The Lions Need Some Help In The Secondary, Is Aaron Colvin Someone They May Be Interested In?
According to NFL stats, the Detroit Lions ranked 27th in passing defense for the 2017 season. They gave up 243.2 yards per game through the air and allowed opposing quarterbacks to have a 64.2 completion percentage, which was 23rd in the league. It is not a surprise that the Lions need to make improvements in the secondary, but is there anyone out there that will be helpful and at a good price?
In Jacksonville, Florida, there was a nickel cornerback who showed some potential, is young, and may come at a relatively cheap price after a below average year. Aaron Colvin was the nickel cornerback for the Jaguars as they marched their way to the AFC championship game only to be beaten by the New England Patriots. Soon-to-be head coach Matt Patricia got a good look at Colvin and there is a possibility he may want to bring him in.
If you have never heard of the young cornerback from Oklahoma, do not worry as I have watched five of Colvin’s games from the 2017 season and have prepared an in-depth report.
Name: Aaron Colvin
Position: Nickel CB
DOB: 10-02-1991 (26 years old)
Drafted: 2014 – 4th round – Jacksonville Jaguars
Former Team: Jacksonville Jaguars
Games Played: 48
Games Started: 25
2017- No Injuries
2016- Calf (Week 9), Concussion (Week 12), Ankle (Weeks 16-17 – IR)
2015- Shoulder (Weeks 5-6), Illness (Week 16)
2014 – Knee (Weeks 1-11 – OUT, 12)
2017 – 5 PDs, 1 FR, and 44 tackles
2015 – Career high 16 games, 15 starts, 7 PDs, 1 FF, 4 sacks, and 73 tackles
Career – 166 tackles, 5 sacks, 14 PDs, 1 FF, and 2 FR
Weight: 177 lbs.
40-yard dash: N/A *
10-yard split: N/A *
Arm Length: 31’’
Hand Size: 9 ¼’’
Vertical: N/A *
3 Cone: N/A *
Short Shuttle: N/A *
Broad Jump: N/A *
Bench Press: N/A *
*- Colvin tore his ACL in the Senior Bowl and therefore did not compete at the pro day/combine.
2017- vs HOU 09/10, @ PIT 10/08, @ IND 10/22, @ ARZ 11/26, vs SEA 12/10
Best: Athletic Ability, Man Coverage, Open Field Tackling, Zone Coverage
Worst: Run Support, Blitzing Ability, Ball Skills
Athletic Ability: 4/7
Mental Processing: 3/7
Competitive Toughness: 3/7
Play Speed: 3/7
Play Strength: 3/7
Man Coverage: 4/7
Zone Coverage: 4/7
Ball Skills: 3/7
Line of Scrimmage Skills: 0/7 – not applicable, read below
Run Support: 2/7
Open Field Tackling: 4/7
Colvin is a fourth-year player who played in 16 games while starting five for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017. Under defensive coordinator Todd Wash, the Jaguars ran a 4-3 with a mixture of coverages which included cover 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and man coverage. He has solid size as his height (5113), weight (117), arm length (31″), and hand size (9 1/4″) are all average numbers for a cornerback. Colvin has solid athletic ability due to average quickness, agility, and explosiveness while showing adequate balance.
He is average in off-man coverage due to his ability to recognize the situation both pre and post-snap as he diagnoses the route quickly using solid mental processing. Colvin does a nice job of mirroring quick outs, out and ups, posts, and go routes. He is able to cover faster, smaller receivers and bigger, stronger receivers from both the slot and the outside cornerback position demonstrating solid play strength as he wins his 1 v 1 reps. Colvin makes it difficult for a quarterback to target the receiver and does a good job of staying in phase. He displays good closing speed when finding himself out of phase and when changing direction.
Colvin is solid in zone coverage as he displays the ability to recognize possible route combinations pre-snap, uses average mental processing to diagnose the routes post-snap, is able to drop to a spot and pattern match in zone, and displays solid play strength as he wins his 1 v 1 battles by not allowing any completions in his zone. He does an average job of understanding how to play hook/curl to curl/flats and rallying to underneath completions on third and long. Colvin understands when he is a curl/flat defender to continue sinking and get depth until something shows in his zone and he demonstrates a solid ability to stick his foot in the ground and fly down to make a play.
He has average competitive toughness on passing situations as he consistently competes at a high level, is physically tough in coverage and when tackling, and is mentally tough enough to minimize penalties (only 3 in 2017). Colvin is solid as an open field tackler as is able to get ball carriers down using average form, strength, and technique. His line of scrimmage skills are uncertain as he was not asked to jam wide receivers at the line of scrimmage and mainly played off coverage in both man and zone.
When in off-man coverage, Colvin tends to keep his eyes on the quarterback and loses track of the wide receiver. He needs to match his eyes with his feet as he comes in and out of breaks and he occasionally gets beat at the top of routes due to his pad level being marginal. Colvin can squeeze a little more on slant routes to prevent any yards after catch/force an incompletion. Colvin does not do a good job of communicating crossing routes to his teammates in zone coverage and he doesn’t pass off routes effectively. He doesn’t carry the number two receiver upfield long enough, he often gives the number two receiver a free release, and he keeps his eyes on the quarterback too long when dropping to a spot instead of looking for threats.
Colvin has adequate ball skills due to not being able to get the ball out at the catch point against bigger, stronger receivers and he displays below average ability to track and locate the ball with his back to the QB. He takes poor angles which affect his open field tackling. Colvin has marginal blitz ability as his ability to avoid, shed, and finish is not good at all as he loses every rep and he displays marginal competitive toughness when asked to blitz. He struggles in run support due to marginal mental processing as he does not diagnose the run/blocking scheme pre and post-snap, his decision making is not good as he tends to go around blocks, and he takes poor angles. Colvin struggles when he has to get off a block as he does not display the ability to do so and he demonstrates marginal play strength as he is not functional against the run.
Overall, Colvin is a good role player who has the ability to play in either a zone/man system due to his coverage skills, athletic ability, and open field tackling. His lack of run support, blitz ability, and ball skills will limit him from being a role player you can win because of or a starter you could win in spite of. Colvin has shown some traits that could interest the Lions and given the past performances of the secondary, it would not be the worst option. His contract last year with the Jaguars was a $1.9 million cap hit and as he underperformed this season; it would be very unlikely that he would be asking for anything above $1 million.
The Lions currently have three cornerbacks under contract for the 2018 season, Darius Slay ($5.5 million ~ cap hit), Teez Tabor ($1 million ~ cap hit), and Jamal Agnew ($600k ~ cap hit). They could certainly bring in Colvin for a workout and offer him a contract between Agnew’s and Tabor’s. This would allow them to add a good, young role player for a good price and with a new coaching staff coming in, he could provide more than just depth/competition for the Lions in 2018.