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Jacksonville Jaguars Needs: Pre-Draft


Matt Danely
After a disappointing season, Shad Khan extended Gus Bradley in order to keep focus on winning in 2016, and now Bradley can finish installing his system by filling a few important holes in the roster. | Photo Credit: BritViewNFL.com

Jacksonville Jaguars’ Team Needs

In 2015 the Jacksonville Jaguars, despite their record, solidified quite a bit compared to previous seasons. They’ve got their backfield largely taken care of with the addition of Chris Ivory and already having second-year RB T.J. Yeldon (if he can stay healthy). They’ve also added some much needed help in the secondary with the acquisitions of Prince Amukamara and Tashaun Gipson. Their franchise quarterback is set – and progressing very nicely – as well as having a dynamic duo of receivers along with a solid supporting cast of skill position players.

Owner Shad Khan also went a long way in an attempt to quiet any outside noise by re-upping Gus Bradley’s contract before his final year, which eliminates any in-season stress for the vast majority of the 2016 season. Bradley is building through youth, and the Jaguars have a lot of it, but their work isn’t done yet. .

 

EDGE:

Granted, the Jaguars will get a big boost up front after bringing in Malik Jackson in free agency, but the need for a pass rushing defensive end is still very much incomplete at the moment. Dante Fowler Jr., despite being a great talent, is still a bit of an unknown coming back off of season-ending surgery last year. Not that Chris Clemons was immensely productive, but wrapping that up with the additional loss of Andre Branch, and the position not only needs a possible starter to immerge – but it needs quality depth as well.

The Jaguars are in great positon to gain exactly what they’re missing in this area throughout the first few rounds of the draft, which makes this deep defensive draft ever so critical in how they approach it. 

 

Cornerback:

There are a few top-tier talents of which a handful should be available at the No. 5 pick, but Jalen Ramsey (who could also double as the answer at safety) holds quite a gap between himself and the second ranked corner should Ramsey reach them. William Jackson III is widely projected as a first-round talent at the position as well, along this Vernon Hargreaves or Mackensie Alexander.

The addition of Amukamara is somewhat moot as far as “need” at the position, but he does allow them to wait until the second-round to grab one – if Ramsey is off the board – with plenty of talent sure to be there. Solidifying the secondary after the overall performance last season is imperative to the success of the defense moving forward, and will be addressed in some form or fashion without question.

 

Linebacker:

This may be the biggest need on defense and may be one of the biggest needs on the team altogether. Myles Jack has been the consensus pick at No. 5 by virtually every draftnik on the planet over the past several weeks, and it appears that passing up on such a talent could be damning. Telvin Smith certainly stuck his head out as a very real long-term possibility in the linebacking core, and adding Jack would make the defense instantly younger and far better. 

One way or another, the position needs an immediate upgrade, especially considering the age of Paul Posluszny and his becoming more brittle by the game. The edge-setting Otto linebacker is also a position that needs addressed at some point through the draft. A revolving door at this position isn’t ultimately what you’re hoping for with the otto, but it’s a spot in the defense that needs depth and hopefully a future starter if at all possible to take the reins from Jared Odrick in the very near future.

 

Offensive Line:

Their situation along the line could be seen as promising with all of the youth there. However, with very limited depth at the tackles, especially after the loss of Sam Young and release of Zane Beadles), the need for quality line play still definitely exists. Stefen Wisniewski is now gone as well which makes the interior an imperative position of need.

Brandon Linder, the team’s best lineman, and second-year guard A.J. Cann are good options for the first unit next season, but after that it gets pretty bleak with very little cushion. The Jaguars can’t afford any Blake Bortles regression, and with that, adding more talent protecting him is of the utmost importance. There are plenty of first-round talents that they could nab and would be able to come in and contribute immediately, and legitimately battle for a starting role at tackle or guard, however, it’s hard to see that coming to fruition.

Going center and tackle, center and guard, or even guard and tackle at some point in the mid rounds would be helpful – although they may have to resort to a post-draft FA signing or possibly even waiting for UDFA’s at one of these positions.

 

Matt Danely is an NFL Featured Analyst, NEO, Content Editor for Pro Football Spot. Follow Matt: (@MDanely_PFS) on Twitter, Facebook, Fancred and Google.


