Last year, it was Sammy Knight. Pierson Prioleau (pictured) is this year's candidate.
The Jaguars signed Prioleau recently to provide insurance at the strong safety position, much as they signed Knight off "the street" last summer. Soon after Knight signed, Gerald Sensabaugh sustained a season-ending shoulder injury and Knight was thrust into the starting lineup. He played well enough to earn a handsome free-agent contract with the Giants.
Prioleau is a nine-year veteran who spent much of that time "married" to new Jaguars defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. The two were together in Buffalo when Williams was the Bills' head coach, and then Williams brought Prioleau to Washington when Williams became the Redskins' defensive coordinator.
"I've been with Gregg for six-plus years in my career. We played a lot of '46' (defense) in Buffalo and then a lot of 3-4 stuff in Washington. Here he's incorporating a lot of other variables. He's not going to run the same defense everywhere he goes," Prioleau said.
Strong safety is one of the few unsettled positions on the Jaguars roster. Sensabaugh is attempting to make a comeback from double-labrum surgery. Cornerback Brian Williams, of course, has played safety and could make the move quickly and comfortably. Prioleau is a solid insurance policy.
He's a thinking man's veteran. Williams trusts Prioleau to be the kind of safety who will get everyone into the right positions. Prioleau is a security blanket for a coach who will be introducing new wrinkles to the Jaguars defense.
"The defense is going to be similar to what you've seen here. They play great defense here. He's not here to change that. He can add a lot of what he knows of the game to this defense," Prioleau said.
Prioleau has been somewhat of a coach on the field for young safeties in recent years. He helped ease LaRon Landry through his rookie season last year.
"A big part of playing the game is knowing how to play the game," Prioleau said. "I love the game. I'd just like to come in with experience and knowledge, help guys along and do whatever the coaches ask me to do."
What if he had to be more than an insurance policy? What if he was thrust into the lineup, as Knight was?
"I feel if they call on me to be that guy, I can play the position. I accept the challenge to want to play special teams because I've been part of special teams for nine years," he said. "Everybody wants to be able to start because that's the way you're going to contribute the most."
Prioleau is coming off his "ACL year." He tore his ACL on the opening kickoff to the 2006 season, after having won the starting safety job from high-priced free-agent acquisition Adam Archuleta.
"I played the whole (2007) season but I wasn't nearly as strong as I was the year before," he said.
In OTA practices, which begin on Tuesday, Prioleau will test his knee and determine how much life is left in it. His is a career that began in San Francisco when Steve Young and Jerry Rice were still stars.
"It's been a fun ride but it's not over yet," Prioleau said.