This has been a busy offseason for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Besides hiring Doug Pederson as their head coach, they were one of the most aggressive NFL teams in free agency. Moreover, they walked away from the 2022 draft with a good defensive haul. Bleacher Report took notice of the makeover the Jags have undergone and included them in an encouraging list.
Alex Ballentine of B/R recently discussed the five most improved teams in the 2022 offseason and the Jaguars were one of them. Ballentine believes that Jacksonville got better in the offseason and although a leap from last to first is unlikely, going from “awful to average isn’t out of the question“.
"General manager Trent Baalke handed out $148 million in guarantees to [Christian] Kirk, [Brandon] Scherff, [Foyesade] Oluokun, [Foyesade] Fatukasi, and Cam Robinson. That’s a high price for that collection of players, but each of the new acquisitions is an upgrade over what they fielded last season, and Robinson plays a pivotal position at left tackle."
Ballentine also likes the moves the Jaguars made on defense and says that Travon Walker and Devin Lloyd could have an impact early on if they are fast learners. However, he thinks that Jacksonville’s biggest offseason addition was probably Doug Pederson.
"The biggest addition of the offseason might be Doug Pederson. After the dysfunction of Urban Meyer’s short tenure, the Jags needed a leader with proven NFL success. Winning a Super Bowl with Nick Foles is about as good an indication as any that Pederson can help Trevor Lawrence get on the right track."
The Jaguars must play games to determine how much they improved.
Pederson will certainly have a significant impact in Jacksonville. Now that Urban Meyer is gone, players and the coaching staff will no longer have to worry about being belittled, threatened, or questioned. Without any distractions, players will be able to fully focus on winning football games.
Moreover, Pederson will play a big role in the development of Trevor Lawrence, who struggled in his rookie campaign in part because there was no outlined plan to bring him along. Speaking of the young passer, he will now have more weapons at his disposal. The Jaguars’ brass has pulled no punches this offseason and has tried to acquire much talent as possible. Sure, they paid a premium for most of the free agents they signed but if they live up to expectations, they won’t be second-guessed.
The Jaguars should be better in 2022 but they weren’t the only AFC teams that loaded up on talent this offseason. Every other club in the division also made several upgrades and Jacksonville might have a hard time closing the gap with their AFC South rivals. On the bright side, the Jags have a promising young quarterback in Lawrence and if he makes the leap he’s expected to make in Year 2, they will be able to make some ground.
You could make the case that this has been the Jaguars’ busiest offseason in years and while they won’t know if their additions will pay off until Week 1 of the 2022 season, it’s clear they operated with a sense of urgency.