There is one third year player on the Jaguars’ defense that seems ready to step into the national spotlight.
1) Demetrius McCray- A former 7th round pick out of Appalachian State is poised to be one of the top corners in football. He has transformed himself from the lowly 210th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft into one of the highest rated corners in all of football. He was the third corner selected by the Jaguars in the 2013 draft, but he has clearly emerged as the best corner on the team. In 2014, he ranked as the 4th best corner in football according to Pro Football Focus. He is the definition of a perfect scheme fit. Gus Bradley’s defense is predicated on having long corners. McCray, standing at 6 foot, has the ability to cover the biggest receivers in the game. He may be the second Jaguars’ defender to ever make the Top 100 list.
There are three second year players on the Jags’ roster that look as if they have the talent and work ethic to make the jump into the Top 100 sooner rather than later.
2) Telvin Smith- Coming out of of college it was clear that Telvin was a talented defender, but weighing in at less than 220 pounds, many organizations passed on him in the early rounds, causing him to slide all the way to the 5th round where the Jags snatched him up quickly. Even after drafting him, the Jaguars still didn't know if he would be able to get on the field because of his weight issues. Needless to say, Smith proved all the critics wrong. He made many impressive plays, showing speed and instincts through out the course of his rookie season. He almost always used proper form when making a tackle, which negated the fact that he is lighter than many of the players he brought down. In his rookie season, he was able to rack up 104 total tackles, a forced fumble, and an interception. He showed that he has what it takes to make a huge impact on this team. If he stays in the weight room and film room, respectively, there is no reason to think that Telvin can't crack the Top 100.
3) Aaron Colvin- Colvin is truly a feel good story. Coming out of Oklahoma last year he was ranked as one of the top corners in the draft. Unfortunately for him he suffered an offseason injury that would sideline him for most of his rookie year. This lead to his draft stock plummeting. The Jaguars were eager to grab one of their top ranked corners, when he fell to them in the 4th round. Colvin was forced to sit out the first 10 games of his career due to his injury. In week 12 he made his highly anticipated professional debut and never looked back. He showed swagger and skill, never flinching when faced with tackling a bigger player or stepping up in coverage. He showed the rare ability to always find the ball and stop it immediately. With most rookies who are coming in late in the season, you hope for them to just not screw up too much. Colvin did not screw up at all, intact he looked highly impressive. He looked like he belonged on the field from his very first play and there is little doubt that he has bright future in this league.
4) Allen Robinson- Robinson was the highest drafted player on this list. He was taken in the second round of the 2014 draft and as a rookie he did not disappoint. He sat out much of the offseason program due to injury, but as soon as he hit the field it was clear that he was special. Standing at 6’3’’ and weighing in at 210, Robinson looks the part. As a rookie he was able to show the ability to snatch the ball out of the air, run crisp routes, and make defenders miss after the catch. At times he looked unstoppable. In 10 games he was able to rack up 548 yards on 48 catches, and reached the end zone twice. His numbers weren't astounding, but he was always impressive and never seemed to make mistakes. He looks like he may be a stand out receiver and could potentially crack the Top 100.
There are several other players that have the talent and work ethic to potentially make the Top 100, but due to other circumstances, are less likely to make it as soon as the four players mentioned above.
Blake Bortles- Blake seems like he is doing all the right things to become a good NFL QB, but he would have to surpass a bunch of good QB’s to make the list, and it just doesn't seem very likely in year 2.
Brandon Linder- Being a guard that plays for the Jaguars pretty much makes it impossible for Linder to make the list, even though he might be the best young player on the team right now.
John Cyprien- Cyprien has shown major play making ability in his first two years, but has lack consistency, likely due to the poor play at the other safety spot. Maybe this is the year that he truly breaks out.
While it is highly unlikely that a Jaguars’ rookie would make the list, there are a couple that might make the list in the coming years.
T.J. Yeldon- It appears that Yeldon will be the day one starter. Gus Bradley has spoken highly of him at every opportunity. Yeldon is big, fast, and shows vision and patience. If he touches the ball 20 times a game, there is no reason to think that he couldn't make the list one year.
Michael Bennett- Despite being drafted in the 6th round, Bennett is a Scheme fit. He will play the same position as Sen’Derrick Marks, the only Jaguar to make the Top 100 in 2014. He is an interior lineman that can use his speed and explosiveness to really get after opposing QB’s.
What do you think? Who will be the next Jag to make the Top 100?
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