Jacksonville Jaguars have young trio of playmakers

Jaxson de Ville, mascot of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Jaxson de Ville, mascot of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

The Jacksonville Jaguars are in the early stages of a rebuild. While it may be a while before they see their efforts pay off, they have a young core of difference-makers in place. Head coach Urban Meyer and general manager Trent Baalke have spent the offseason fortifying their roster to ensure they have enough talent to compete for years to come.

Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus recently drew up a list of three franchise building blocks in every NFL team. He points out that he didn’t choose the best players in each team. Rather, he picked the ones he thinks can help each organization enjoy long-term success. For the Jaguars, he selected quarterback Trevor Lawrence, EDGE rusher Josh Allen, and second-year wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr.

Like most analysts, Linsey believes Lawrence is the best passes to come out of college in a while. He points out that he posted a Pro Football Focus grade of 90.0 or higher for three consecutive years. Also, he notes that the former Tiger will have several young weapons at his disposal, including Shenault. Linsey sees the 2020 second-round pick becoming a dynamic playmaker in a traditional wide receiver role after having a limited role as a rookie.

On the defensive side of the ball, Linsey believes Allen gives the Jags a good chance to rush opposing passers in 2021. He mentions that he’s earned a pass-rush grade of at least 70.0 over the last two years and says that “should be his floor moving forward”.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are set for the foreseeable future.

Linsey’s analysis comes with a caveat: Lawrence has yet to take a snap in the NFL. He was a playmaker at Clemson but success in college doesn’t always carry over into the pros. There’s a good chance will develop into one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL, but it’s too early to peg him as the next best thing.

On the other hand, Allen also needs to show he’s fully healthy after suffering a knee injury that limited him to eight games last season. After posting 10.5 sacks and making the Pro Bowl in his rookie campaign, he logged a measly 2.5 sacks in 2020. Also, the Jaguars didn’t have much talent up front, so opposing offenses have no trouble neutralizing the former first-round pick. On the bright side, the teams’ brass fortified the front seven this offseason, and Allen should have more opportunities to generate pressure up front in 2021.

Finally, Shenault showed flashes last season. He led all rookie wide receivers with 13 contested catches, per PFF. Moreover, he forced the third-most missed tackles among first-year wideouts. Viska is a trendy candidate to have a breakout season in 2021. However, it would be great to see him perform at a high level before anointing him as a franchise building block.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a young core of playmakers in Lawrence, Shenault, and Allen. Expect them to lose several games in 2021 but also to keep things close and pull a few upsets.

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