Jaguars make significant roster moves this week
By David Levin
Prior to the start of their rookie minicamp on Friday, the Jacksonville Jaguars made a few roster moves this week.
With five of the team’s seven rookies under contract before the start of rookie minicamp, the Jacksonville Jaguars walked onto the practice fields at TIAA Bank Field with plenty of new faces looking to make an impact on the 2019 season.
The team announced earlier this week that second-round draft pick, tackle Jawaan Taylor out of Florida, had inked his deal with the franchise. Josh Oliver, one of the team’s third-round picks, is also now under contract. Fifth-round running back Ryquell Armstead out of Temple, sixth-round quarterback Gardner Minshew, from Washington State and the team’s seventh-round selection, Auburn defensive tackle Dontavius Russell, also put pen to paper to make everything official.
"“I’m ready to get to the real part of it now,” said Russell…“It’s something I’ve waited for since I was a child, just to be able to do it feels amazing,” Russell added. “It makes it feel like everything paid off. A lot of people don’t get the opportunity to sign papers for the NFL, so it feels good.”"
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The Jaguars will host 62 players this weekend in an attempt to finalize their 53-man roster for the regular season. The team addressed needs at various positions through free agency this offseason and the NFL Draft last month. The roster will look significantly different from last season. Gone are both quarterbacks from last year’s roster. Blake Bortles was released after the team signed former Philadelphia Eagles signal-caller Nick Foles in free agency. Cody Kessler was released earlier this week.
There are now four quarterbacks on the roster, which helps the team in preparation for training camp. Minshew, along with last year’s sixth-round pick Tanner Lee and free agent signee Alex McGough will be given the chance to win the backup role.
The team announced that linebacker Donald Payne, guard Parker Ehringer, fullback Dimitri Flowers, running back David Williams and linebacker Blair Brown where also let go.
Taylor, who is a Florida native having grown up in Cocoa, will be asked to come in and compete to start at right tackle. The Jaguars return four of their five starters on the offensive line from the first game of the 2018 season. The team’s offensive line as obliterated by injuries last season that became part of the reason Jacksonville surrendered 53 sacks last year.
"“It’s the best feeling of all time,” Taylor said. “I’ve been dreaming this since I was a kid. I feel great about it. Me having an opportunity to sign that contract and fulfill my dreams … it’s been a dream come true, so definitely hats off to all the people who helped me through the process.”"
Minshew, who finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting last season while at Washington State, is known for his ability to read defenses and diagram plays. His football acumen should serve him well and could make him the early favorite to become the Jaguars No. 2 quarterback.
He said he received the team’s playbook immediately following the Draft.
"“I got an IPad sent to me overnight,” Minshew said. “I’ve just been diving into that, studying and trying to get ready best I can for rookie minicamp. Hard work got me here and hard work’s going to keep me here."