Rookie DB Tyson Campbell could be the Jaguars’ secret weapon

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With a full cornerback room, the Jacksonville Jaguars will use second-round rookie Tyson Campbell for his versatility and flexibility. He has all your ideal measurables as a defensive back: 6-foot-1, 4.40 speed, 185 pounds, 2.51 split time and the physicality he gleaned from playing safety in high school. Urban Meyer actually recruited Campbell in high school to attend Ohio State, but he ended up choosing Georgia instead. Campbell is best lined up in press (jam) coverage in man and man-match, allowing him to run vertically with the best receivers lined up from outside and inside of the formation. He can utilize his speed in the blitz game, and he’s a merciless tackler in space.

Last year, the Jaguars secondary played man coverage most of the time, and they plan to do it again this year under new defensive coordinator Joe Cullen.

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Cullen plans on a heavy attack from the defense but also wants to force the quarterback to hold onto the ball using the secondary.

With Campbell as a fifth defender in the secondary, he has the size and speed to cover any receiver on the field. Campbell has the ability to stay hip-for-hip with, and mirror receivers through, their routes. It does not matter where he is lined up on the field; this defensive back is elite at the release and rarely gets put on his heels.

In this video, we see him in every location on the field, and he is not limited when lined up on the inside. Against running back’s from the slot running short routes, he shows physicality when going to the ground. From the slot against Devonta Smith he is stride for stride defending an 8 route. On the outside, he covered Seth Williams (9 route) with elite technique by keeping his arm on the receiver, turning his head inside and tracked the ball down to an incompletion.

With Shaquill Griffin, CJ Henderson, Tre Herndon and Sidney Jones already on the Jaguars roster as corners, until proven, Campbell will be a situational sub-package player from the inside, outside and even sometimes from the Safety position.

“I love the guy … We’re going to dual teach him out of the gate at corner and nickel.. He was a safety in high school and he’s a very physical player, great blitzer. Those are all the qualities of a nickel.” – Urban Meyer.

He has the experience to line up anywhere on the field:

So when we think about the nickel position, it doesn’t necessarily mean only lining up on the inside covering the quick shifty receivers. A nickelback is simply a fifth defender in the secondary who can line up literally anywhere on the field. With the new type of offensive formations, defenses nowadays need a corner with not just size and not just speed, but both, and Campbell has both.

When the Jaguars defense sees 02,12, and 22 personnel, Campbell can be lined up against the tight-end who can motion to anywhere on the field; and he can line up against the X receiver on the outside, motioning inside and even across the line of scrimmage.

Last year against the Florida Gators, All-World tight end Kyle Pitts was lined up on the outside, with Campbell in press-man coverage. He has the ability to stay square for as long as he needs, this allows him to change direction a lot quicker without having to turn his whole body.

Campbell can be used in a 3-4 base defense as a fifth linebacker for run support. He can be an extra player on the defense who is free but has the physical traits of a strong safety.

In the passing game, the Jaguars can use Campbell in zone coverage against concepts from twins where he can use his speed to keep up with X any receiver that is a vertical threat from a weakside. Right now Campbell is the Jaguars fastest defender on the roster who can play from the slot.

In man-match coverage, he sticks with his man and then has the ability to bail and make an impact play elsewhere. Sometimes that would be called a bail technique. If you are an elite defender, as soon as the receiver makes his break, you have a chance to watch the quarterback’s eyes to discern where the play is going to go.

Campbell has the football IQ to funnel the play into his teammates, and that is what makes a good defender. The Jaguars staff clearly sees his upside and believes they can tweak the little things that need work in his game. Campbell only had one interception last year, and once he can start reading the receivers eyes in-route and turn toward the middle of the field to look for the ball, he will disrupt more plays at the catch point. In the short game against the whip route, his closing speed seems to be a little delayed, so once he starts anticipating change of direction at the receivers break, he has the speed and hips to follow.

The Jaguars have the depth at nickel/corner to coach Campbell into the best version of himself. They drafted him for his physicality, athleticism and speed. These are the attributes that the Jaguars need right now to win in their revamped attacking man-coverage style defense.