The Jacksonville Jaguars have generally been praised for their moves this offseason, and now you can include NFL executives among those impressed.
By most accounts, the Jacksonville Jaguars had a successful offseason. After moving on from the disastrous regime of Gus Bradley, the Jaguars put new head coach Doug Marrone up to the task.
He should have more than enough weapons at his disposal to win more games after yet another stacked offseason acquisition class.
We’ve heard from plenty of analysts who think the Jaguars added talent, but now we can add NFL executives to the list.
Mike Sando over at ESPN spoke to some NFL executives (Insider article) to discuss each team’s offseason moves. He managed to get grades as well, and apparently NFL executives thing the Jaguars had a solid offseason.
"Jacksonville JaguarsGrade: BThe Jaguars will eventually have to decide whether to stick with Blake Bortles at quarterback. In the meantime, they’ve made moves to diminish their reliance upon him. Offseason commitments to the ground game do not get much stronger than hiring Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone before using a top-five pick on Leonard Fournette. Meanwhile, Calais Campbell‘s addition could put the defense over the top. All signs point to fewer pass attempts per game for Bortles."
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Unsurprisingly, the analysis start with Blake Bortles at quarterback. The only thing likely keeping this grade from being an ‘A’ is the fact that the team did nothing to address the quarterback position and is banking on Bortles being better.
The executives think the Jaguars did a good job with the rest of their acquisitions, potentially setting the foundation for their identity.
"“They made progress in getting an identity,” an exec said. “Are they better? I’m not saying they are, but one of these years they are going to go like 10-6. I don’t think it’s this year. I think it’s when they get great play out of the quarterback.”Campbell was the consensus best defensive player available in free agency. He also cost $15 million annually.“Jacksonville spent the most guaranteed money over the last five years and they have the worst record,” an analytics director said. “They keep doing the same thing over and over. I do love Calais Campbell.”"
This has become a pretty common refrain about the Jaguars offseason. They finally have started spending the money to acquire the players at the top of the market, meaning they should have high end starters at multiple positions.
The executives praised the draft as well, saying the Jaguars would likely have been praised even more if they hadn’t fallen flat on their faces in 2016.
"There was no consensus that Fournette was the best offensive player in the draft, but he was the first offensive player selected who was not a quarterback. Adding him and Campbell would seem to qualify the Jaguars for a Grade A offseason, if only there weren’t so much weariness.“Every offseason, we think they get better,” another exec said. “I have no idea anymore. It looks like defensively they have a ton of pieces. Offensively, it is back to what it usually is. What is Bortles going to be like? The pieces around him are very good on offense. [Tackle] Cam Robinson was one of the best picks in the draft.”"
As the last executive said, it’s hard to really have a lot of confidence in the Jaguars when they have done this for a few offseasons now. Maybe this year is the year it all finally comes together.