way to a national championship. Fulton is a strong outside cornerback who excels in press coverage and has shown good range and ball skills, recording 14 pass break-ups in the 2019 season.
Henderson has seen his stock continue to rise this offseason, and after posting a 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine has worked his way into top 10 consideration. He is a supremely athletic corner who showed great strength in press coverage during his time at Florida. He struggled at times with open-field tackling in college, but his great ball skills, athleticism, and overall talent are why he is a top prospect.
Experience or Potential?
The Jaguars’ cornerback options for the 2020 season are plentiful. The A.J. Bouye trade was made out of necessity due to his contract cost, but it leaves the roster very thin. With only one true veteran in the secondary in D.J. Hayden, the team is very young. Adding another veteran could bring needed stability, but the ability to choose from several strong prospects who will cost less than free agents may be a smarter move.
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