Blake Bortles, Telvin Smith are Breakout Players for 2015


The Jacksonville Jaguars have only won 7 games in the past 2 seasons under general manager David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley, but that doesn’t mean the team is without hope. After dismantling one of the worst rosters in the entire league, Caldwell has managed to stockpile this team with young, promising talent.

As one would expect, the overabundance of youth on the roster has yielded inconsistency and relatively poor production. Still, there have been flashes of brilliance from multiple players. Heading into their second or third years, some of the young players should be ready to take the next step.

Pete Prisco over at CBS Sports recently compiled his own list of breakout players for 2015, and he included two Jaguars heading into their sophomore seasons:

"Jaguars QB Blake Bortles: At times last season, he played with as many as five other rookies on offense. That’s tough on any quarterback, let alone one who’s a rookie himself. The offensive style didn’t help either. But there is a new coordinator and Bortles has spent a ton of time working on his mechanics, which needed fixing. That will lead to more accuracy, but the biggest thing will be his experience, as well as those around him.Jaguars LB Telvin Smith: He made a ton of plays as a 220-pound rookie. Now that he’s heavier — and just as fast — look for more big plays from this speedy linebacker. His ability to cover a lot of ground shows up on tape. With a better understanding of his assignments, he should be able to take it to the next level."

We’ve talked plenty recently about Blake Bortles and all the work he’s done this offseason, and his ability to take the next step has more significance to the future of this franchise than basically any other player in 2015.

Telvin Smith has been under the radar a little bit this offseason, but he quietly put together one of the best stretches of any defensive rookie towards the end of 2014. His ascension into a consistent playmaker could make a massive impact on this defense. Improvement from players like him and Bortles should help push this team’s win total to a respectable level in 2015.

Next: Bortles Already Looking Improved

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