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Second Year Sixth-Round Corner Is Likely To Beat Out Asante Samuel Jr To Begin Camp

In surprising fashion, Ja'Sir Taylor is expected at the "star" position starter ahead of training camp, instead of Asante Samuel Jr
Ja'Sir Taylor

In surprising fashion, a defined starter is expected at the “star” position starter ahead of training camp. The star position is also known as the slot cornerback role in nickel packages. The announcement was from Daniel Popper, quoting- “The starting star spot will be Taylor’s job to lose in training camp. I expect him to be the starter there this season. And how he progresses in his second season will be a major component in how Staley’s defense fares” Thus, Ja’Sir Taylor is likely to beat out Asante Samuel Jr to begin camp.

Ja’Sir Taylor Expected To Beat Out Asante Samuel Jr For Starting Spot

How Did This Happen?

Ja’Sir Taylor was a sixth-round selection last year out of Wake Forest. He got his opportunity in Week 14 against the Dolphins and played great. With his performance, he gained more snaps throughout the rest of the season, cutting into former second-round selection, Asante Samuel Jr. Beyond one good performance, Taylor showed great ability to tackle, plug gaps in the run game, and blitz – all skills Samuel Jr struggles in. Samuel has a 14.4-yard average depth of tackle vs the run, which is bottom 1% in the league.

Asante Samuel had the game of his life in the AFC Wild Card round, recording three interceptions on Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Many believed that was the end of the conversation of who will be the starter the following season. Instead, that was an exclamation point for Samuel Jr’s case, but definitely not the final outcome.

Going into this offseason, The Chargers kept this battle going. With the injury to former superstar cornerback, J.C. Jackson, the Chargers have both Asante Samuel Jr and Ja’Sir Taylor on the field playing in various roles. But once Jackson returns, only one can be on the field for the starting star position. Thus far throughout the offseason workouts, Ja’Sir Taylor has impressed the coaching staff with his improvement in play and his continued strength as a mature leader.

I go into much more depth on this battle in this article, explaining each player’s skillsets, roles, and general information.

Impact On The Season

The impact is heavily inclined on the health and play of J.C. Jackson. His healing process is playing a major role in the snaps being played in this defense. There is a good chance we will find to see that it will be a game-by-game decision to see who truly starts in that role. For example, if the Chargers are playing the Titans, they are going to want Ja’Sir Taylor out there due to his ability to stop the run. If they are playing the Bills, Asante Samuel should be out there due to his ability to blanket receivers and get turnovers. This is a good problem to have, but of course, you want your best-fitting 11 players out there at all times.

This battle isn’t quite over. There is still the health of J.C. Jackson playing a major role in the snaps being played in this defense. As Popper mentioned, it is only Taylor’s job to lose. This means there is a window of opportunity for Asante Samuel Jr to take his spot as the slot corner. But as for now, Ja’Sir Taylor will man the slot role, and we will see if he has improved his coverage this offseason.

Main Photo: Kirby Lee – USA Today


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