B/R thinks Jacksonville Jaguars can become contenders if they fix these 2 issues

• The Jaguars could go from pretenders to contenders if they made these 2 changes.

Dec 24, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars guard Brandon Scherff (68) and center Luke
Dec 24, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars guard Brandon Scherff (68) and center Luke / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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There are many reasons the Jacksonville Jaguars collapsed in 2023. Coaching certainly played a role, and the front office deserves blame for not adequately addressing the team's biggest needs. One area in particular that didn't get nearly enough attention was the offensive line. The Jags couldn't block last year, and that was mostly due to a dearth of talent up front. This is why Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report thinks that fixing the trenches is one of the two position groups the Jaguars must prioritize in the offseason to become contenders.

Davenport took a look at teams that failed to make the playoffs last year and suggested a couple changes that could help them get over the hump. In Jacksonville's case, he believes they need to bolster the offensive line and revamp the secondary. Regarding the offensive line, Davenport suggests it was a big factor behind Trevor Lawrence's struggles last season.

"The dominant storyline in Jacksonville this offseason centers on Trevor Lawrence, and how the young quarterback's turnover-marred 2023 campaign potentially affects the mega-extension looming for the 24-year-old.

But a big part of the reason that Lawrence struggled last year was that he spent far too much time running for his life. Jacksonville's offensive line play was, well, offensive—some pundits ranked the Jaguars as a bottom-five O-line, and that's before considering the potential departure of left tackle Cam Robinson, who has been mentioned as a potential cap casualty."

To fix the issue, Davenport recommends the Jags get help in free agency or pick offensive tackle JC Latham at No. 17 in this year's draft. On the other hand, he thinks Jacksonville also needs to upgrade their cornerback room, bringing up Jaylen Johnson (free agency) or Nate Wiggins (draft) as potential solutions.

The Jaguars currently have around $25 million in cap space, but they'll get more breathing room once they release a handful of players, including left tackle Cam Robinson. In total, they could create as much as $35 million depending on whom they cut. That said, the team's brass must first sign Josh Allen and wide receiver Calvin Ridley to long-term deals. Once they do, they can then turn to free agency to make a couple of acquisitions.

At No. 17 in the draft, Jacksonville will have a wide array of options. Depending on how free agency unfolds, They could bolster the defensive line or the offensive trenches. They could also target a wide receiver or a cornerback. Either way, they must make upgrades to the roster if they want to keep up with the Houston Texans, last year's division champions, in 2024.

Why fixing the offensive line is the Jaguars' top priority this offseason?

Dave Davenport is right when he says the Jacksonville Jaguars must fix the offensive line. Last year, they could get the running game going and Trevor Lawrence was pressured at an alarming rate. In particular, the front office must address the center position. Third-year pro Luke Fortner struggled, taking a step back after flashing as a rookie. Also, the front office must take a look at the left guard spot, with Ezra Cleveland scheduled to hit the open market.

As Davenport noted, Cam Robinson could be released but there's also a chance the Jaguars could trade him. While he's not a Pro Bowl-caliber player, teams in need of a left tackle could offer a third-round pick for him. Regardless of what the Jags decide to do with Robinson, they have a pair of potential in-house replacements in Walker Little and Anton Harrison.

Little stepped in Robinson's place and fared well when Robinson served a four-game suspension to start the season. But if the Jags aren't sold on Little, the coaching staff could then move Harrison to left tackle, his natural position. On the defensive side of the ball, the cornerback room could most definitely use some help. Tyson Campbell and Darious Williams, last year's starters, are set to become free agents in 2025. It would be a good idea to start looking for their potential replacements this offseason.

Heading into the draft, the Jags have been linked to Nate Wiggins or Cooper DeJean, two of the top cornerback prospects in this year's batch. They could select either one and let them learn behind Willams and Campbell. On top of that, Jacksonville will need a nickel if veteran Tre Herndon walks in free agency.

The bottom line is that the Jacksonville Jaguars must bolster their offensive line and their cornerback room. Doing so would most definitely increase their chances of returning to the playoffs in 2024.

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