The Jacksonville Jaguars walk into the 2020 season with little support for a successful 2020 season and players who are underappreciated for their efforts.
While looking at the Jacksonville Jaguars roster for the upcoming season, the position everyone talks about first is the quarterback. Can Gardner Minshew, who looks bigger, stronger, and faster from workout videos, take this team to the next level?
Unfortunately, the jury is still out on this one. No matter how well the second-year signal-caller played at times last season, the national media wants to see him do it again to prove he is worthy of being called a franchise-type player and an elite player at his position.
What I will tell you is he is one of the best bargains at his position give Patrick Mahomes just signed his monster contract with the Kansas City Chiefs.
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There are other players on the Jaguars roster he just scrutinized for their play in 2020. It comes with the territory of playing on a losing football team.
The criticism may be just a fight for summer, but the reality is players are often lumped together based on play as a unit.
The success of one player doesn’t get recognized, which isn’t fair by NFL standards. The Jaguars may not be the best team in the NFL in 2020, but they could make things exciting, nonetheless.
We know the world will watch Minshew and dissect everything about his game this season. Meanwhile, these three players could have huge seasons and will be underappreciated for the work they do at the position they have excelled at.
If he can be voted the team’s most underrated player for the 2020 season, then it makes sense Brandon Linder is also the most underappreciated.
It’s hard to believe that Linder is the only member of the famed 2014 Draft class that remains on the roster. But the center out of Miami who started out as a guard on the Jaguars offensive line has developed into one of the better players at his position.
With the problems that have continued with this unit the past two seasons, Linder’s play at the pivot has been one of the better things to happen on this roster. While he isn’t recognized in larger NFL circles, the only thing eluding Linder is a trip to the Pro Bowl.
That could happen this season if he lends his leadership to an underwhelming unit the coaching staff believes will be better in 2020.
When the Jacksonville Jaguars signed Chris Conley to a free agent deal in 2019, it was to reunite him with his former teammate, Nick Foles. We all know how that turned out. But for Conley, who has become a dependable target and a leader off the field for Jacksonville, the best season of his career may come in 2020.
Conley is a big target who played on more snaps than any wide receiver last season. He caught 47 passes and had moments where he looked like an All-Pro.
Look for more of that this year.
Also, the Jaguars picked up his contract option after the end of the 2019 season. There were enough positive things about his play that could elevate him into the second option in the passing game behind DJ Chark.
Conley caught 47 passes for 775 yards and five touchdowns in 2019. He should eclipse those numbers in 2020.
It was only two seasons ago when we talked about D.J. Hayden as a former first-round pick in Oakland as a questionable addition to the Jacksonville Jaguars secondary. Now we talk about Hayden possibly having the biggest job on defense corralling a young group of defenders.
As the nickel cornerback, Hayden, when healthy, has exceeded expectations. This season he could get pushed for playing time by rookie Josiah Scott or Daniel Thomas, but the veteran still figures to be a huge part of the defensive scheme the Jaguars will use.
One thing I am hoping for is a bigger leadership role for Hayden in 2020. With A.J. Bouye now in Denver, the Jacksonville Jaguars need a veteran to step up and lead. There is plenty of untapped talent on the Jaguars’ defense. It will take a veteran to help balance the growing pains.