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Boosting the third level


In a very real sense, the Jaguars acquired two more defensive starters Saturday.

Dawan Landry, a strong safety from the Baltimore Ravens, and Drew Coleman – a cornerback from the New York Jets – each signed with the Jaguars Saturday, the latest in a slew of defensive free-agent signings that could signal a revitalization of the Jaguars' defense.

The Jaguars announced the moves Saturday evening.

Landry, as is the case with outside linebacker Clint Session and middle linebacker Paul Posluszny , almost certainly will move quickly into a starting role, and although Coleman was acquired as a third cornerback, Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith said to look at Coleman as a reserve is to miss a reality of the modern NFL.

"In the NFL, you have to have three or four corners to match up, certainly with some of the teams on our schedule, with their personnel packages," Smith said Saturday.

The Jaguars, as members of the AFC South, twice a season must play the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans, pass-oriented offenses that commonly use three- and four-receiver sets.

"It's almost getting to be where you need four," Smith said, laughing. "But certainly you need a third. A third corner is playing right around 50 percent of the time as a starter."


Projection:Likely will start at strong safety but can also play free safety.

Quick look:A six-year veteran, Landry (6-feet-0, 210 pounds) played collegiately at Georgia Tech and was a fifth-round selection in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. He spent his first five NFL seasons in Baltimore, starting 64 of 66 games, including 16 starts each of the last two seasons. He has 387 career tackles, five sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery with nine career interceptions and 34 passes defensed. He had a career-high 111 tackles this past season.

Smith on Landry:"He's close to (Jaguars linebacker) Daryl Smith. We did a lot of work on him coming out, and obviously he's another piece to strengthen our defense. Certainly, he'll help us to do that down the middle. He has been a productive player. He's a smart player, and all three of these guys are professional. It's a fit."


Projection:Likely will play nickel corner.

Quick look:A six-year veteran, Coleman (5-9, 180) played collegiately at Texas Christian and was a fifth-round selection in the 2006 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. He played his first five seasons with the Jets, starting nine of 67 games playing mostly as a nickel corner. He has 93 career tackles with two interceptions, six sacks and six forced fumbles with 18 passes defensed. He also has played extensively on special teams.

Smith on Coleman:"He fits our profile. He's a talented nickel who was the Jets' third corner last year. He had an opportunity to align everywhere. He aligned inside, outside, left side, right side. He's very competitive and he has savvy. He's a guy who certainly has passion for his profession. He has some similarities to a guy we had here a few years ago, Terry Cousins, a savvy, veteran nickel type. When you're playing the nickel, it's a position where you have to process quickly. You're aligned closer to the ball, especially when you get in the red area. Things happen fast. You have to have quick feet, short close and your mind has to work right. He has played on a good defense and as the third corner aligning in a number of different positions, we're happy to have a guy like him to come in with his experience.

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