Will the Jacksonville Jaguars remain content with their current roster, or will there be changes before the start of the 2020 NFL season?
The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted 12 players in April, added 18 undrafted free agents after the selection process, and march into the 2020 NFL season with a bullseye on their collective chests as the worst team in the league.
This should make for some interesting discussions over the next seven months.
The Jaguars are a team in transition. I hate using the “R” word when discussing these matters as it has been used many times over the 26 seasons the franchise from one of the smallest markets in the league has been part of the 32-team fraternity.
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I know it’s happening, but I don’t want to admit it as a fan who has endured change just like everyone else.
With a third of the team’s roster made up of first-year players, there should be many training camp battles to watch as Doug Marrone and his coaching staff will have difficult decisions to make come August and potentially beyond.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, one of the NFL’s youngest teams already, could get even younger. I’m not so sure what side of the fence to stand on if that happens. Youth and exuberance are great things when planning for the future. It becomes an enemy of sorts when a team must produce a winning formula sooner than the potential of another Star Wars spinoff.
This is a Jacksonville Jaguars team that might need to use the Force to have a winning record in 2020.
Expect there to be a few surprises once the regular-season roster is released. Marrone believes in plenty of competition and if a rookie can unseat a veteran it means the roster is that much stronger because the spot is taken by a player who is hungry to make an impact quickly.
Hopefully, the roster won’t be as young as anticipated by some analysts and this franchise won’t be as depleted as the national media anticipates. Remember, hope is a good thing. Here are four bold predictions for the Jacksonville Jaguars roster in 2020.
J.R. Reed Makes the Team
A rookie safety from Georgia, J.R. Reed could be the surprise player in training camp that earns a roster spot on defense. Reed, who has NFL bloodlines as his father Jake Reed was a standout wide receiver for many years in the league.
The Jaguars secondary is still a major question mark, with depth a serious concern. The front office went heavy with cornerbacks in the NFL Draft. There are veterans on the roster who should provide leadership and balance at the position.
At 6-foot-1 and 204 pounds, Reed has nice size that could translate into a key role in Todd Wash’s defensive scheme this season.
Keelan Cole is Cut
I have to admit Keelan Cole is one of my favorite players on the Jacksonville Jaguars roster, but he can’t find time on the field because of the number of pass-catchers in the team’s wide receiver room. He looked good when called upon last season, filling in for Dede Westbrook, who dealt with injuries in the second half of 2020.
Cole caught 24 passes for 361 yards and three touchdowns in 2019. That’s 15 yards per catch, which as we all know moves the chains. The fourth-year player must be more consistent on the practice field to leap over teammates in front of him. And the Jaguars drafted Laviska Shenault and Collin Johnson then added Florida star Josh Hammond as an unrestricted free agent.
It’s a tough mountain to climb for Cole, who looks to be the odd man out in the wide receiver rotation.
The “Smoothie King” Starts at Right Guard
The Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line is still a work in progress, but also might be the team’s biggest issue offense. Even with the praise heaped by Marrone and general manager David Caldwell, I’m waiting to see it translate into results. Quarterbacks were dropped 41 times last season and the pass protection for Gardner Minshew broke down continually all year.
Something must give.
The Jaguars did little in free agency other than re-sign Tyler Shatley and added Bartch, who might become the biggest surprise (no pun intended) of the 2020 draft class.
Marrone outlined how the offensive line would look a few weeks ago when he said Bartch would compete at right guard and Will Richardson would compete for the left tackle spot with Cam Robinson. The Jaguars could have two new starters this season, which could mean a tougher front five or problems that still have not been resolved for the organization.
One Free Agent Move to Make
There are still a few free agents out there who may get a call from the Jacksonville Jaguars front office. There are also plenty of holes to fill with areas of depth a concern. I personally don’t believe the roster is built just yet and if the franchise can make a move or two, it could change the complexity of the season.
I still believe there is a chance Marcell Dareus makes his return to North Florida. The team’s run defense is much better with him in the middle. It makes sense to make a move like this given Todd Wash told the media on Friday this is not going to be a 3-4 defense many of us believe it to be.
Also, Everson Griffen is still out there. A veteran defensive end who could still play within the rotation to help ease the loss of Calais Campbell. The Jaguars have money they can spend in free agency and should still look at all the available options out there.