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View from the O-Zone: Colvin on the cusp


JACKSONVILLE – Aaron Colvin wants this challenge. Absolutely.

If that challenge is really difficult … well, let's just say in a little more than a year in the NFL Colvin has become accustomed to "difficult."

(We'll say, too, that all indications are he is up to the challenge – and that indications are that the second-year cornerback may be becoming one of the Jaguars' best young players.)

Colvin's not saying the last part in parenthesis, but he did say Saturday he couldn't be more excited about 2015 training camp. Even if he hadn't said it, you could see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice.

Ready? Yeah, Colvin's ready for camp, for a challenge … for whatever.

"Man, God is good," Colvin said with a smile as he walked from the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields to EverBank Field Saturday.

Here's one reason Colvin's excited, and it's more than just the challenging opportunity he is getting to play two positions in camp and this season:

He's healthy. Really, really healthy. Colvin, remember, missed the first 10 games last season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. He was there because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained at the Senior Bowl that January. After the Jaguars selected him in Round 4 of the 2014 NFL Draft, he spent the offseason rehabilitating. He also spent last season playing with a brace, but you know what?

As of Saturday? No brace.

And that made Colvin real, real happy.

"It's go time," he said. "Today was the semi-first day of not having it. I'm out, so it's go time."

That's a stark contrast to a year ago, when instead of working with teammates on the field he was on the side hoping to play later that season.

"If you would have asked me then, would I be here today (feeling like he's feeling)? … I would have told you, 'Yes,'" he said, then added with a smile: "Deep down, I might not have (believed). It's crazy to see how far I've come."

But while health is a big reason for Colvin's mood these days, it's not the only reason. It may not even be the biggest reason. The biggest may be how the Jaguars are hoping to use Colvin this season, a plan that could be seen coming into focus the last two days.

The Jaguars are working Colvin as an outside corner at times, and other times they're using him at inside corner. The Jaguars aren't getting into specifics about just when Colvin might play inside and outside, but he said the idea of him playing both in the same game has been discussed.

That could mean a scenario in which Colvin starts outside – perhaps opposite newly signed unrestricted free agent Davon House – then moves inside to play nickel with House and Demetrius McCray playing outside corner in passing situations.

That would allow Colvin to play inside, an area where the team believes he is particularly talented for a young player, while getting him on the field on first and second downs.

"It's a challenge," Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said Saturday. "That's hard to play inside and outside, but he's got a pretty good feel for it. I concentrated on him out there in the field on just a couple of reps at nickel and it really comes natural to him."

Bradley said Colvin not only has outside coverage skills, but he can also play zone and blitz as a nickel corner must. When Colvin played nickel late last season, coaches lauded his rare awareness of what was going on in front of him and behind him. That's key for a nickel.

"I think he has those traits," Bradley said. "Going into it he's played, I don't know how many games … four or five games? So that's a challenge for him. If there's a guy that can do it he can do it."

That's high praise for a second-year player. But Colvin has received a lot of praise since joining the Jaguars, and continues to earn it. He showed up on a remarkably consistent basis as a rookie late last season and has the look of a player who could make a significant jump as a second-year player – not only in role but in production.

And if playing outside and inside is difficult, he said that's OK.

"I believe I can be the best at it in the NFL," he said. "I like playing both. I don't want to be limited to play just one thing. Like today, I played four different positions at the cornerback positon. It's a challenge, but it's nothing I can't handle."

If those words read cocky, they didn't sound it. They sounded a lot more like a confident player with an achievable challenge ahead of him, and a player ready …

Well, a player ready for camp, for a challenge … for whatever.

Take a look at the 10 best images from the second day of Jaguars training camp.

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