- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Every team hopes it has a player that has a breakout season.
Maybe it’s a rookie or a second-year player. Maybe it’s a veteran who hasn’t been anything special. Maybe it’s someone in a contract season. Sometimes it’s someone that comes out of nowhere.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have several candidates that could have breakout seasons in 2015. This week, I’ll take a look at five players that I believe could do so.
CB Aaron Colvin
Colvin played in only six games, including one start, as a rookie in 2014, and the Jaguars couldn’t be happier with what they saw out of the former Oklahoma standout.
He made 25 tackles, knocked down two passes and returned a fumble for a touchdown. That doesn’t sound like a lot until you consider the fact that Colvin didn’t even begin practicing until Oct. 22 and didn’t make his first appearance in a game until Nov. 23.
That came 10 months after he suffered a torn ACL during Senior Bowl week, an injury that caused him to drop from being a potential second-round pick (Mel Kiper Jr. rated Colvin fourth among corners) to a fourth-round pick. That could turn out to be one of the steals of the draft.
The Jaguars plan to play the 6-foot, 186-pound Colvin at nickel back, which is essentially another starter because the Jaguars started five defensive backs seven times in 2014. He’s an aggressive, physical corner but athletic and speedy enough to handle slot receivers as well as tight ends.
The thing to like most about Colvin is the fact that he makes plays. His two pass breakups in 256 snaps were just one fewer than what starter Demetrius McCray managed in 789 snaps. His fumble recovery went for a 41-yard touchdown that gave the Jaguars a 22-21 fourth-quarter lead over the Giants in a game they would eventually win 25-24.
That was one of three defensive touchdowns the Jaguars scored in 2014. Cornerback Dwayne Gratz and linebacker J.T. Thomas had one each. Gratz played in 15 games and Thomas in 16.
Now that Colvin has had a full offseason to work out, participate in OTAs and minicamp, and continue to learn the defense, the expectations for his second season are pretty high for a player OU coach Bob Stoops called one of the best defensive backs to play for the Sooners in Stoops’ 16 seasons.
If he meets those expectations, he’ll be the defense’s breakout player.