Jags line up potential replacements for Henderson, Robinson

NFL

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP)The Jacksonville Jaguars used the second night of the NFL draft to line up potential replacements for two starters.

They selected Georgia cornerback Tyson Campbell with the first pick in the second round (No. 33 overall) and then added Stanford offensive tackle Walker Little with the 45th choice.

Grabbing Campbell so early raised questions about the team’s confidence in CJ Henderson, the ninth overall pick in 2020 who missed eight games as a rookie and was inconsistent when he was on the field.

Little is expected to be groomed to replace up-and-down left tackle Cam Robinson, who recently signed a one-year franchise tag worth $13.75 million in 2021. Robinson was ranked as one of the league’s least effective pass-blockers last year.

Little played one game in 2019 before tearing a ligament in his left knee. He opted out of last season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

”Just trying to be at my peak and step in as soon as I can,” Little said. ”I have no concerns about playing again.”

Campbell and Little add to Jacksonville’s draft haul that includes two former Clemson stars: quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne. Both were formally introduced Friday.

Jacksonville has one more pick Friday: No. 65 (top of third round). Safety, defensive tackle and pass rusher are other areas of need.

Campbell has played exclusively at cornerback, but said he would be willing to do anything to get on the field as a rookie.

”I’m versatile and I could learn a new position,” Campbell said. ”I trust my feet, trust my hips. I feel like I can run with anybody.”

The Jaguars gave Henderson a four-year, $20.5 million deal that’s fully guaranteed. They also signed Shaquill Griffin to a three-year contract worth $40 million in free agency last month, a deal that included $29 million guaranteed.

Under the NFL’s rookie slotting system, Campbell is slated to earn sign a four-year contract worth a little more than $9 million.

So that’s about $70 million committed to three cornerbacks, a head-scratching decision even though arguments could be made that NFL teams play five or more defensive back about 60% of the time.

The 6-foot-1, 193-pound Campbell led Georgia with five pass breakups in 10 starts last season. He also had 29 tackles, including 2+ for loss, and an interception.

The Jaguars had their worst defense in franchise history last season, setting team records for points and yards allowed. They ranked 31st in the league in total defense and scoring.

Coach Urban Meyer hired longtime defensive line coach Joe Cullen as his coordinator and tasked him with switching to a 3-4 scheme and getting the most out of defenders like Josh Allen, K’Lavon Chaisson and Myles Jack.

Meyer and general manager Trent Baalke took significant steps to address the defense in free agency, signing Griffin, safety Rayshawn Jenkins and defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris to contracts totaling nearly $100 million. They also traded for defensive tackle Malcom Brown.

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