Well, this season’s playoffs hopes are gone and they aren’t coming back until next year. So I’ll do what I’ve done for the last couple of years and provide you with my “expert” break down of the Jaguars roster and where I think the team needs lie. I’ve decided to do the breakdown earlier this year because of how the season has gone. Generally, I do the breakdown in order to focus my attention on the areas that need addressing for the Jaguars. Expect more draft/combine stuff from me going forward.
Remember guys, GM Gene doesn’t draft by need but by value of the player in the position that they are drafted, so there’s no need to talk about that here.
Order of Needs
5. Everything else (DT, LB, S, OG, QB, C, P, LS, K in that order)
Here’s a site you guys can look at to determine the Jags draft spot.http://www.fannation.com/users/view_user_profile/800490 . Just scroll down and look on the left of the screen. He has a SoS article he does every week. Currently he has the Jags drafting 4th. I could get “better” (draft higher) or “worse” (draft lower). I tend to think it’ll probably stay about the same. With that in mind, here’s my break down of the roster.
Methodology – Position, prognosis, draft need on a 1-9 scale, 1 being DIRE NEED, 9 being no way.
QB – Gabbert, McCown, LeFevour
Observations – Gabbert has all of the tools, he just lacks extensive experience. People seem to forget that he just turned 22, came out as a true junior and only had 2 years of starting experience under his belt. We were told when he was drafted that he was a project that needed a year to sit and learn. Its obvious that he needs practice and reps. Increase the talent around him (line and receiver play) and he will get better. I tend to think he’s thinking to much, less than he’s scared. He has the chance to still be something special. McCown will be here next year, maybe. Whoever is the new coach will determine that. If the offensive scheme changes greatly, we could see a change in the veteran backup. LeFevour is a nonfactor. He’ll get a chance to show something to the GM Gene at practice, maybe get himself a practice squad spot.
Prognosis – Gabbert will be given the reigns next year, without question. A veteran will be here, whether its McCown or another veteran that fits the new coaching staff’s offensive style.
Draft need – 6
RB – Jones-Drew, Jennings, Karim, Harris, Murphy
Observations – Well, MoJo is the offense this season and even though he just got paid, they should pay him again. Jennings absence is so glaring that it hurts. Having him back will be huge. Karim has utterly disappointed this year. No kick return wow moments and he loses yards on runs waaaaay to often. His screen passes aren’t bad though. Looks timid. Harris has a chance to really show what he’s got for the remainder of the season, as he was elevated to the 53-man roster by Interim HC Tucker because of how well he has been practicing. He’s in direct competition with Karim. Murphy showed well during the preseason, so we’ll see how he comes back from injury. He’s got a legitimate chance to make the roster.
Prognosis –The run game, which has been good this year, will benefit from Jennings return. The rest of the squad will come from those already on the team.
Draft need – 8
FB – Jones, Owens, Bolen
Observations – Jones is blocking on a Pro Bowl level, after this week, I fully expect MoJo to be #1 in the NFL in yards. If the offense changes to a more spread out offense, Jones could potentially get the axe, as, at this point, he is just a blocker. Owens is a Pro Bowl ST player and provides good occasional RB presence when needed (better than Karim). Bolen could be the heir to Jones if Jones ever gets released.
Prognosis – Great group. No need here.
Draft need – 9
TE – Lewis, Miller, Potter, Onobun, Cloherty, Rucker
Observations – Lewis has really, well, sucked this year. He spent too much time chopping and kicking and too little time catching. Having Gabbert’s lasers thrown at him probably didn’t help either, but I count at least 5 dropped TD’s this year. He needs to refocus, he’s still good though. Miller, the injured man. He needs to get himself healthy and stay that way. He’s shown flashes as a play maker, but again, its injuries. The rest of the guys are fills ins. Potter a blocker, don’t know anything about the other three besides that they are journeymen at best.
Prognosis – Lewis needs to refocus and Miller needs to get healthy, if both come to fruition, this is a strong group, otherwise someone to push Lewis wouldn’t hurt.
