The Jacksonville Jaguars continue to be touted as a top-ten team heading into the 2018 season.
This offseason has been different than previous years for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Coming off a wildly successful 2017 campaign, the Jaguars enter the 2018 season with lofty expectations.
Jacksonville finds itself all around the top ten in various power rankings. In previous rankings, done by NFL.com and ESPN.com, the team checked in at third and eighth, respectively.
In a brand new power ranking, before the start of the NFL draft, done by Brad Gagnon of bleacherreport.com, the Jaguars are slotted as the sixth best team for next season.
Gagnon speaks on the majority of star plays on the roster still being young and the depth on the roster, but does address the obvious elephant in the room, quarterback Blake Bortles:
"Five of Jacksonville’s six 2017 Pro Bowlers were below the age of 28, so there’s little reason to believe one of the league’s youngest and deepest teams won’t be even better in 2018. But all of the teams surrounding them in the top 10 spots of these rankings are more secure at the quarterback position, because there are still legitimate questions regarding Jags starter Blake Bortles."
The whole “The team is talented but may be anchored by the quarterback position” rhetoric is far from a fresh take, and has been hammered home to the point of exhaustion. But Gagnon does express his opinion that if Bortles plays well, the Jaguars are positioned to take the ultimate next step:
"If Bortles excels in his fifth season, the Jaguars can win it all."
The five teams ranked ahead of Jacksonville on the list are the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings, and Los Angeles Rams, in order from fifth to first.
The Patriots and Eagles are hard to argue for being ahead of the Jaguars, with both playing for the title in 2017, and New England knocking Jacksonville out in the AFC Championship game. But you could make a case to rank the Jaguars ahead of the other three teams in the top five. The Jaguars were ten minutes away from the Super Bowl in 2017, and along with the a top defense in the league returning in almost full capacity for 2018, the front office has made moves to improve the offense, most notably the signing of Andrew Norwell.
We will get a better sense of the how the teams will look for next season after the NFL draft, which begins on April 26th.