4 things that must change for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2022

Fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)
Fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Jacksonville Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker (44) at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union] /

1. The Jaguars must play their rookies early in the season

All things considered, the Jaguars’ 2021 rookie class is filled with potential. Trevor Lawrence headlines the group but cornerback Tyson Campbell had a promising rookie campaign. Similarly, running back Travis Etienne, safety Andre Cisco and maybe offensive lineman Walker Little are poised for bigger roles this upcoming season. That’s four (possibly five) potential starters right there. The problem was that outside Lawrence and Campbell, they didn’t get much playing time last season.

Of course, Etienne wasn’t going to play after suffering a season-ending injury but the Jags deserve criticism for not giving more snaps to Walker and Cisco. It would be one thing if they weren’t ready. And if that had been the case, general manager Trent Baalke would have deserved the blame but it was the coaching staff the one that decided not to play them until it was necessary, which was head-scratching when you consider that they both fared well once they got a chance.

This year, the Jaguars’ brass can’t afford the same mistake and most give their rookies their chance to show what they can do and develop them, and right now, that seems to be precisely what they’re doing. The coaching staff is giving plenty of reps to edge rusher Travon Walker, the first overall pick in this year’s draft, and linebacker Devin Lloyd, who is set to start on Day 1. Center Luke Fortner is currently behind veteran Tyler Shatley but if the coaching staff at some point determines the former is the better choice, they won’t stash him on the bench.

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