Jacksonville Jaguars Team Needs: Draft Wrap Up
Jacksonville Jaguars Team Needs: Draft Wrap Up
By all accounts, the Jacksonville Jaguars absolutely smacked the 2016 NFL Draft out of the park. They got arguably the two best players in the draft in the first and second rounds respectively, and then they went and picked up a pair of talented pass rushers after that. Overall, they focused heavily on defense and addressed a handful of needs overall.
With the offseason additions of Malik Jackson, Yannick Ngakoue, Sheldon Day and Tyrone Holmes, it will be a while before the Jags have a need on the defensive line. They also seem to have gotten their dynamic OTTO and possible eventual replacement at middle linebacker for Paul Posluszny in Myles Jack.
However, we know that the draft does not always solve everything. What do the Jaguars still need to focus on in order to get a complete roster?
1. Figure Out the Offensive Line
Basically, the Jags have about seven players that they need to fit into five starting offensive line roles. Luke Joeckel, Kelvin Beachum, Jermey Parnell and Brandon Linder are their best offensive linemen and therefore the most likely to start, but then there is also A.J. Cann, Mackenzy Burnadeau and Luke Bowanko sitting there likely to plug the fifth starting spot and help fill out the line depth.
While it is easy to figure out who the main cogs in the Jaguars’ line should be, putting them in order is not. Joeckel’s fifth-year option will not be picked up since he has not played up to the standard of a top-five draft pick, so there really is not any loyalty to do anything for him. Beachum is a better left tackle but has more versatility than Joeckel and can play guard. While Beachum is a better left tackle, moving Joeckel could be a total wild card, meaning it may be safest to keep Joeckel at tackle and put Beachum at guard. After losing Stefen Wisniewski in free agency, center is also up in the air. Linder is a better player than Bowanko – Cann might even be as well – and there has been talk this offseason of Linder moving to center, but if Linder moves, there is an open spot at right guard.
The Jaguars’ decision-makers obviously know more than we do right now, but exactly how open is the competition on the offensive line? Will the best five players be starting, or will it come down to best fit?
2. Figure Out the Secondary
The additions of Tashaun Gipson, Prince Amukamara and Jalen Ramsey will help the Jacksonville defense immensely, but between the cornerbacks and safeties as a group, their order is a bit up in the air as well.
This issue is almost certainly to be played out in training camp, but right now it is primarily Ramsey, Davon House, Amukamara, Dwayne Gratz, Aaron Colvin, Demetrius McCray and Nick Marshall battling for position at corner – a position that has been far from an area of strength in recent years. Colvin's four-game suspension to start the season also fails to make things easier.
Gipson likely has one spot locked down at safety, but then there is veteran starter Johnathan Cyprien starting next to Gipson, fending off James Sample. Sample was actually brought in last year to start next to Cyprien, another underwhelming draft pick. Will Sample be given the opportunity to start over Cyprien if he outperforms him in camp? Though they brought him in to compete at free safety last year, Sample is more of a natural strong safety, meaning he could be better for the Jags defense than Cyprien if given the opportunity.
Between the entire secondary, the depth is a good problem to have, but they need to get the right players on the field. Also a plus is that the Jaguars will now have a never-ending supply of defensive linemen coming into the game. With how many quality linemen they have on the roster, who knows how many they will actually carry on the 53-man. However, they should always be fresh and constantly rotating, which will keep them able to rush the passe. It will alleviate the pressure on the secondary and allow them to make plays. This will be especially huge for a ball-hawking defensive back like Gipson.
Jason Myers may have had some nice moments last year as a rookie, but he was also an absolute mess at times.
Overall, he missed 11 kicks – four field goals and seven extra points. Of his missed field goals, one was within 29 yards, so basically another extra point. How you miss more extra point attempts than field goal attempts, I do not know, but Myers has to get it figured out.
He has a good leg, but you cannot have unreliable players on the field. Imagine the Jaguars finally going back to the playoffs in 2016 for the first time in nine years. They are in the first round, playing a hated rival like the Indianapolis Colts, and the Jaguars – down by two points – are lining up to kick what would be the game-winning field goal with 0:02 on the clock and from only 35 yards out. Wide right. Game over. Season over. All because the kicker could not cash in when it mattered most. That would sting, wouldn't it?
While Myers might have legitimate competition from undrafted free agent signee Jaden Oberkrom in camp, Myers is the favorite to win the job still.
Jake Arthur is the AFC South Newsdesk Manager, Assistant Director of NFL Content and a Featured Analyst for Pro Football Spot. He is also a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @JakeArthurPFS on Twitter, as well as on Facebook, Google+ and FanCred.