Tyson Campbell discusses growth as a rookie, vision for team’s future

Campbell said his focus this offseason is improving on all aspects of his game after an impressive rookie season.

It’s hard to evaluate Jacksonville’s 2021 draft class so far. Aside from quarterback Trevor Lawrence, not many of them made much of an impact as rookies. The exception to this is Tyson Campbell, the team’s selection at the top of the second round.

Campbell had some question marks coming out of Georgia, and considering the Jags had used the ninth overall pick on cornerback C.J. Henderson the prior draft, some were critical of the move. However, it has certainly paid off. Henderson was traded to Carolina after just three games, where he has continued to struggle, and Campbell progressed very nicely after being inserted into the starting lineup.

He’s one of the few bright spots this team has moving forward, and he credited both his resolve and his coaches for his steady development throughout the season.

“To begin the season, it was a little bit of growing pains, getting used to the speed of the game and finding myself in the defense,” Campbell said. “But I stuck with it, kept working hard, kept trusting my position coaches, Coach Walton, Coach Joe Danna and just kept pushing, just never gave up and just having faith in God that eventually it’s all coming together for me. When it did, of course, I stayed humble and stayed focused. The main goal is to just get better each and every week and I just took it that way. I took it as a day-by-day mindset just trying to find something to get better at each and every day. (I’m) definitely glad about this win we had yesterday, finishing on the right note, and having some momentum coming into next season. But this offseason, I just want to get better in every aspect whether it be lifting weights and of course working on technique.”

The Jaguars enter a crucial offseason after a 3-14 year awarded them the first-overall pick for the second year in a row. The Urban Meyer experiment proved to be an unmitigated disaster, both on and off the field, and the veteran college coach was fired just 13 games into his Jacksonville tenure.

In replacing Meyer, they must land a coach who can make the right hires to develop the pieces the team already has in place, namely Lawrence, who struggled a bit as a rookie but ended the year with some momentum after his best game of the season in the Week 18 win over Indianapolis.
Campbell said that he has faith in the organization to make the right hire.

Campbell said that he has faith in the organization to make the right hire.

“Just win, that’s about it,” he said when asked what he wants from the next head coach. “Everybody wants to win so everybody has that mindset. We’re going to be in good hands. I trust the management and everyone upstairs to find the perfect coach for this organization, so I have no worries about that.”

Jaguars fans may not be as confident given the team’s 42-119 record since owner Shad Khan bought the franchise in 2012, but it’s interesting insight from one of its top young players, regardless.

Campbell was one of the few bright spots this season, and he seems to be a player the Jaguars can build around. Based on these quotes, it seems as if he’s focused on taking another step forward in his sophomore season.

Jaguars CB Tyson Campbell was the best defensive rookie in Week 12, per Pro Football Focus

Campbell earned a 90.5 grade from PFF, his highest of the season.

For much of the season, the decision to draft Tyson Campbell in the second round looked like it may have been a bit questionable for the Jacksonville Jaguars. After trading C.J. Henderson to Carolina following Week 3, Campbell became a full-time starter on the outside, which came with a bit of a learning curve.

At one point, Campbell was the worst-graded cornerback in the NFL in pass coverage, but he’s seen an impressive turnaround in the second half of the season. He’s played much better over the last month, and he faced his toughest challenge on Sunday when he was the No. 1 corner in place of Shaquill Griffin, who was out with a concussion.

It resulted in the best game of his career.

He earned his first interception to go with three pass breakups, and that gave him the best grade among all defensive rookies in Week 12 with a 90.5 score, per Pro Football Focus.

He had an elite 90.9 coverage grade, easily his best mark of the season, and he proved he can be a very strong option on the outside. Granted, the Falcons are without Calvin Ridley and their top outside receiver target is currently Russell Gage, but it was an impressive performance nonetheless.

The challenge this week in Los Angeles will be even tougher, though, especially if Griffin is unable to go again. Campbell likely won’t draw too many matchup with the NFL’s leading receiver, Cooper Kupp, who mostly plays in the slot, but he will have to face a talented pair of outside receivers in Odell Beckham Jr. and Van Jefferson.

Campbell is beginning to look like the player he was drafted to be. The Jaguars will hope that progress continues down the stretch in what appears to be a lost season.