Draft need – 5
WR – Thomas, Dillard, Shorts, West, Osgood, Robiskie, Sims-Walker, Zachery, Charly, Price
Observations – Thomas has had a very average season so far, but still he has been the best out there. Dillard is playing pretty well. I’ve always loved his ability and think he’s in for big things now that he is in the starting line-up. Shorts had his first catch this past week and I think his problems generally stem from the competition jump and lack of repetitions. He’s got talent and will probably improve big time down the stretch. West has flashed, but not enough, he’ll be fighting for a roster spot. Osgood is a ST ace, but offers nothing more, he’ll probably stick around, seeing as how much ST suffered when he and Owens were injured. Robiskie did nothing before he landed on IR, so, he’ll have to probe himself. MSW was waived/injured this week, but I think that he could be brought back next year at a veteran minimum. I don’t have any info on Zachery and Charly, though that probably doesn’t matter. The Jags added Taylor Price this past week and the former 3rd round pick had a real chance to make this squad.
Prognosis – This group will get much better with an offseason, without question, but it needs a #1 and a speedster. Thomas, Dillard and Shorts will be the core of the WR group going into the future. Change will come here, through FA and the Draft.
Draft need – 1
OT – Monroe, Britton, Bradfield, Whimper, Baldridge, Haslam
Observations – Here’s a surprise need position. Monroe started off a little shaky, but has been solid all year. Britton has been injured all year, Bradfield filled in admirably during the Steelers game and has a legit shot to make it as the #1 backup. The only thing holding Bradfield back is lack of reps/experience at RT. He’ll battle Haslam for the #1 OT backup spot. Whimper has been a revolving door, he’s gone next year. Baldridge has something you can’t teach, size. He has a chance to compete.
Prognosis – Monroe is playing well. It all hinges on Britton’s health. A back injury is a tough injury to overcome, especially for a big man, so there’s some real worry here. If he’s healthy, this is a strong group next year, stronger than this year. Bradfield could be the next Collier.
Draft need – 3 if Britton is done. 7 if Britton is healthy.
OG – Nwaneri, Rackley, Spitz, Bussey
Observations – Nwaneri has been solid this year and will either be a starting guard or the starting center next year. Rackley started off horribly, but has gotten much better as the season has gone on, he’ll be a starter next year. Spitz has been hurt on and off all year, we’ll see what happens with him, he could be kept around for veteran depth. Bussey is a PS player.
Prognosis – Rackley will start, Nwaneri will start, but it could be at C. A guard will be drafted I think. This group will be better next year.
Draft need – 5
C – Meester, Estes
Observations – Meester has been solid all year and this might be his best year in the last few. Still, though, he is getting older and the Jags need to have an idea as to who is replacing him in the future. Estes has been around for a while, but I think that Nwaneri is replacing him down the line.
Prognosis – Meester is playing well, even at his age. If Estes isn’t the future, Nwaneri is, if Nwaneri stays at G, a C will be drafted.
Draft need – 6
DT – Knighton, Alualu, Collins, Mosley, Douzable, Irvin, Smith
Observations – Knighton is a Pro Bowl caliber player and when he got hurt (for the first time in his football career), the center of the defense suffered. Alualu is a good DT, but has struggled with a knee injury since last year. I tend to think he’ll have a clean up procedure during the offseason in an attempt to get him up to 100%. Collins and Mosley offer good depth as run stuffers and Douzable has the versatility to play all along the line (Mincey-ish). Irvin was decent at Georgia and he’ll have a chance to compete. Smith has been on IR for two years. He was compared to Alualu, so if he could ever become healthy, there’s a chance he could still crack the top 4 DT rotation, there’s also cause for concern that he could be done. Smith’s health could change the draft need. There’s a legitimate drop off behind Alualu and Knighton.
Prognosis – Very, very good group. If the Jags selected another high end DT, I wouldn’t complain. The group needs its Meier (great compliment to Stroud, Henderson).
