While many still believe the Jacksonville Jaguars are one of the worst teams in the NFL, some are giving the organization high marks for their rookie class.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are one of the youngest teams in the NFL thanks to an offseason of heavy unloading. The roster is almost unrecognizable now that big-name veterans have been replaced by free agents and rookies who are expected to come in and change a culture of losing and constant drama.
While you cannot blame the issues in the team’s locker room on Calais Campbell and A.J. Bouye, two standup players who tried to balance their demeanor in a room full of issues, they were part of the purge to help this team move forward. Time will determine if those two trades, which yielded draft capital and future potential, will pay off.
Because of the new youth movement, the Jacksonville Jaguars front office, and the coaching staff are gambling the chess pieces they moved in the offseason will have a direct effect on the team this season. It’s more likely to take another year or two to see the fruits of general manager David Caldwell’s labor.
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Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone may not have two seasons to see the progression of this organization. They both enter TIAA Bank Field this year on a very warm seat. If there is a silver lining to this offseason, it’s the continued kudos the franchise receives for its preparation for the NFL Draft, the selections Caldwell and Marrone made, and the rookie free agents they signed shortly thereafter.
Thor Nystrom of Rotoworld praises the front office for assessing the needs of the roster and addressing them with quality and potential hidden gems.
“Just a well-rounded process for the Jaguars overall. Jacksonville finished No. 6 in both Draft Score and in the UDFA class rankings and naturally checked in No. 6 in the NFL (and No. 3 in the AFC) in the overall Draft Haul rankings. I was higher on Jacksonville’s draft than the media at large,” he writes.
The biggest theme this offseason for the Jaguars has been to solidify the defense, mainly with the run defense, speed on the outside, and in the secondary. The Draft brought in cornerback C.J. Henderson and linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson in the first round. The team also added speed in the secondary in later rounds and may have found a sleeper in Shaquille Quarterman at linebacker out of Miami.
The Jacksonville Jaguars were quick to bring in undrafted free agents who have a chance to make this roster with so much need for depth.
“Jacksonville also brought in a strong UDFA crop, giving San Diego State CB Luq Barcoo, a Thorpe Award semifinalist last year, a record $180,000 in guarantees, better than Barcoo would have gotten had he been picked in Rounds 6 or 7,” Nystrom adds, “RB James Robinson is a Philip Lindsay immediate-impact UDFA candidate if Leonard Fournette ends up getting dealt before the season starts.”
The Jaguars still have plenty of work to do this offseason, installing a new offense and getting the defensive side adjusted to potential changes with the 4-3 scheme. But if the rookies can come in and make even a small impact on the success of the 2020 season, it could mean this is one of the best draft and undrafted free-agent classes this organization has had in some time.