Jacksonville Jaguars remain high in early power rankings

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 17: Calais Campbell /

The Jacksonville Jaguars overall have a better roster than they did at the end of the 2017 season, so they should be in the mix heading into 2018.

While the Jacksonville Jaguars still have the same questions at quarterback that they did last year, it’s hard not to look at the current construction of their roster and conclude they are a more talented team.

Minutes away from the Super Bowl last season, the Jaguars are going full force to get there in 2018 after an active free agency. Gauging the net additions and subtractions, the Jaguars have seemingly made their special teams unit much better with numerous low-cost signings, and the offense around Blake Bortles is objectively better.

After getting so close last year, the hope is these moves will get them over the hump – to the Super Bowl and the top of power rankings everywhere.

Right now, they aren’t there.

Elliot Harrison over at NFL.com had the Jaguars at 3 when the season ended, and he’s still bullish on the team after the additions they’ve made in free agency.

"3. Jacksonville JaguarsSo much to like about this Jacksonville team, although no one is overly excited about the Jags occasionally trying to win in spite of the quarterback. No more Chad Henne to fall back on, either. Yet, Jacksonville holds the three spot, as this group almost made the Super Bowl with Blake Bortles at quarterback. Also of importance: importing guard Andrew Norwell, the best player at his position on the market."

The narrative will remain “winning in spite of the quarterback” until Blake steps on the field and proves them wrong (or right). Still, the Jaguars won 10 games last year “in spite of” the QB so they’ve already proved it isn’t a comprehensive limitation.

ESPN on the other hand isn’t nearly as high on the Jaguars, and actually lowered their rankings after the moves made this offseason.

"8. Jacksonville Jaguars2017 record: 10-6Way-too-early ranking: 5The Jaguars saw a huge turnaround in 2017 and are continuing to build on that success. No team ran more between the tackles in 2017, so they signed an All-Pro guard in Andrew Norwell to help. No team had fewer receptions at tight end last season, so they signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins to fix that."

The Jaguars were at number 3 in the previous set of power rankings so it’s odd that they were moved below teams they dominated (Pittsburgh Steelers) and teams that sputtered in the playoffs (Atlanta Falcons and LA Rams).

The Jaguars aren’t any worse on defense and they are much more talented on offense across the board.

Even if you want to fault the Jaguars for letting Allen Robinson go, the Jaguars were successful on offense last year without him. It’s also fair to expect both Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole to progress in their second seasons and become bigger contributors.

This is also an opportunity for Blake Bortles to improve under the same offense for the first time in earnest. Over his 4 seasons, Bortles had to adapt to multiple offenses and schemes under some objectively terrible coaches. Last year he executed what he was tasked with doing and it worked.

But it doesn’t matter – until Bortles does it over and over again, he’ll continue to be labeled as the albatross on this team’s Super Bowl prospects.

What do you think? Are the Jaguars closer to 3 or 8 in the NFL hierarchy?