He won’t be the most hyped or the most expensive signing in free agency, but Jacksonville corner Aaron Colvin will probably wind up being one of the very best investments. Some lucky team will be getting a player who’s on the verge of stardom.
Colvin was on the field for only 50 snaps a game this past season, but that’s because the two corners ahead of him – Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye – were named to the All-Pro team. So while the former Oklahoma star had to play third fiddle in Jacksonville, he wouldn’t be taking a back seat to anyone in Green Bay. Colvin is bigger and more reliable than Damarious Randall and he’s quicker and more versatile than Kevin King.
Colvin lined up in the slot on over 80% of his snaps last season with the Jaguars, and he was very good. While not blessed with eye-popping athletic ability, the 26-year-old plays a lot faster than he times (low 4.5s) thanks to superb instincts, anticipation and route recognition. He can also flip his hips and run vertically.
These traits can clearly be seen in the videos below. In the first, Colvin (#22) – working in the slot – reads the play, reacts quickly and brings down dynamic All-Pro Antonio Brown after only a 4-yard gain. In the second, Colvin – this time lined up outside – has no trouble keeping up with speedy Donte Moncrief on a go route.
Colvin, who’d bring much-needed personality to the Green Bay defense, is also a solid tackler. He’s far from the biggest corner in the league (6-0, 193), but he doesn’t shy away from contact. In the first video below, he meets Le’Veon Bell in the hole and stops the 225-pounder in his tracks. In the second video, Colvin corrals massive Martavis Bryant in the open field. I saw these kinds of tackles over and over on tape.
The biggest knock on Colvin – besides the mistaken belief that he can only play in the slot – is his inability to create turnovers. He’s managed only one interception in 51 career games. That came two weeks ago in the wild card win over Buffalo (see below). On the other hand, he does make impact plays. In his one season as a fulltime starter (2015), the Tennessee native had 11 passes defensed and four sacks.
In many ways, Colvin reminds me of Casey Hayward, the former Packer and current Charger who’ll be playing in his second consecutive Pro Bowl on Sunday. He won’t come cheap, but he shouldn’t be as expensive as more heralded corners Trumaine Johnson (Rams), Malcolm Butler (Patriots) and Rashaan Melvin (Colts). And based on film study, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he winds up outplaying all of them.