Two more rookies have signed their deals with the Jacksonville Jaguars as wide receiver Laviska Shenault and guard Ben Bartch are officially on the roster.
Shenault, a wide receiver out of Colorado, was taken with the 42nd pick in the second round in April. He is expected to give the team an added dimension in the passing game and play multiple roles in Jay Gruden’s offense this season.
Bartch, a fourth-round pick out of St. John’s in Minnesota, a Div. III school. Both players could challenge for starting roles in the offense this coming season.
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The Jaguars now have six of their 12 players in their 2020 draft class under contract. Shenault and Bartch, along with defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton (Round 3, No. 73 overall, Ohio State), tight end Tyler Davis (Round 6, No. 206 overall, Georgia Tech), wide receiver Collin Johnson (Round 5, No. 165, Texas) and linebacker Shaq Quarterman (Round 4, No. 140, Miami).
There is no word on the progress of the negotiations between the players who have yet to sign, which include both first-round picks, cornerback C.J Henderson out of Florida, and LSU linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson.
Shenault gives the Jaguars another set of hands in a wide receiver room that was decent last season but should be better in 2020. The team also added Johnson, who at 6-foot-6, could be a target in the Gruden’s red-zone offense this season. The Jaguars scored just 300 points last season.
As of now, DJ Chark is the team’s top option in the passing game. Shenault will compete with veterans Chris Conley and Dede Westbrook for time on the field and who will fill the role of Gardner Minshew’s second option. Both Conley and Westbrook are on the roster with one year left on their contracts. The position could look plenty different next season as both may not return to the organization.
Bartch is a player who could be one of those under-the-radar types who surprises many in training camp. According to head coach Doug Marrone, he will come to camp and compete for playing time with A.J. Cann who is currently listed as the team’s right guard. Cann spent time splitting reps with Will Richardson.
Richardson has been moved over to the left side where he will play guard and challenge incumbent Cam Robinson at tackle.
The Jacksonville Jaguars did little help their offensive line this offseason, except for re-signing lineman Tyler Shatley, who can play multiple spots on the line and then drafted Bartch. The team’s front office and the coaching staff believes the unit, as a whole, will play better in 2020 because it will be the second season working with offensive line coach George Warhop.
After a 2018 season where injuries decimated almost every position on the line, the group held up well last season. The main concern for the Jacksonville Jaguars is the protection of the quarterback where the team gave up a total of 41 sacks in 2019.