Tyson Campbell discuses breakout performance against Atlanta

Campbell had his best game as a pro on Sunday playing as the No. 1 corner in place of the injured Shaquill Griffin.

With No. 1 cornerback Shaquill Griffin out for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons, rookie cornerback Tyson Campbell had a big opportunity ahead of him as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ top cornerback.

Campbell, a second-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft, has been starting on the outside since the Jags traded C.J. Henderson to the Carolina Panthers after Week 3, and he’s certainly had a learning curve. At one point, he was Pro Football Focus’ lowest-graded cornerback in the league in coverage.

But he’s played much better in recent weeks, and he had his best game as a pro in the 21-14 loss to Atlanta. He had three pass breakups and an interception while holding No. 1 Atlanta receiver Russell Gage to just six catches for 62 yards and a touchdown while no other pass-catcher reached the 30-yard mark.

Campbell said on Monday that this game was the fruit of his labor on the practice field.

“Like I said, it’s just putting in the work, having faith in myself and my craft, not paying attention to the outside noise and keeping the main thing the main thing,” he said. “I think that’s part of this league. I’m learning that’s going to be ups and downs but it’s how you bounce back from it. That’s what I’ve been doing.”

Jacksonville’s defense has played a lot better in recent weeks, and a major reason for that has been the switch to implement more zone coverages. That has helped a secondary that is still lacking a true shutdown corner.

Campbell said he thinks the team is playing well in zone, though there are, of course, things to tighten up.

“I think we did pretty well but there’s always room for improvement,” he said. “As far as zone coverage, we’ve got to get better at getting to our drops and getting in our zones and making plays. But I think overall we’re improving each week, and that’s all we can ask for. I love the guys, the other 10 guys I go out and play with each week, so we’re just going to keep moving and keep getting better.”

Jacksonville doesn’t have much depth at corner, as Nevin Lawson had to start on the outside in Griffin’s absence. The Jags certainly need their biggest free-agent signing back in the fold sooner rather than later, but Campbell played very well in a big spot on Sunday.

If he continues to come along, he could be one of the players the new regime builds around defensively.

Jags DC Joe Cullen praises CB Tyson Campbell’s development

Cullen said that Campbell “played an excellent game” in the loss to Indianapolis on Sunday.

Jacksonville has certainly put rookie cornerback Tyson Campbell’s feet to the fire this season. After trading cornerback C.J. Henderson ahead of Week 4, Campbell became a starter on the outside. The 2021 second-round pick has had a bit of a learning curve, but he’s beginning to improve as the season has gone on.

He had one of his better games all season in Sunday’s loss to Indianapolis, and Jacksonville defensive coordinator Joe Cullen praised his development on Friday.

“I thought he really played an excellent game,” Cullen said. “He was physical. He had one of the ones Gene mentioned, he had a touchdown-saving tackle. It wasn’t on the real long one, it was like (a) 15-yarder, it was one of the second runs. He came from his corner position and knifed him down, which some guys in weeks past, that was going the distance. But I think he’s playing tighter in his coverage. Then even the one where Myles (Jack) had the hit on the quarterback, (Colts QB Carson) Wentz made a nice throw, and he just went and tomahawked the ball and that gives a young guy a lot of confidence against a pretty good player. If he can continue to keep developing and he gets better and better … It’s not easy to come in and start in this league as a corner. We had (Ravens CB) Marlon Humphrey, he didn’t start and he’s one of the best corners in the league. He didn’t start as a rookie, moved him around, had to play, started some games, then he played nickel, then he moved back outside.”

This is the “tomahawk” play that Cullen was referring to, where Campbell knocks the ball out of the hands of T.Y. Hilton on what was a good throw from Wentz.

Hilton, who Campbell spent much of the game lined up against, only had one catch for five yards.

This defense has played a lot better in recent weeks, and Campbell’s improvement is a major reason why. He was drafted to potentially replace Henderson on the outside, and though it was shaky at first, he’s settling into that role nicely.

If he continues to play like this, the secondary will feel like much less of a need heading into the offseason.

Jags’ Tyson Campbell expected to be ruled questionable, but still will play vs. Texans

Jags second-round pick Tyson Campbell is expected to play in Houston although the team could rule him questionable on the injury report.

