Rebuilding the Jacksonville Jaguars is going to be a major youth movement. The veteran leadership on the roster is few and and far between and players like Cecil Shorts III, entering just his third year, will be looked at to show leadership and provide that veteran presence.
Right now, before the draft and college free agency (from which GM Dave Caldwell wants to stock most of the team), the Jaguars’ average age is just 25.7 years old. Of the current 61 players under contract, 26 of them are first or second year players. With the influx of seven drafted players and a few handfulls of college free agents, this team is going to be tremendously young.
The vast majority of these young players aren’t going to make the final 53-man roster but for now they are getting a shot to be with an NFL team, if only for the offseason. The Jags will be focusing on this year’s draft to get them on their feet and begin the foundation laying process for a series of successful years.
Youth movements in the NFL are common, but usually you need to find some veterans who can help lift up the team. T.Y. Hilton was great last year for the Indianapolis Colts but he and Andrew Luck were both helped immensely by having Reggie Wayne playing for them still. The Jaguars have Maurice Jones-Drew, Paul Posluszny, and Jason Babin to provide that mentor/veteran role, but some positions are shockingly slim on veteran presence.
Gus Bradley, as head coach and acting as the glue of the team until players step up, will be invaluable in providing leadership and instilling good approaches to football for the young Jaguars this season. I trust that even with the comparative youth of the Jaguars, the team will come out swinging and develop smoothly with little hiccups despite lacking a lot of veteran talent. That said, there may be some hurdles that come with the youth movement. We Jags fans wanted turnover and we got it. There will be a lot of new faces to go with the new look Jags.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims