With the Jaguars sitting at home to watch the Super Bowl in two weeks, we’re left wondering just how far away the team is from participating in the big game.
It was three short years ago that the Jacksonville Jaguars finished with just 2 wins and found themselves with the second overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. General manager Gene Smith was fired after he systematically destroyed the Jacksonville depth chart, putting together arguably the least talented roster in the history of the NFL.
Consequently, owner Shad Khan took a patient approach when he hired current general manager David Caldwell. He knew it would take multiple years to turnover the roster and build a good team the right way – through the draft.
Now heading into the team’s 4th season under David Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley, the Jaguars need to take a monumental step towards becoming real contenders.
How far away are the Jaguars from being Super Bowl contenders? Well, the offense is certainly coming along with plenty of young talent, but the defense needs to make enormous strides at every level.
The blog-squad over at ESPN recently categorized all 32 teams into tiers based on how close they are from being Super Bowl contenders, 10 being the closest and 1 being the farthest. Mike DiRocco, understandable, put the Jaguars fairly low:
"3: Talent, depth neededJacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars have won just 12 games the past three seasons, and they have a lot of work to do on defense. However, they appear to have found their franchise quarterback in Blake Bortles and that’s the No. 1 criteria for reaching a Super Bowl. Plus, they’ve got playmakers on offense in pass-catchers Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas. Until the Jaguars make strides on defense, however, they won’t be a playoff team. — Mike DiRocco"
Not exactly the most shocking analysis here as it’s become painfully obvious the Jaguars need to add pieces on defense. With copious amounts of cap space and the 5th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, there’s no excuse if the Jaguars don’t add at least 3 or 4 new starters on the defensive side of the ball. Recent developments in the playoffs have further highlighted just how important it is to have effective and disruptive pass rushers (Tom Brady knows all too well).
It’s naively optimistic to think the Jaguars can push for the Super Bowl next year, but a winning record is more than reasonable.