The Jags open the preseason against the New England Patriots on Thursday, August 11th. It’ll be on locally in Jacksonville on WTEV, Channel 6 on cable. It’ll be replayed on NFL Network on Friday at 4PM. Scheduling aside, the Jags have many players who have much to prove this preseason, thirty-seven by my account, thirty rookies (including draftees). There will be many names to look for Thursday and here’s a list of players I think are on the bubble and with good play, could make the roster or the practice squad.
There have been a few UDFA’s that have shown flashes of something and there are a few positions that are up for grabs. I’ll start with the guys who’ve shown something. Armon Binns (WR), Greg Ellingson (WR), Jamer Newsome (WR), Dontrelle Inman (WR), Tommy Gallarda (TE), Dajuan Harris (RB), Scott Lutrus (LB), Mike Lockley (LB), Matt Estrada (S), Marc Schiechl (DE).
I listed Binns, Ellingson, Newsome and Inman because there is a very real possibility that one of the three could make the final cut and one, if not both, could make the practice squad. Why? The Jags are unproven at WR and these receivers keep showing up in the reports and usually not in a negative way. Thomas and Hill are most likely locks, Dillard and Shorts are on the next tier, which is a more than likely making it (Dillard just needs to stay healthy). Osgood is there for special teams and most likely won’t count towards the final WR count, but rather a purely ST player. That leaves one spot open. There have been negative reports on Matthews (interspersed with good stuff), Hughes has already been cut, Underwood hasn’t made any noise, good or bad. Hill seems to fill a speed hole, Thomas a crossing route kinda guy, Dillard a short routes with great cuts guy, and Shorts is unknown but seems to be doing very well. The is a spot open and someone has to fill it, so watch the receivers closely in the second half especially.
Other offensive players of note are Gallarda and Harris. Gallarda seems to have done nothing really wrong, he offers good size, decent athleticism and so far in camp has done pretty well as the dump off route (usually for Gabbert). Zach Miller and Marcedes are locks, but Potter is purely a blocker who is working on his receiving ability. Harris is built in the mold of MoJo and Deji; short and stout with quickness and power. What’s not to love?
The defense also has a few glaring holes open to competition. The number five linebacker, the backup safety position and the ever changing defensive end rotation. Scott Lutrus looks to have the upper hand on the battle for the 5th LB spot. He’s got size and speed, had a good showing during the Oklahoma drill, and seems to be playing pretty well so far. Lockley is also doing pretty well. If my eyes didn’t deceive me, Lockley was calling plays during the Sunday Oklahoma practice. He also possesses size and speed. Estrada is a little smaller but has looked pretty good so far, notching mentions in some of the reports for making a few plays. Schiechl is the guy I think has to make the team. He’s looked good so far and offers everything Gene Smith wants, tenacity, production, ability. Larry Hart arrived to camp out of shape and may not make it out of training camp and Schiechl could be that reason. If Schiechl doesn’t make it, look for another team to snatch him up.
This is my list of people to watch for. I excluded this years drafted rookies and veterans already on the team. Later on this preseason I plan on doing a Camp Battle article and a perhaps a Final-53 projection article. Look for those in the future (if no one else beats me to it).