With the playoffs in full swing, one can’t help but wonder if the Jacksonville Jaguars can make the playoffs next year. When David Caldwell was first hired as general manager, the conservative thinking was he would need three years to restore this roster from the dumpster fire Gene Smith assembled.
Early on in the 2013 season, it seemed as if Caldwell would need a lot more time for a team that looked destined for an 0-16 record. Somehow Head Coach Gus Bradley inspired this team to 4 wins and suddenly the outlook of the team in 2014 looked a lot less bleak.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are still going to need a lot of help, specifically from the 2014 NFL draft, to improve to compete for a playoff spot. Here are some of the spots where the Jaguars can improve on offense this offseason and how.
|Position||Need to Improve?||How? (Round)|
|Running Back||Yes||Draft (2-7)|
|Wide Receiver||Yes||Draft (3-7)|
|Left Guard||Yes||Draft (4-7) or FA|
|Right Guard||Maybe||Draft (UDFA)|
|Center||Yes||Draft (3-7) or FA|
It’s hard to say Marcedes Lewis hasn’t lived up to his potential as a first round pick given his success as an overall tight end, but it definitely feels like he could be more productive in the passing game. He’s been up and down as a receiver, but he has 8 touchdowns in the past two seasons after no touchdowns in 2011. Part of his low usage in his career has to do with the poor right tackle play and another part is the lack of a competent quarterback. He has a chance to return to his 2010 form (10 touchdowns) with a good signal caller next year and he should continue to be a dominant blocker if he’s healthy.
The Jaguars have been looking for an athletic tight end to pair with Lewis for years and they might have found their guy in Clay Harbor. He ended up with 292 yards on 24 receptions this season, but he showed plenty of potential as a move tight end. If he can return to full health in 2014 he should help round out a nice group of weapons for the rookie quarterback the Jaguars select in the draft.
The Jaguars could keep someone like Danny Noble around as the third tight end, but they’ll probably bring in a few guys in undrafted free agency to compete for that last tight end spot.
The Jaguars have no reason to replace Will Ta’ufo’ou at fullback, but they’ll bring in guys to compete in training camp and you never know.
– Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89