Jags’ secondary among the most improved, per PFF

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Despite the revolving door at the quarterback position, there was an even greater problem that led to Jacksonville’s league-worst 1-15 season in 2020: a defense that ranked second to last in the league in yards allowed. Though its run defense was the worst offender (ranking 30th), the passing defense didn’t fare much better, finishing 27th in the NFL.

Entering this offseason, addressing the secondary was one of the top priorities outside of selecting former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence first overall. In that regard, general manager Trent Baalke and coach Urban Meyer can say, “mission accomplished.” According to Pro Football Focus, Jacksonville’s secondary is among the four most improved this offseason.

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The biggest addition was cornerback Shaquill Griffin from the Seattle Seahawks, who signed a three-year, $44.5 million deal. The Jags also added safety Rayshawn Jenkins from the Los Angeles Chargers. Both should start at their respective positions in 2021, and Jacksonville added even more potential starting options in the draft.

The team used its second-round pick (which led off the round at 33rd overall) to select Georgia cornerback Tyson Campbell, a pick many analysts felt was a reach but Meyer said was made due to Campbell’s versatility. He will likely battle with 2020 first-round pick CJ Henderson for a starting spot on the outside, but given Meyer’s comments, it seems very likely he’ll start his career in the nickel.

With the first pick in the third round at 65th overall, the Jaguars addressed secondary again by taking Syracuse safety Andre Cisco, a player whose college career was limited to 24 games due to injuries. But they were an impressive 24 games, as he totaled 13 interceptions and broke up 14 passes.

Jenkins, who amassed 58 tackles and two picks in 2020 with the Chargers, was signed to start at strong safety. Though Jacksonville still has 2020’s free safety starter on the roster in Jarrod Wilson, a strong camp from Cisco could be enough to take over the starting job.

The Jaguars’ secondary will be one of the youngest in the league, with its “veterans” in Jenkins and Griffin being 27 and 25, respectively. But with all the investment that’s been made in the unit since Meyer and Baalke arrived, it could be one of the league’s best in a short span.