Jaguars Draft ’21: Should they add a cornerback at 25?

Caleb Farley #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies celebrates with teammates against the Miami Hurricanes during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium on October 05, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) (Michael Reaves, 2019 Michael Reaves)

As the draft inches closer we continue our look at the positions and players the Jaguars might consider with the 25th pick of the draft.

We’ve looked at the possibility of the team taking a pass rusher.

We’ve looked at the possibility of the team taking a tight end.

We’ve looked at the possibility of the team taking a safety.

We’ve looked at the possibility of the team taking a wide receiver.

We’ve looked at the possibility of the team taking an interior defensive lineman.

Now, it’s time for cornerbacks.

The Jaguars’ splash signing during free agency this year was Shaquill Griffin. The former Seahawks corner is expected to pair with last year’s first-round pick C.J. Henderson and give the Jaguars a pair of young lockdown corners to build with over the next couple of years.

So, why would the Jaguars consider using the 25th pick to add another cornerback?

That’s simple.

To compete in the NFL now, you need at least three solid cornerbacks. Teams spend more time in their nickel defense (five defensive backs) than they do in a base package (4-3 or 3-4). Last year, D.J Hayden and Tre Herndon both spent time playing the nickel role for the Jaguars. Neither Hayden nor Herndon excelled in that role.

If the season started today, then Herndon would most likely be the Jaguars slot corner. That’s a solid option, but the position could use an upgrade. If the team opts to fill that opening with a player in the draft at No. 25, here are a few names they could consider.

Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech

If you follow the draft closely or have been looking at mocks over the past few months, you’re probably thinking I’m crazy for mentioning Farley’s name in a conversation about the 25th pick.

Well, it is a bit of a dream. But Farley’s stock is dropping because of a recent back procedure that he had that caused him to miss Virginia Tech’s Pro Day. Farley is one of the top players in this year’s draft class and has the size and speed combination that teams love to have at corner. Farley was a high school quarterback and has only been playing cornerback for a few years, so he likely isn’t playing his best football yet.

If Farley falls all the way to 25, the trio of Farley, Griffin and Henderson would give the Jaguars one of the most talented young secondaries in the NFL.

Greg Newsome II, Northwestern

Another name the Jaguars could consider is Newsome II. The former Northwestern cornerback makes playing the position just look easy. He has the speed and quickness to stick with any receiver. Newsome has great ball skills and finds a variety of ways to swat passes before they can be caught. He led the Wildcats in pass breakups over the last two seasons. The knock on Newsome is a lack of experience. He played in only 21 college games with 18 starts. Not a long body of work.

Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State

The last name on the list may sound familiar if you are a Seminoles fan or if you remember his father from his time in the NFL. Samuel stepped out of his father’s shadow and started to make a name for himself with the Seminoles.

Samuel was an impact player his entire time in Tallahassee. In 2020, he led the team with three interceptions and had six pass breakups. At 5-10, 180 pounds, Samuel doesn’t have the size that teams covet in outside corners but his game speaks for itself. The FSU product has great instincts on the field. Samuel will fit in perfectly as a nickel cornerback in the NFL.

About the Author:

Jamal St. Cyr is an award-winning sports anchor who joined the News4Jax sports team in 2019.