4 Jacksonville Jaguars who must inspire confidence in 2024 camp

• The Jaguars need these 4 players to step up in training camp.
Cincinnati Bengals v Jacksonville Jaguars
Cincinnati Bengals v Jacksonville Jaguars / Courtney Culbreath/GettyImages

The Jacksonville Jaguars, like every other NFL team, are taking a break before they report to training camp in late July. Then, the real preparation for the regular season will begin. During offseason workouts, the coaching staff mostly focused on technique and teaching the system because rules forbid contact, and pads aren't allowed. That will change in training camp.

Players looking to move up the depth chart or secure a roster spot will have a chance to make an impression and build their stock ahead of the preseason. These four, in particular, will benefit from a strong outing in training camp.

Jaguars TE Brenton Strange must inspire confidence in 2024

Tight end Evan Engram hauled in 114 receptions last year, leaving not many targets for then-rookie Brenton Strange. Then again, he might've gotten a bigger workload if he had shown the team's brass he was ready. He wasn't, which is why he caught a measly five passes for 35 yards with one touchdown.

In retrospect, that's probably not the kind of production the Jags envisioned from the former Penn State Nittany Lions. Sure, Engram's contract situation was still unresolved when Jacksonville drafted him, but he wasn't a late-round selection. He was a second-round pick, and as such, he was expected to contribute early on. He didn't, at least in the passing game.

In terms of playing time, Strange appeared in 32 percent of the team's total snaps on offense. All things considered, that's a solid amount when you account for Engram. However, he was only targeted nine times. Add the fact that Luke Farrell, a fifth-round pick in 2021, got ahead of him on the depth chart, and his rookie season looks underwhelming.

In his defense, tight ends take a bit of time to hit their stride in the NFL. Maybe Strange just needed a bit of time to put it all together. That said, he needs to speed up his development. During offseason workouts, he was unremarkable; not bad but not good either. If he fails to make strides in training camp, the West Virginia native could stay at the bottom of the depth chart next season.

Jaguars LB Chad Muma must inspire confidence in 2024

Back in 2022, the Jags raised eyebrows when they drafted Chad Muma in the draft despite the fact that they had taken Devin Lloyd 27th overall and signed Foyesade Oluokun in free agency. Simply put, his selection seemed unnecessary. Then again, you can never pass on good players, and he was the best prospect still on the team's big board at the time. Fast forward to 2023, and the Jaguars are still waiting on Muma.

The former Wyoming Cowboy spent most of his rookie season watching from the sidelines. He briefly replaced Lloyd in the starting lineup and showed flashes of his talent. However, an ankle injury forced him to return to the bench. He didn't see much playing time the rest of the year.

Lloyd entered the 2023 season as the unquestioned starter next to Oluoukun but Muma got another shot when Lloyd didn't travel with the team to London due to injuries. He wasn't able to seize the opportunity and struggled. Now, the Colorado native could be entering a make-or-break year. Working in his favor is that he'll get a clean slate under defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen.

Nielsen will run a 4-3 scheme. With Lloyd and Oloukun slated to start, Muma should be LB3. Even if the Jags play nickel often, he'll have a chance to log playing time. Of course, he'll need to fend off sophomore Ventrell Miller in training camp, but he'll have a prime opportunity to put doubts about his role with the team to rest.

Jaguars DE Trevis Gipson must inspire confidence in 2024

The Jaguars have a fierce pass-rush duo in Travon Walker and Josh Allen. They had 27.5 sacks between the two last year. However, the rest of the rotation left much to be desired, and the team's brass opted not to make many significant additions to the group outside of Trevis Gipson.

A fourth-round pick by the Chicago Bears in 2020, Gipson has shown some pass-rush juice, logging seven sacks in 2021. However, he's only had four the past two years. While he's a low-risk, high-reward signing, the onus will be on him to deliver next season. The good news is that Jacksonville might've been the perfect spot for the Tulsa product to enjoy a career revival.

Gipson's production suffered a dip because the Bears changed schemes in 2022. Things weren't much better with the Tennessee Titans, where he spent the 2023 season. With the Jags, he'll play with his hand on the ground, where he's had the most success in his career. Moreover, he'll benefit from playing under defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen, whose area of expertise is the defensive line.

The Jags don't probably expect Gipson to register 10 sacks next season. Instead, they'll probably want him to become a dynamic rotational piece in the pass rush. He'll have a chance to build momentum in training camp.

Jaguars RB Tank Bigsby must inspire confidence in 2024

Running back Tank Bigsby was arguably one of the Jaguars' biggest disappointments last year. Expected to take some work off Travis Etienne's shoulders, he struggled nearly every time he set foot on the field. Besides averaging a paltry 2.8 yards per carry, some of his mistakes led to turnovers. Fortunately for the former Auburn Tiger, the top brass hasn't lost confidence in him. In fact, they expect him to make an impact in his sophomore campaign.

For his part, Bigsby has shown more confidence in Year 2. Running backs coach Jerry Mack said, via the Florida Times-Union, that "he's come with a revitalized type of attitude and his mindset is totally different."

Furthermore, Bigsby has a better grasp of the offense, according to Mack, "I think things are starting to slow down for him. He understands his role on this offense."

If that's the case, Bigsby will have a prime opportunity to show in training camp that his rookie struggles are a thing of the past.

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