Draft need – 6
DE – Mincey, Chick, Kampman, Roth, Selvie, Morgan, Lane, Schiechl
Observations – Mincey has exploded this year and deserves a contract extension. He’s pure hard work. Mincey can also switch to DT on pass rush situations, giving him ultimate versatility. Chick was a great PS find and looks to be the DPR the Jaguars have always been looking for, however he went down with a knee injury against the Chargers and we can only hope that it isn’t super serious. Kampman could be done, but his attitude is so good, who knows. Roth was a surprise this year and should have a good chance of making the roster next year. Selvie is a late season acquisition and I haven’t seen much out of him, he could fight for a spot next year. Morgan flashed last year but needs to increase his size in order to offer more versatility. Lane will be in the running for a starting DE spot next year, he showed improvement during the offseason. Schiechl is a small school talent who was placed on IR to protect him (almost certain), that year in an NFL training program should help him compete for a spot next year.
Prognosis – Lots of hard workers here, however, there is no premier pass rusher here. Next year a premier pass rusher could be drafted or found in free agency, but I doubt the latter.
Draft need – 3
LB – Smith, Posluszny, Session, Allen, Bosworth, Lockley, Bentley, Franklin
Prognosis – Smith is awesome, has been for years. His play is even better with competent teammates. Poz has been the MLB missing since Peterson, maybe even better. Session, once he got healthy and started becoming comfortable with the system, made plays. He’s a hitter. Allen is the all-around backup, very average though. Lockley has a chance to improve and end up climbing the backup depth chart. Bosworth is a decent player who can’t stay healthy. Bentley and Frankling are in the running for next year.
Draft need – 5
CB – Mathis, Cox, Middleton, Coleman, Youboty, Rutland, Heath, Trent, Isaac
Observations – Mathis was have his best season in years, but is on IR. Cox really came on this season, but is also on IR. Middleton played well in his stint as a starter, but is also on IR. Youboty was a midseason pickup and has a good game against the Texans. We’ll see how he does down the stretch. Coleman is the starting nickelback and has been great in that role. He has a chance to make next year’s squad. Heath and Rutland are UDFA’s, but the team seems to be high on Rutland, who’s actually gotten some decent PT. Rutland and Youboty struggled vs. the Chargers. Isaac went onto IR and didn’t really show anything. Trent is a nonfactor.
Prognosis – The injuries are a concern, but could end up helping the Jags in the long run. Mathis could have lost his market value after a knee injury, so he could be had for cheaper. The UDFA’s can get extensive PT and basically a tryout for next year’s squad. If either Rutland or Heath step up, the Jaguars could really benefit. However, as the league goes further and further to a passing league, CB’s will always be needed. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jags go after a #1 CB.
Draft need – 3
S – Lowery, Landry, Prosinski, Estrada, Greene, Whitehead
Observations – What a difference a year makes. Landry was brought in and GM Gene made the best move of the offseason and found Lowery for a 5th rounder. The secondary has been great all year. Night and Day from years past. Amazing. Prosinski has played in dime packages as an extra safety and has played on ST and has shown athleticism and decent tackling. He projects to next year’s backup FS. Greene, the team’s original SS is on IR and will probably make the team as a back up next year to Landry. Estrada, a UDFA, has a change to compete for a ST spot next year. Whitehead has physical ability, but has been on IR since he came to the Jaguars. Jags just signed Akwasi Owusu-Ansah to the practice squad. From what I can gather, he is a physical freak but lacks a true position and needs time to develop.
Prognosis – Landry is the starting SS and Lowery the starting FS. Lowery needs to be locked up to a longer term contract. Besides maybe some competition, this is a strong group.
Draft need – 6
ST – Harris, Scobee, Cain
Observations – Scobee has been great this year and deserves a contract. He loves the golf and the community, so I doubt he pulls a Podlesh. He needs to be resigned. Harris has done a pretty good job, screw wasting a draft pick on the position and just keep Harris here. Cain has not messed up yet, so he’ll still be here.
Prognosis – Nothing will change here, with the exception of camp legs or a street free agent to replace Harris.
Draft need – 9