May 9, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley poses with Blake Bortles (Central Florida) and Jaguars general manager David Caldwell after addressing the media at the Upper West Touchdown Club at EverBank Field a day after being selected as the third overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Jacksonville Jaguars Show Promise in ESPN Future Rankings

The Jacksonville Jaguars have had a very strong offseason, and their positive momentum going into the 2014 season has not gone unnoticed by the national media.

ESPN recently came out with their 2014 NFL Future Power Rankings where they look at  “the franchises best positioned to succeed going forward.” Somewhat surprisingly, the Jacksonville Jaguars finished 23rd, the second highest ranking in the AFC South behind the Indianapolis Colts.

Of course, one of the biggest reasons for their ranking is the confidence people seem to have in general manager David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley.

Jacksonville is changing perceptions under its current leadership. The team jumped seven spots from this past offseason, and it’s clear analysts think the team has the right people in charge. The Jaguars improved 20 spots in the drafting category and 16 spots in the ranking of front office. Those were the largest gains for any team in either category.

Still, the enthusiasm is somewhat tempered by the fact that 3rd overall pick Blake Bortles is essentially going to make or break this era of Jaguar football.

However, a No. 26 ranking at QB suggests there’s not much optimism over Blake Bortles’ future… The questions emerge relating to Bortles’ timeline in taking over from Chad Henne at QB and whether the young weapons — such as WRs Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson and Ace Sanders and explosive RB Storm Johnson — will develop along with him and carry this team into the future. As these young players go, so goes this franchise…

It’s not exactly a stretch to say the success of the franchise hinges on the development of it’s young players, especially when one of those players is expected to become the franchise quarterback. It’s actually a bit confusing to see so much confidence in the front office and coaching staff, but a much more lukewarm feeling towards the talent acquired by those guys.

Regardless, 23rd is a much better ranking than most would have expected from a national site, and that ranking should only go up after the 2014 season.

 

 

– Daniel Lago

 

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