With the preseason well under way, we can all now truly reflect on the Jaguars offseason. The Jaguars signed several key players in the free agency period, most notably offensive tackle Andrew Norwell and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. In the draft, the Jaguars drafted several players who will be key contributors in 2018 and beyond.
However, despite these positives, the Jaguars did have two major losses. Cornerback Aaron Colvin and star wide receiver Allen Robinson departed in free agency. The Jaguars are a very talented team and these losses should not deter the success that the Jaguars are destined for in 2018. But, a loss is a loss and if the Jaguars fail to replace these players, the teams winning category could definitely take a hit. The departure of both Colvin and Robinson made me think of a question. Which loss will hurt the Jaguars more? Aaron Colvin or Allen Robinson? First, I must explain what the losses of each players mean, and afterwards I will conclude which loss will hurt more.
35 cornerbacks saw 500 snaps in coverage in the regular and postseason in 2017. Only two can say that they didn't allow a single touchdown! pic.twitter.com/8GTwdbmcmN
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) February 19, 2018
Aaron Colvin was one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. Of course, he didn’t go against the top flight receivers that top cornerbacks usually match up with. This is because Colvin primarily played in the nickel spot. The nickel cornerback is in charge of following the inside receiver of an offense. Usually this is the slot receiver. Colvin allowed 0 touchdowns in 2017 from this position and played his best season of his career in 2017, which coincidentally was the last year of his rookie contract. Colvin was a crucial part of the great defense boasted by Jacksonville in 2017. After failing to re sign with the Jaguars, Colvin signed with the Houston Texans. Losing Colvin is no small thing. The Jaguars signed former Raiders first round pick D.J. Hayden in free agency to replace Colvin.
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At a point in 2015, Allen Robinson was recognized as one of the very best receivers in the NFL. His ability to jump up and snag the ball from defenders was like no other. His 14 touchdowns tied for the league lead in 2015 (Brandon Marshall, Doug Baldwin). By reaching 1,400 receiving yards, he became the first 1,000 yard receiver since Jimmy Smith did it in 2005 (Allen Hurns would go on to hit 1,000 receiving yards that same season as well). Even though his production dipped in 2016 (883 yards, 6 touchdowns), his ability was still there and was in store for a big season in 2017. Unfortunately, Allen Robinson landed awkwardly after catching his first pass in the 2017 season opener against the Houston Texans. Later that day it was confirmed that he tore his ACL and was out for the season. It was a huge blow that changed the dynamic of the Jaguars offense. That catch turned out to be his last as a Jaguar as he signed with the Chicago Bears after failing to sign a new contract with the Jaguars. The Jaguars signed Donte Moncrief in free agency, as well as drafting D.J. Chark in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The Jaguars can hope that either of these two can replace what the Jaguars lost in 2017 and this season as well.
The loss of Aaron Colvin will hurt more.
Losing Colvin is no small deal. Defenses nickel packages are on the field more than they ever have as many offenses stay pass heavy and want to create mismatches for defenses. This has led to the rise of the slot receiver in the past decade and it looks like this offensive strategy won’t stop anytime soon. The nickel cornerback, and in this case, Colvin, were in charge of covering that slot receiver.
Colvin may have not been a full time starter for the Jaguars like Allen Robinson was, but his role is perhaps more valuable than that of Robinson. Robinson is an extremely gifted receiver, however, a player like D.J. Chark can definitely replace him. In the contrary, the Jaguars can only hope that Hayden or even Tyler Patmon can replace Aaron Colvin.
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