The Jacksonville Jaguars haven’t put out their final injury report for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans, but Urban Meyer revealed that cornerback Tyson Campbell (elf injury) could come back as questionable once it’s revealed. Despite that, Meyer insisted that the rookie will play.

Campbell was a player the Jags drafted 33rd overall in April’s draft to add versatility to the secondary. During training camp, he spent a majority of his time at nickleback, so he could see action there as the starter Sunday. If not, it will likely be second-year player Chris Claybrooks seeing the snaps at the position.

When the Jags’ defense takes the field, they will see some new faces at some key positions for the team, but the most notable will be at quarterback. Instead of starting Deshaun Watson, they will be starting Tyrod Taylor at the position as the former first round pick awaits a trade and his sexual harassment/misconduct lawsuits to be resolved.

According to Pro Football Reference, Taylor is 1-0 against the Jags when starting in the regular season against them. That start came when he was with the Buffalo Bills in 2016. However, that team was more talented than the Texans’ offense with players like Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy aiding him. And while the Texans have respectable receivers in Brandin Cooks, Chris Conley, and Anthony Miller, the Texans may have some issues up front as right tackle Charlie Heck will miss the game. With that being the case, Campbell or Claybrooks could be in a manageable situation Sunday.

5 defensive players to watch in Jags’ preseason game vs. Saints

The Jags’ defense could put the NFL on notice Monday night with many around the nation watching. Here are some players on the unit to keep in mind when they take the field.

Week 2 of the NFL preseason is about to come to an end, but not before the Jacksonville Jaguars and New Orleans Saints take the field for a Monday night battle at Caesars Superdome. Both teams will not only be looking for their first preseason wins in the process, but looking to garner some momentum as regular season football is weeks away.

In their first preseason game against the Cleveland Browns, the Jags’ defense had both some positive and negative takeaways. The most notable one was their stoutness against the run, but at the same time, they struggled mightily against the screen game. The hope is that they will be able to clean that up against the Saints, who are a team with notable threats in the backfield.

From an individual standpoint there are also a variety of players Jags fans will be tuning in to see tonight as the unit has some gelling to do. Here are five players we think will be worth watching as the Jags will once again be taking a national stage this week.

Jags sign second-round selection Tyson Campbell

The Jags have all of their rookies under contract now.

With rookies reporting for camp today, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 2021 draft class is now completely signed. In addition to Travis Etienne putting pen to paper after agreeing to terms, second-round selections Tyson Campbell and Walker Little also signed their rookie deals.

Campbell, 21, was the Jags’ first second-round selection in April’s draft and was the first overall pick of Day 2 of the process (No. 33 overall). The young cornerback attended the University of Georgia and led the Bulldogs in pass breakups last season with five throughout 10 starts. He also registered 29 tackles (2.5 were for loss) and registered a pick during his last season in Athens.

Overall, Campbell left UGA with 86 career tackles, nine pass deflections, and a pick.

At 6-foot-1, 193 pounds, Campbell is a player who the Jags drafted because of their desire for a versatile defensive back. That said, they seemingly liked Campbell as a fit for them as he played safety in high school and is coming from a Georgia program that cross-trains its defensive backs. The Jags will be utilizing a new scheme under new defensive coordinator Joe Cullen, who is coming from a Baltimore Ravens team that moved around their defensive backs.

Per Over the Cap, the total value on Campbell’s contract will be around an estimated total of $9,015,120. His signing bonus is estimated to be around the amount of $3,916,452.

Jags sign second-round selection Tyson Campbell

The Jags have all of their rookies under contract now.

With rookies reporting for camp today, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 2021 draft class is now completely signed. In addition to Travis Etienne putting pen to paper after agreeing to terms, second-round selections Tyson Campbell and Walker Little also signed their rookie deals.

Campbell, 21, was the Jags’ first second-round selection in April’s draft and was the first overall pick of Day 2 of the process (No. 33 overall). The young cornerback attended the University of Georgia and led the Bulldogs in pass breakups last season with five throughout 10 starts. He also registered 29 tackles (2.5 were for loss) and registered a pick during his last season in Athens.

Overall, Campbell left UGA with 86 career tackles, nine pass deflections, and a pick.

