Over half of our plays last year were from the nickel defence, essentially making it our base defence. The nickel corner thus has to be very physical to play the run against normal (1 TE, 2 RB and 2 TE 1 RB formations) formations and quick enough to cover a guy like Davone Bess. With Jones's legal trouble I smell a suspension, one that would be at least a season long if not indefinite. This puts us in a bind, as none of our corners behind him are physically dominate or fit for the nickel position. KirkPatrick is certainly stronger than Jones, but is too lanky to play the slot position. Sliding Newman over wouldn't work either, as he isn't physical enough to play the run or press against a TE. Hall could slide into the nickel position, with KirkPatrick replacing him, but putting the young CB against the offence's best WR seems like a bad idea. Ghee would fit into the nickel position and I question if he would add enough physicality against the run.
A solution could be to play an extra safety when the offence is in a power run formation, like when we would play Jones in the same situation. In doing this, we could take out Maualuga, who is horrendous against the pass and is taken advantage of against better teams. In order to make this work, we would need to bring in a big safety that is quick enough to run with TEs. This would minimize the loss in run support done by taking Maualuga out of the game, in a trade-off for much better pass coverage. The two safetys that fit this bill are Mays and Williams.
We have two safetys after Williams and Nelson that could provide what we need. The first is Iloka and the second is Mays. I see two ways of doing this:
The first would be to move Williams from the SS position to the OLB / Nickel Back position. His primary responsibility would be to cover the TE. Iloka could replace him at SS or FS (with Nelson moving over as well). This would provide us with a physical defender in the box that might be weaker than a LBer, but is better in coverage versus a TE. This package could come out in 3rd and medium yardage, where the offence is in a power run formation, but the yardage tells a pass is coming. This way you could have more speed on the field in a passing situation, but still have the muscle to stop the run in that scenario.
The problems that would occur from trying to do this is that Iloka must play the safety position adequately. He has shown promise, but needs to improve. The second is that we are requiring the rookie to play two positions. This could stunt William's growth as a SS, but it has been done before with Polamalu.
The second way would be to take out Maualuga and replace him with Taylor Mays. Mays would need to improve in coverage and learn a new position, but he is big enough to play the big nickel position, as is Williams.