Jacksonville Jaguars Have a Top 3 Rookie Class
The Jacksonville Jaguars are one of the worst teams in the NFL, as evidenced by their 1-9 record heading into their bye week.
There are countless reasons for the Jaguars inability to put together a string of wins, but the most prominent one is their combination of youth and inexperience. The Jacksonville Jaguars are playing an unprecedented amount of rookies, particularly on offense, and that’s a double-edged sword – while it puts the Jaguars at a disadvantage in the short term, it gives rookies and other young players a chance to shine and develop.
Focusing on the brighter edge of that sword, the Jaguars have had one of the most productive rookie classes in the league. Chris Wesseling over at NFL.com ranked their rookie class at number 3, behind the Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Vikings.
"3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles has regressed over the past month, leading the NFL in interceptions. If he can hone his mechanics as the Jags add talent around him, he still has a chance to become a star. Jacksonville has gotten production from a trio of rookie wide receivers in Allen Robinson, the undrafted Allen Hurns and second-round pick Marqise Lee. Third-round guard Brandon Linder and sixth-round center Luke Bowanko have solidified an offensive line that was a disaster early in the season. Speedy fifth-round linebacker Telvin Smith has already picked up an AFC Defensive Player of the Week award for his performance in the upset victory over the Browns."
Bortles is clearly the headliner in the class and, while I wouldn’t quite say he’s regressed, he definitely hasn’t improved as much as you’d optimistically hope. Still, the Jaguars have received some production out of almost all of their rookies. The Jaguars have 3 of the top 6 or 7 rookie wide receivers in Allen Robinson and Hurns, and they are hoping to get something out of Marqise Lee as he steps into a bigger role with Robinson now on injured reserve.
Wesseling is correct in correlating the improvement along the offensive line with the emergence of Linder and Bowanko. Both guys have been consistent and solid since stepping into the starting role.
The Jaguars only have 1 win, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that they probably found a few long term starters in this year’s rookie class.