The team’s signing of Nick Foles does not fix all that ails the Jacksonville Jaguars on offense ahead of the 2019 season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have many needs on offense. Just signing Nick Foles to be their starting quarterback does not guarantee they’ll win. The offensive line, running back, tight end, and wide receiver positions all need to improve their play in order for the Jaguars to be successful. Along with quarterback, they’ve signed free agents at linebacker, guard, tackle, tight end, and wide receiver.
So….now what? What do the Jaguars need to do? Before we try to answer that question, let’s look at what else they’ve done and see where they are.
Resigning A.J. Cann at guard may be the most significant signing other than Foles. His experience with the other linemen over the last couple of years will help the unit as a whole. The other signings, linebacker Jake Ryan, tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, tight end Geoff Swaim, and wide receiver Chris Conley, are all for competition to start at their positions and for depth.
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Since the Jaguars are just about out of money, don’t expect to see anyone else of note signed through free agency.
Ryan was expected to be a starter at linebacker for Green Bay before he was injured in the pre-season last year, and Ogbuehi, a previous first-round selection by Cincinnati, may compete for the starting job at right tackle with Will Richardson. It is also very possible that a rookie or two will vie for starting jobs if the Jaguars address the offensive line need in this year’s draft.
Swaim, likewise may compete for a starting role if they don’t get one early in the draft. Conley is the third WR option as of now, but will have competition from DJ Chark and Dede Westbrook, among others.
That’s where the Jaguars stand at this point, so what do they need to do?
The most pressing needs on the team remain offensive line and tight end. Fortunately, this year’s NFL draft is deep in offensive line help so they should have quality players to choose from in at least the first two rounds, and possibly the third. However, there is not as much depth at tight end, so they may need to address that need first.
The franchise may also look to add a running back and/or a wide receiver at some point, as those positions are in need of more depth, particularly running back.
Still, offensive line is in the most need of improvement, particularly since the Jaguars have let seven linemen leave while only retaining one and signing one other. The offensive line has not had much success over the last decade, which doesn’t bode well for the team. In fact, if the offensive line doesn’t play at least as well as it did in 2017, it is not likely they’ll improve at all.
Add to this the fact that the Jaguars receiving corps, both from the tight end and wide receiver positions, have been woefully inadequate for the last fifteen to twenty years, and the odds of success drop considerably.
So look for them to draft a lineman no later than the second round, if they take a tight end first. If they select an offensive lineman first, look for them to get their tight end with their second pick. If the team does anything other than draft offensive line and tight end with their first two picks, expect their decisions to be questioned by sports analysts across the country. Also, the Jaguars fan base will be very vocal.