JACKSONVILLE – The timing may be very, very good.
That's part of DeWayne Walker's outlook for the Jaguars' secondary in 2016 – that a talented group for the most part may be entering a very good stage in their careers.
Walker, in his fourth season as the Jaguars' defensive backs coach, joined Jaguars.com LIVE Wednesday. Among the topics were 2016 first-round cornerback Jalen Ramsey, free-agent signees Tashaun Gipson (safety) and Prince Amukamara (corner) and veteran strong safety Johnathan Cyprien.
Walker feels good about the aforementioned players, and said as a whole the Jaguars being a young secondary with a healthy dose of experience should be a productive combination.
"They're not babies anymore," Walker told J.P. Shadrick and John Oehser Wednesday afternoon. "All of these guys have some years under their belts. These guys are pros. They're competitive. They respect the game. It has been fun working with all of these guys from a professional standpoint."
While Ramsey is a rookie, the other front-line players in the secondary – Amukamara, corner Davon House, corner Aaron Colvin, Cyprien and Gipson – all will be entering Seasons 4, 5 or 6.
"They've played a lot of football," Walker said. "It's good to have some experience with young legs. These guys are growing up a little bit. It's been good for our room."
Walker specifically discussed Ramsey, saying the No. 5 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft understands his talent level "but at the same time he's very, very competitive."
"It's a different league, obviously, from college and there are very, very good players in our league," Walker said. "Giving him the time to learn the scheme and the technique part I think is good for him."
Walker said it's evident at first glance why Ramsey was considered perhaps the best prospect in the draft.
"He's just a freak athlete," Walker said. "The last time I've seen an athlete like this was [former University of Miami and Washington Redskins safety] Sean Taylor. They're just freakish in terms of their running and jumping abilities. He has the skill set to be a polished corner along with his IQ and being very competitive."
Walker on Wednesday also discussed:
*Gipson. "He's very talented," Walker said. "He's very explosive and has good ball skills, but the one thing I've been very impressed with is he's a leader. He's taking everything we talk about in our meeting rooms and our classrooms into the locker room. It's good to have a guy who's going to support not only the guys in our room, but who's going to support the coaches and do it the right way." …
*The chemistry among a defensive backs group with three new players – Amukamara, Ramsey and Gipson – expected to play key roles. "When you have good chemistry, when the players are really emulating the coaching, that's when it works," Walker said. "Right now, our chemistry is the best we've had. That would really help. We have good talent. These guys are working their tails off. With the chemistry, that's going to help us a lot this year."
*Gipson's influence on Cyprien."No question he [Gipson] is putting his arms around Cyp already, just sharing some of his experiences," Walker said. "I think that's pretty cool. He [Gipson] HAS had some highs and lows in his career, and I think he's very good for Cyp – just to be able to relate some of those things to him." …
*Amukamara. "One thing that got me very interested in him was his ability to play our style of bump and run," Walker said. "It's a different style of bump and run. A lot of veteran guys have their own style and their way of wanting to do things, so you have to break them and build them back up. The nice thing with him is he understands how we play our bump-and-run technique. I think that will be an advantage for him." …
*Ramsey's ball skills.While Ramsey had three interceptions in college, Walker said he has good hands. "I think he'll get some opportunities, so I'm not as concerned," Walker said. "It's a matter of him being able to make those plays under pressure when balls are thrown to him." …