Positive press has been a constant theme for the Jacksonville Jaguars this offseason, and a lot of it has been spearheaded by the 4-letter network. In a continuation of this optimistic coverage, ESPN included 4 Jaguars in their list of breakout players for 2014.The first two guys have been talked about plenty this offseason, and both were actually featured on a similar list by the NFL.com Around the League guys when they did their “Making the Leap” series – safety Johnathan Cyprien and running back Toby Gerhart.
5. Johnathan Cyprien, S, Jacksonville Jaguars. Jaguars coach Gus Bradley was around top safeties when he worked with Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor in Seattle. Cyprien finished his 2013 rookie season on an upswing, and should benefit from personnel upgrades to the front seven.
21. Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars. Gerhart averaged 7.9 yards per carry on 36 attempts last season, and his workload figures to increase after the Jaguars signed him to a deal averaging $3.5 million annually. Gerhart has never rushed for more than 531 yards in a season, and he has less than that during his past two seasons combined.
The other 2 players who made the list haven’t been talked about a lot this offseason despite a solid 2013 campaign from one and a solid pedigree from the other.
25. Sen’Derrick Marks, DT, Jacksonville Jaguars. Marks has made high-impact plays this preseason. Pro Football Focus credited him with 1 QB hit, 2 hurries, 1 forced fumble and 1 run stop during an 11-snap appearance in the preseason opener.
38. Luke Joeckel, T, Jacksonville Jaguars. Joeckel is back from the season-ending ankle injury that forced him to miss 11 games last season, after Jacksonville made him the second pick in the 2013 draft. A breakout season for him would qualify as becoming a solid starter over the course of a full season.
Sen’Derrick Marks had a very good 2013 season, and his play so far in the preseason indicates he’ll be even better in 2014. Joeckel’s impact could be huge considering the upgrade they made next to him at left guard with Zane Beadles, and he should be pretty solid after recovering from his season ending injury last year.
All 4 of these guys are primed for big seasons, and I think they’re all legitimate candidates to make the Pro Bowl. In order for that to happen, the Jaguars need to improve in the win column, and that prospect is looking pretty good so far.
– Daniel Lago