At 6-foot-1, 193 pounds, Campbell is a player who the Jags drafted because of their desire for a versatile defensive back. That said, they seemingly liked Campbell as a fit for them as he played safety in high school and is coming from a Georgia program that cross-trains its defensive backs. The Jags will be utilizing a new scheme under new defensive coordinator Joe Cullen, who is coming from a Baltimore Ravens team that moved around their defensive backs.

Per Over the Cap, the total value on Campbell’s contract will be around an estimated total of $9,015,120. His signing bonus is estimated to be around the amount of $3,916,452.

Poll: Who will start opposite Shaquill Griffin in 2021?

Who will win the outside cornerback job between C.J. Henderson and Tyson Campbell?

Jacksonville has at least one bit of certainty in the secondary heading into 2021: free-agent addition Shaquill Griffin. After signing with the Jaguars on a three-year, $40 million deal that pays him like a top-15 corner, he is expected to be a starter this fall.

But who will occupy the cornerback spot on the other side? That’s a question that’s a bit more interesting. Conventional wisdom would say C.J. Henderson, who the Jags took ninth overall in 2020. An injury-limited rookie season was largely unimpressive for Henderson, but the team still hopes he can develop into the top-tier corner it drafted him to be.

However, he won’t reclaim his spot unchallenged after finishing the year on the injured reserve (he’s also recovering from surgery this offseason). With the first pick in the second round in 2021, Jacksonville selected Georgia cornerback Tyson Campbell, who could certainly push Henderson to start.

The Jags have hinted that they may see a future for Campbell at nickel rather than on the outside (and his experience playing safety in high school could help with that transition), but it would be a major change for him. He lined up almost exclusively on the outside at Georgia (where players are crossed-trained under Kirby Smart), and the Jaguars invested a lot in him to try and play him outside of his natural position.

It’s fair to say the selection of Campbell was a bit of an insurance policy on Henderson, though they are far from mutually exclusive players. The team definitely drafted Henderson to replace Jalen Ramsey on the outside, but he probably has more versatility than Campbell and could likely handle a move to the nickel with more ease.

But that’s not where the team expected him to play when it picked him ninth, and most of Henderson’s experience has come on the outside, as well. So, it will certainly be interesting to see who can separate themselves in camp.

Do you think it will be Henderson or Campbell? Or will someone else, such as Tre Herndon or Sidney Jones, surprise everyone and win the job? Let us know in the poll below.

[polldaddy poll=10870129]

Poll: Who will start opposite Shaquill Griffin in 2021?

Who will win the outside cornerback job between C.J. Henderson and Tyson Campbell?

Jacksonville has at least one bit of certainty in the secondary heading into 2021: free-agent addition Shaquill Griffin. After signing with the Jaguars on a three-year, $40 million deal that pays him like a top-15 corner, he is expected to be a starter this fall.

But who will occupy the cornerback spot on the other side? That’s a question that’s a bit more interesting. Conventional wisdom would say C.J. Henderson, who the Jags took ninth overall in 2020. An injury-limited rookie season was largely unimpressive for Henderson, but the team still hopes he can develop into the top-tier corner it drafted him to be.

However, he won’t reclaim his spot unchallenged after finishing the year on the injured reserve (he’s also recovering from surgery this offseason). With the first pick in the second round in 2021, Jacksonville selected Georgia cornerback Tyson Campbell, who could certainly push Henderson to start.

The Jags have hinted that they may see a future for Campbell at nickel rather than on the outside (and his experience playing safety in high school could help with that transition), but it would be a major change for him. He lined up almost exclusively on the outside at Georgia (where players are crossed-trained under Kirby Smart), and the Jaguars invested a lot in him to try and play him outside of his natural position.

It’s fair to say the selection of Campbell was a bit of an insurance policy on Henderson, though they are far from mutually exclusive players. The team definitely drafted Henderson to replace Jalen Ramsey on the outside, but he probably has more versatility than Campbell and could likely handle a move to the nickel with more ease.

But that’s not where the team expected him to play when it picked him ninth, and most of Henderson’s experience has come on the outside, as well. So, it will certainly be interesting to see who can separate themselves in camp.

Do you think it will be Henderson or Campbell? Or will someone else, such as Tre Herndon or Sidney Jones, surprise everyone and win the job? Let us know in the poll below.

[polldaddy poll=10870129]