For the first time in a long time, the Jacksonville Jaguars have one of the most talented young rosters in the league – Pro Football Focus seems to agree.
This offseason, it’s been easy to focus on what’s become a wave of semi-negative articles about the Jacksonville Jaguars based primarily on the perceived poor play of quarterback Blake Bortles. There’s not much anyone, including Blake, can do about that until the games start again in September, but there are some analyses coming from the other end of the spectrum.
Pro Football Focus routinely puts together a list of their top 25 players under the age of 25. Last year, the Jaguars had no representatives which wasn’t surprising considering just how disappointing the team was in 2016.
This year, one very obvious player made the list:
"2. JALEN RAMSEY, CB, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARSWith just two seasons under his belt, Ramsey has already catapulted himself into the “best cornerback in the league” conversation. Building on an impressive rookie season, he put forth a 91.8 overall grade in 2017 which ranked third among cornerbacks. Perhaps the most impressive part of Ramsey’s performance is that his success has come while more often than not, shadowing opposing teams No. 1 receivers."
"17. YANNICK NGAKOUE, EDGE, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARSIn his second year, Ngakoue had a breakout campaign playing on a loaded Jaguars defense. He established himself as a premier pass-rusher, producing the fourth-highest pass-rush-productivity among edge defenders (12.8) and ranking inside the top-15 in pass-rush grade (86.2). If Ngakoue can improve as a run-defender, he is a strong candidate to shoot up this list next year."
Ramsey is arguably the best cornerback in the league so it makes total sense for him to be on this list. The only player above him is Joey Bosa, who was drafted right in front of him in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Ngakoue is a bit of a surprise if only because PFF doesn’t always grade him out as well as they should. This list is probably constructed by more than just PFF grades and it’s hard to ignore just how disruptive the Maryland product has been since coming into the league.
While this list isn’t the end all be all (and it certainly loses some luster seeing Marcus Mariota on it after a horrendous season), it’s nice to see the Jaguars’ young ascending players get some recognition.
Fournette likely didn’t make it because his statistics last year weren’t overwhelmingly impressive (<4 yards per carry), but his impact certainly warrants consideration on this list.
Jack was probably a near miss and I’d be shocked if he didn’t make it next year.