It has been almost ten years since the Jacksonville Jaguars last playoff appearance. As the team enters a win now mode, hope that offseason moves can turn the team into contenders is a reality.
Here are a few needs that could help the Jaguars fulfill that hope this offseason.
1. Offensive Line.
For one thing the Jags have upgraded and added depth to this position with the addition of Branden Albert and resigning Tyler Shatley and Josh Wells. It shouldn’t stop with those moves. Available free agent options include Tackle Riley Reiff of the Detroit Lions and guard Kevin Zietler of the Cincinnati Bengals. The Jags can also add to the position through the draft. Mock drafts have the Jags taking Forrest Lamp from Western Kentucky. Any of these players would help add to what can be considered one of the biggest position needs of the offseason.
2. Figure out the safety position
Secondly, the Jags have to make a decision with pending free agent Jonathan Cyprien. If the Jags decide to move on then the depth needs to be addressed. Back up James Sample is unproven. The Jags could also look to the NFL draft to address this position if they move on from Cyprien. This year LSU’s Jamal Adams and Ohio States Malik Hooker top the class. However players such as Marcus Maye of Florida or Texas A&M’s Justin Evans could offer depth in the later rounds. Moving forward this offseason, the safety position must be addressed.
Again, like safety the Jags have decision to make at the cornerback position.
Defensively some names that would instantly add an edge to the secondary are Houston Texans A.J Bouye and Buffalo Bills Stephon Gilmore. Again the draft needs to be an option here as well. However in my opinion the Jags need to address through free agency rather than the draft. A known, experienced entity is needed opposite Jalen Ramsey. This offseason, securing talent and depth will be a priority.
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4. Tight end
Since trading Julius Thomas to the Miami Dolphins the remaining on the roster are Marcedes Lewis, Ben Koyack, Neal Sterling and Alex Ellis. Of those players Lewis is the only veteran. Bringing in another tight end either through free agency or the draft will help secure this position. Any addition will need to be able to participate in run blocking. Part of the reason Julius Thomas was traded was his inability to run block. Some names to watch are Arkansas Jeremy Sprinkle or Toledos Michael Roberts. This offseason expect the Jags to add power and versatility to the position.
5. Defensive Line
Finally with the departure of Jared Odrick it is clear the Jags are ready to upgrade at the position. One can never have enough depth on the defensive line. Alabama’s Defensive tackle Jonathan Allen headlines this years class and would create an immediate impact. The Jags could also take another weapon to add to the pass rush. Defensive end Derek Barnett of Tennessee and Stanford’s Solomon Thomas should also be names to watch. Later rounds could produce depth like Florida States Demarcus Walker or Villanova’s Tanoh Kpassagon. The addition to the defensive line will help add talent and could become the most dangerous unit for the team.
The Jags currently have seventy million to spend this offseason. The team is entering a win now mode and need to target free agents who can contribute immediately. Any draftee in the first couple rounds will also expected to make impacts at their positions. Addressing these five needs and positions will help the team get ready to compete in the AFC.