Jacksonville Jaguars land in bottom half of CBS Sports' roster building ranking

Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson (right) and general manager Trent Baalke (left) talks to media.
Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson (right) and general manager Trent Baalke (left) talks to media. / Juston Lewis/Florida Times-Union / USA

General manager Trent Baalke has done his part to put the Jacksonville Jaguars in a position to compete in 2023. However, Garrett Powell of CBS Sports doesn't think it wasn't nearly enough to give the Jags a top spot in his roster building ranking.

Powell recently ranked every NFL team based on the roster moves they made this offseason and placed Jacksonville at No. 19, noting that they had a solid draft and should benefit from having continuity at several positions.

"The Jaguars spent a top of money last offseason to upgrade their roster, but their biggest 2023 offseason "acquisition" is No. 1 receiver Calvin Ridley being reinstated from his gambling suspension. Yes, they acquired him in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons last November, but Ridley is actually allowed to join the team now.

The last season the 28-year-old played in full was 2020 when he totaled 1,374 receiving yards, the fifth most in the entire league. Christian Kirk is one of the best slot receivers in the league, but Ridley gives Lawrence a true outside guy."

Powell goes on to say that the Jaguars should use whatever cap space they have left to bolster their pass rush but even if they don't do it, they're in a favorable position to remain at the top of the AFC South.

As Powell noted, the Jaguars went on a spending spree last year and went on to acquire players such as wide receiver Christian Kirk and linebacker Foyesade Oluokun that went on to fill huge roles. However, Jacksonville didn't have nearly as many roster holes nor cap space this offsason, so they focused on keeping most of their own players and adding depth to a handful of position groups.

Heading into the 2023 season, Trevor Lawrence's supporting cast ranked ninth in the league, so it's fair to say that the Jaguars should be able to keep winning despite the fact that they weren't nearly as aggressive as other clubs in free agency.

The Jacksonville Jaguars took a smart approach to roster building in 2023

You could make the case that the Jaguars should have been more active in free agency, especially if they're serious about making a deep playoff run. However, there are many reasons they should get praise for how they handled the offseason. For starters, the organization restacked the roster last offseason but they now want to groom their own players. This is why they entered the draft with nine picks but ended up making 13.

But more importantly, the Jaguars are taking a long-term approach, already planning for the next two or three years. You could see the early signs of this strategy when they traded for Calvin Ridley. Despite the fact that Ridley couldn't join the team at the time because he was serving a suspension, Jacksonville was aware of his playmaking skills and knew he can develop into a key cog on the offense.

This year, the Jags opted not to make splash signings because they will fork out a significant amount of cash to pay the likes of outside linebacker Josh Allen, Trevor Lawrence, tight end Evan Engram (maybe), and Ridley himself. Hence, the emphasis on drafting and developing players this offseason to replenish the roster in the future.

And that's the thing, the Jacksonville Jaguars have found players such as Lawrence to build around, so they need to ensure they stay in place and replace other contributors that might not be as indispensable to the team's success. Either way, the Jags are set to compete in 2023, even if they got a not-so-great spot in the roster-building ranking.

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