The Jacksonville Jaguars were one of the most active NFL teams in the offseason. They got Trevor Lawrence weapons and fortified their defense, which should help them double their win totals from last year. But in spite of the improvements, the Jags’ roster doesn’t stack up well against some of the best clubs in the league and this was reflected in a recent power ranking.
Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports recently ranked all 32 NFL teams and Jacksonville got the 27th spot. Benjamin says general manager Trent Baalke hasn’t done a good job of administering the organization’s resources. Moreover, he doesn’t think Lawrence has a top-notch supporting cast.
"Their placement here, despite owning two straight No. 1 draft picks and spending like crazy in free agency, is an indictment on management. Yes, Trevor Lawrence is better off under center, where he’s now got the tutelage of Doug Pederson and added targets in Christian Kirk and Zay Jones. Yes, the Brandon Scherff addition up front could do wonders for the pocket. But altogether, the supporting cast isn’t high-octane as much as it is… middling upgraded? That could change if Travis Etienne breaks out as a hybrid weapon, or James Robinson returns at full speed, but those are gambles."
On the other hand, Benjamin likes the additions the Jaguars made on defense but believes the “secondary is littered” with overpriced veterans. He goes on to say that Jacksonville’s future success lies on Lawrence’s shoulders. For comparison, the Houston Texans popped up at 31, the Tennessee Titans got the 22nd spot, and the Indianapolis Colts landed at No. 15.
The Jaguars will keep a similar spot in power rankings through the Summer
The Jaguars will continue to have a similar spot (around 25-30) throughout the Summer but you could make the case that they should have earned a higher ranking. Certainly not in the top 15 but somewhere in the high 20s would have been reasonable. After all, they revamped most position groups this offseason. Sure, they spent plenty of money in free agency but they had to replenish a roster that was in need of playmakers.
Benjamin argues that the Jaguars’ secondary is filled with overpriced players but the truth is that their cornerback group might be a strength in 2022. The same is true for their wide receiver corps. Optimally, you want to avoid overpaying for players but it’s simply unrealistic. Jacksonville was sitting on a surplus of cap space and decided to make good use of it.
The Jags could no longer acquire second or third-tier free agents. They did precisely that last year and didn’t get a significant return on their investment. Instead, they signed some of the best players available in the open market, knowing it wasn’t going to be cheap.
Of course, the only way the Jaguars can really assess how much they’ve improved since the end of the 2021 season will be on the football field. Maybe this writer is overvaluing them but Jacksonville has put together a well-rounded roster ahead of training camp. They still have a few weaknesses but they have a franchise quarterback in Trevor Lawrence and have surrounded him with plenty of weapons. That should help them move a few spots up in all power rankings once the regular season starts.