Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Jaguars are extremely thin in the secondary and have just five defensive backs currently under contract.
The team purged two large contracts last week by releasing cornerback Aaron Ross and safety Dawan Landry. These moves follow the franchise telling veteran cornerback Rashean Mathis he will not be re-signed (via Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union).
The makeover of the secondary comes at the same time the Jaguars could lose Derek Cox to free agency. The cornerback will most likely be playing with a new team in 2013 if he isn't re-signed quickly.
All of these losses leave the Jaguars needing talent at defensive back. They will add players in the draft and by signing undrafted free agents, but they still have to target some veterans to fill out the roster.
Here are some defensive backs the Jaguars should target who would fit Bradley's scheme:
Antoine Cason, CB - Cason has been drawing a lot of interest (via Adam Caplan of TheSidelineView.com) early in free agency, which may increase his price tag out of the Jaguars' budget. If a bidding war doesn't raise his asking price too much, then he has to be on Jacksonville's radar.
Cason has good size for a cornerback at 6'1", and he uses that size to his advantage in man coverage. He has been very productive since taking over the starting role in 2010. He has eight interceptions and has led the San Diego Chargers in pass defenses each season since becoming a starter. Cason is still young at 26 years old, and could provide years of quality play for the Jaguars.
Greg Toler, CB - Toler is a good player when healthy, but he has had a tough time overcoming the injury bug. He missed the entire 2011 season due to an injury, but he bounced back with a productive year last season. Toler's injury concerns should lower his price tag, but he would be a solid signing for the Jaguars. He is a quick and agile defensive back who has good body control to help him break up passes.
Bradley Fletcher, CB - Fletcher is an affordable option at cornerback who has the upside to develop into a starter. Like Toler, Fletcher has some injury concerns, as he has had two knee surgeries during his four-year career. He would fit perfectly in the Jaguars secondary with his physical style of play. He is a big cornerback at 6'2" and 200 pounds, and he is at his best when he jams receivers off the line of scrimmage. Fletcher wouldn't be an expensive signing, and could be a steal if he overcomes injuries and develops into the player he has the talent to be.
Stevie Brown, S - Brown would be a cheap signing who could pay off hugely on the field. He has played for three different teams over the past three seasons, but the Jaguars could make the fourth team the charm.
He has been slowly developing since the Oakland Raiders drafted him in the seventh-round of the 2010 draft, and he could be poised to have a breakout season. Brown had eight interceptions and 11 pass defenses in 11 starts with the New York Giants last season, which may help draw attention his way. The Jaguars still need to go after him, as he would immediately challenge for a starting role and could develop into a playmaker in the secondary.