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ESPN proposes Jaguars, Saints trade including Marshon Lattimore

The Jaguars signed veteran Ronald Darby and drafted Jarrian Jones and Deantre Prince to shore up their cornerback room this offseason. Was that enough?

Even after the draft, the cornerback position has been pegged as one of Jacksonville’s biggest needs by NFL analysts, albeit more often from a long-term perspective rather than short-term.

Darby, 30, signed only a two-year deal with the club in March. The projected starter opposite of Darby in 2024, Tyson Campbell, is entering the final year of his rookie contract with the team.

Jones, a nickel projection, and Prince, an outside fit, could certainly develop into playmakers in the Jaguars’ secondary, but it is impossible to know if they will do so now.

Accordingly, the leading proposal among ESPN’s post-draft moves that “should happen” was Jacksonville trading for New Orleans cornerback Marshon Lattimore.

Bill Barnwell, who wrote the article, justified the trade proposal by noting Lattimore’s recently reworked contract, which includes an option bonus structure rather than traditional bonuses, and the Saints’ second-round selection of cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry in the 2024 NFL draft.

The top landing spot for Lattimore certainly looks like Jacksonville, where former Saints assistant Ryan Nielsen is the defensive coordinator. The Jaguars didn’t get great play at corner last season and then cut veteran Darious Williams. They need their corners to play well; they played man coverage at the third highest rate of any team last season. One of the two teams that were in man-to-man defensive looks more often? The Falcons, where Nielsen was in charge of the defense in 2023.

To be fair, the Jaguars have attempted to solve their problems at cornerback already this offseason, but I’m not sure they’ve gotten all the way there. They’ve bought in bulk while attempting to upgrade at corner by signing veteran Ronald Darby and using third- and fifth-round picks on Jarrian Jones and Deantre Prince. Adding Lattimore would be a much more significant upgrade. He has allowed a passer rating below 75.0 in each of the past two seasons while giving up just one touchdown.

Barnwell added that he would be surprised if Lattimore, who is 28 and eyeing a third NFL contract, would net the Saints more than a fourth-round pick in a trade.

Jacksonville secured an additional 2025 fourth-round pick to pair with its own selection in the round by trading down with Minnesota on Day 1 of the 2024 NFL draft.

The Jaguars swapped No. 17 overall with the Vikings for No. 23 overall, where they took wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr., and received a 2024 fifth-round pick (used on return specialist Keilan Robinson) and a 2025 third-round choice in addition to the 2025 fourth-rounder.

A first-round selection by New Orleans in 2017, the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year that season and a four-time Pro Bowler, Lattimore has accumulated 375 tackles including seven for loss, 15 interceptions including two pick-sixes, 86 defended passes and five forced fumbles over 90 career games, each of which he’s started.

Story originally appeared on Jaguars Wire