Shaquill Griffin named a bounce-back candidate by ESPN

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Though the result was a sizable deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, cornerback Shaquill Griffin didn’t have an ideal contract season in 2020 with Seattle. He struggled to stay healthy, and when he was on the field, he wasn’t exactly a shutdown player.

However, Jacksonville believes that last season was an anomaly for Griffin, and as a result, it gave him the biggest contract on the team this offseason. His play in 2021 has only become more crucial with rumors circulating that the Jaguars could be looking to trade former ninth-overall pick C.J. Henderson, who enters into his second year.

The Jags certainly hope Griffin becomes a shutdown corner, and according to ESPN (in collaboration with PFF), he’s the team’s most likely bounce-back candidate in 2021.

What went wrong: Griffin played through nagging injuries for the Seahawks last season and had moments in which he didn’t look like his normal self. Relative to the rest of the league, he wasn’t terrible, but his seven touchdowns allowed and 64.8 coverage grade overall were well below his 2019 standard. Griffin was one of the five highest-graded outside corners in the league that season and ranked first among the group in forced incompletion rate (22.8%). How he fares playing a higher rate of man coverage in Jacksonville will be important. –– PFF

Outlook for 2021: With cornerback CJ Henderson working his way back after a stint on the Jaguars’ reserve/COVID-19 list, Griffin has been the No. 1 corner in camp and has played like it. He already has one interception and nearly had another. Griffin, who signed a three-year, $44.5 million deal with Jacksonville in March, has had good one-on-one reps against Marvin Jones Jr. and DJ Chark Jr. (before Chark’s broken finger) and has frequently been called out as a “winner” in coach Urban Meyer’s winner-loser drills. “I haven’t set any expectations, one day at a time,” Griffin said. — Michael DiRocco

Griffin had a solid debut for the Jags in the preseason, totaling three tackles in the loss to Cleveland. He and Henderson looked like the two best corners in that game, which is a sign that Jacksonville wanted to see.

Some have been skeptical of how much the team invested in Griffin, but as a capable starter in a secondary that was one of the worst in the league last season, he should be a difference-maker in 2021.