The Jacksonville Jaguars are projected to win the AFC South for the second straight year. One big reason is the presence of Trevor Lawrence, without a doubt the best quarterback in the division right now. Not surprisingly, he made an appearance in a team Jared Dubin of CBS Sports put together.
Dubin built a team with only AFC South players and picked Trevor Lawrence at quarterback, noting that he's on the rise heading into the 2023 season.
"Lawrence is an ascending star who is getting a new No. 1 receiver dropped into his offense after completing 69.7% of his passes at an average of 7.4 yards per attempt, with 15 touchdowns against just two interceptions over the final nine games of last season. He's going to smash this year. "
Lawrence, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft, had a rough rookie campaign but showed considerable improvement last year. He's expected to take yet another leap this upcoming season.
The third-year quarterback wasn't the only skilled position player that made Dubin's All-AFC South team though. Travis Etienne filled the slot at running back while Calvin Ridley and Christian Kirk both got the nod at wide receiver. Dubin cites Etienne's explosiveness as a runner as the reason he picked him over Derrick Henry and Dameon Pierce.
On defense, three Jaguars made the cut: Outside linebacker Josh Allen, linebacker Foyesade Oluokun, and cornerback Tyson Campbell. All three are some of Jacksonville's most important players on defense and they'll all play a big role in the team's fortunes next season.
In particular, Allen must prove he's an elite pass rusher. He's certainly flashed the potential to dominate and cause disruption but he needs to do it on a consistent basis if the Jags want to successfully get after the quarterback in 2023. Campbell, for his part, is an ascending talent who has established himself as a top-10 cornerback in the league. If he keeps playing at a high level, he'll get mainstream recognition next season.
On the other hand, Oluokun signed with the Jaguars last year and became a mainstay of the defense right away. On top of that, he became a leader of the team on and off the team. Last but not least, it's good to see Jacksonville's special teams get recognition. Jamal Agnew is one of the best returners in the league and if he can stay healthy, he will be a game-changer next season.
The Jaguars have lots of representation in the All-AFC South team
Picking Trevor Lawrence was a no-brainer. He's the best quarterback in the division bar none. Ryan Tannehill was a fine passer early in his stint with the Tennessee Titans but he's coming off a down season. Maybe he can bounce back in 2023 but even if he does, it's hard to see him performing better than Lawrence. On the other hand, Anthony Richardson and C.J. Stroud are a couple of promising players but they'll probably need a couple seasons before they get legitimate consideration.
For the running back slot, it was a bit surprising to see Travis Etienne getting the nod over Derrick Henry. The former had yet another productive season in 2022 but he could experience a decline at any time. Meanwhile, Etienne is in his prime and showed how productive he can be last year, when he totaled over 1,414 yards from scrimmage.
While it would have been nice to see Andre Cisco at safety, the division is stacked at the position. Julian Blackmon and Kevin Byard are fine choices all things considered. But if Cisco has a breakout season as expected, he could be named in the same breath as their AFC South counterparts.
You could argue that there were other Jaguars deserving of a spot on the team but the truth is that there are lots of talented players in the AFC South and it was going to be hard to leave them out. But regardless of how many of their players made the cut, Jacksonville has enough firepower to seize the division once again in 2023.