Carter Wilson likes this
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With the suspension of Colvin for the first quarter of the season, corner becomes an even thinner position group for the Jaguars.  The Jaguars must find at least one quality corner (if not more) to provide depth behind House and Amukamara and determine who will play the nickel role for the first 4 games.  It would also be beneficial to get bigger and more physical at the position, so the Jaguars can finally play the outside press coverage that Bradley likes to use in his base Cover 1 defense.  This defense-heavy draft provides the perfect opportunity to do so.  

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Definitely a fan of Ramsey over an edge defender like Bosa. Both positions are positions of need, but in my mind, getting Fowler back is a bit like having two first-round picks. And he had his injury early, so he has a great chance to come back strong. Also as Carter said, that suspension is big. Ramsey's a good guy too, so I'm certainly a fan.

Also, if Bortles is ever going to climb the ranks of quarterbacks (he made progress last year, but not there yet), he NEEDS offensive line help. Bad.

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Who are the Jaguars' safeties? What is that position looking like right now?

FS (generally plays deep zone in Jags Cover-1 defense):Tashaun Gipson, former Cleveland ballhawk. He's the only guy on the roster currently that can fill the role of FS in Gus Bradley's defense. Has range and athleticism. This position will likely be addressed in the draft. I like Houston-Carson as a late rounder to back up and develop behind Gipson.

SS (generally plays in the box and assists in stuffing the run): Jonathan Cyprien-better against the run than jn coverage, prone to missed tackles. James Sample- Flashed as a rookie but ultimately landed on IR a few gamws into last season, likely challenger at starter against Cyp. Josh Evans-played a bit of both FS and SS last season (like the rest of the safeties) but struggled in coverage, but was slightly better in the box.

Sent from my iPhone using the Pro Football Spot App

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On 4/25/2016 at 8:02 PM, Carter Wilson said:

 

 

 

 

 

 

FS (generally plays deep zone in Jags Cover-1 defense):Tashaun Gipson, former Cleveland ballhawk. He's the only guy on the roster currently that can fill the role of FS in Gus Bradley's defense. Has range and athleticism. This position will likely be addressed in the draft. I like Houston-Carson as a late rounder to back up and develop behind Gipson.

 

 

 

SS (generally plays in the box and assists in stuffing the run): Jonathan Cyprien-better against the run than jn coverage, prone to missed tackles. James Sample- Flashed as a rookie but ultimately landed on IR a few gamws into last season, likely challenger at starter against Cyp. Josh Evans-played a bit of both FS and SS last season (like the rest of the safeties) but struggled in coverage, but was slightly better in the box.

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using the Pro Football Spot App

Do you see the safety spots as needing at least good depth, then?

 

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11 minutes ago, Augustine Harmon said:

Do you see the safety spots as needing at least good depth, then?

 

FS certainly needs additional depth.  Beyond Gipson, they have no quality FS.  The interchangeable approach they took last season didn't work, particularly because none of the safeties they had were very good in coverage.  The Jaguars should be set at SS.  I think Sample and Cyprien are guaranteed to remain on the roster for this season, but I don't think it's likely Cyp will be resigned.  For now, the Jaguars have ample quality and depth at SS, but FS is still a thin position.

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1 hour ago, Carter Wilson said:

FS certainly needs additional depth.  Beyond Gipson, they have no quality FS.  The interchangeable approach they took last season didn't work, particularly because none of the safeties they had were very good in coverage.  The Jaguars should be set at SS.  I think Sample and Cyprien are guaranteed to remain on the roster for this season, but I don't think it's likely Cyp will be resigned.  For now, the Jaguars have ample quality and depth at SS, but FS is still a thin position.

Gotcha. Thanks!

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Well CB is pretty much checked off.  Adding Ramsey leaves the CB position as Ramsey, Amukamara, and House competing for the outside starting jobs with Nick Marshall backing them up and then Colvin as the starting nickel/slot back.  Of course this means that Gratz and McCray are on the fringe of the roster and possibly won't make it through the preseason.

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All of these position groups except for O-line can be checked off post-draft.  The Jags brought in a couple of UDFA OTs and I'm curious to see if either of them make it.  Also, I hope that the Jaguars can find the answer to their quandary at Center with in-house players.  A guy to watch this offseason is Chris Reed, who spent his rookie season on the practice squad.  I'm interested to see if he makes the final roster. 

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