Heading into the 2017 season, ESPN thinks the Jacksonville Jaguars have 3 of the top 100 players in the NFL on their roster.
The Jacksonville Jaguars haven’t had to many outstanding individual performers in recent years, and even players who do perform well don’t get the kind of coverage they deserve thanks to the lackluster play of the team overall.
That has changed in the past few seasons as more and more media outlets put together “Top 100” player rankings. These are generally based on tape study and give less successful teams like the Jaguars a chance to prop up some guys.
Last offseason, the Jaguars had perhaps too many representatives on those lists, as guys like Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson, and Allen Hurns all received praise after a solid statistical season in 2015.
This year, the only players we are seeing on these rankings are on the defensive side and some of them have yet to play a snap for the Jaguars.
That’s the case for the list we’re looking at today – the ESPN NFLRank.
"Bouye broke up six passes in two playoff games with Houston last season, tied with Atlanta’s Robert Alford for the most in the postseason. (Alford played one more postseason game.) Bouye had 16 pass breakups in the regular season (tied for ninth in the NFL) and one interception in his first full year as a starter, adding two more picks in the playoffs."
"Ramsey has the rare combination of size (6-2, 208), speed, long arms, and the ability to play off- and press-coverage. He was matched up against the opponents’ best receivers as a rookie and broke up 14 passes, forced one fumble, and intercepted two passes."
"Campbell is not a speed guy, but he has been one of the NFL’s most consistent pass-rushers over the past eight seasons. The two-time Pro Bowler (2014 and 2015) has recorded at least 6.0 sacks in seven of those eight seasons, including a career-high-tying 8.0 in 2016"
ESPN used an actual player rating system to rank these players and the premise is allegedly to try and predict who will be the best players in the upcoming season, not who has played well in the past. In that sense, I’m a little surprised to see Bouye and Campbell on the list because the Jaguars have historically had awful luck with high-priced free agents. If Bouye and Campbell play like Top 100 players for the Jaguars in their first season with the team, then they are arguably going to be two of the best free agent signings in franchise history.
Ramsey being on the list isn’t a surprise at all, and I’d be shocked if he doesn’t have a case to be ranked significantly higher by the end of the year.