Jaguars' hidden treasure: Defensive backs

Examining a position group that could exceed its preseason expectations:

The 2011 Jaguars had a slew of injuries on defense, and the secondary was especially hard hit. Five cornerbacks and five safeties finished the season on IR, and nobody is able to go that deep in one area and survive.

Safety Dawan Landry was the only starter in the group to start all 16 games. The other three starters missed a combined 20 starts.

This time around, if they aren’t decimated by injuries, I expect the Jaguars' secondary to be pretty good. How much better than last season will be determined in large part by whether the pass rush is better. If the coverage isn’t asked to hold up forever, it could be a solid group. Derek Cox is so well regarded at corner that the team will let Rashean Mathis, who’s done great in his comeback from a torn ACL, and veteran addition Aaron Ross slug it out for the spot as the second starter. The guy who doesn’t win will be the nickel. Dwight Lowery, meanwhile, will play alongside Landry at safety for a second season, and they are a duo that is going to be better the second time around.