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Jacksonville Jaguars Writers
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New head coach Doug Pederson and offensive coordinator Press Taylor have worked together since Pederson's time as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and will likely bring similar offensive preferences to Jacksonville. During his career, Pederson has prioritized maximizing time of possession with a run-heavy approach while attacking down the field with athletic tight ends, a philosophy that has been effective at simplifying the game for struggling quarterbacks.
- C.J. Beathard, E.J. Perry
Trevor Lawrence was thought to be a once-in-a-lifetime type of prospect, but his first season in the NFL was anything but a dream. The Jaguars were just a bad overall team, and a lot of the blame has gone to the coaching staff and mistakes in 2021. We move on to 2022, and Lawrence gets a new chance to redeem himself in his sophomore season. Doug Pederson is now Jacksonville's coach and should be a night and day difference for Lawrence's quarterback development. Lawrence is coming off a rookie season where he played a full 17-game season and finished as the QB22. He threw for 3,641 yards with 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions and also rushed the ball 73 times for 334 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He is looking to make a big leap in production in 2022, and the Jaguars are looking to put a miserable 2021 season behind them and move on in the Doug Pederson era.
Lawrence is always going to be the guy in Jacksonville, but the team will still need a couple of veterans behind him just in case. C.J. Beathard looks to be the second guy on the depth chart right now as he has some NFL experience and could be slotted in if needed, but it is less than ideal. E.J. Perry is also on the depth chart so expect a battle between Beathard and Perry to win backup duties behind Lawrence.
The Jaguars currently have one of the more interesting running back groups, with James Robinson and Travis Etienne coming off of injury-riddled seasons. Etienne didn't even get a chance to touch the field last season as he was injured before the season even started, Robinson played in 14 games and finished with 989 total yards and eight rushing touchdowns. Robinson has shown that he can be a productive player when he is on the field. As for Etienne, he has all the draft capital to his name and was set up nicely to have a productive rookies season before the injury. Both are now past the injuries and practicing and preparing to play in Week 1.
The depth behind both James Robinson and Travis Etienne is very thin right now, with the Jaguars only having Ryquell Armstead, Mekhi Sargent, and Nathan Cottrell with guys that have game experience from 2021, but even with that, they only saw four games and 17 carries combined. Snoop Conner was a fifth-round draft pick this year, and he looks to jump the pack here and become the third running back on the depth chart.
The big news here is the addition to Christian Kirk and the big money that the Jaguars were willing to give him. He will instantly be a big boost for sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence as he can do it all on the field at all the wide receiver positions. Kirk is coming off his best season - he posted 77/982/5 stat line for the Cardinals - and will be looked upon to do the same or better this season in Jacksonville. To pair with Kirk it will be Marvin Jones Jr Jr and Laviska Shenault Jr Jr that look to have the other top three wide receiver positions on lockdown. Jones was the team's best wide receiver last year with a 73/832/4 stat line. With Kirk in the mix, it could help take some of the pressure off of Jones, and he should be able to continue his success. Shenault, on the other hand, was primed to have a breakout season last year but somewhat fell flat, catching 63 passes for 619 yards but scoring zero touchdowns in his 16-game season. Zay Jones was another offseason signing for the Jaguars, and he came on strong at the end of the year for the Raiders, including their playoff game. He has the potential to overtake Shenault as the third receiving option. Jones caught 47 passes for 546 yards and a touchdown with the Raiders last season.
Behind the top four receivers on the depth chart will be Jamal Agnew and Laquon Treadwell looking for playing time. They both were forced into action last season and did what they could when given the opportunity. Agnew played in seven games catching 24 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown. Treadwell played in 12 games posting a 33/434/1 stat line. It is thin after that, with names like Terry Godwin, Josh Hammond, Jeff Cotton, and Tim Jones on the depth chart.
With the additions of Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, the Jaguars also spent some money on Evan Engram. Engram has had an up-and-down career so far in New York, but a change of scenery might be exactly what is needed. Since having his breakout rookie season in 2017, where he went 64/722/6, he has yet to top 654 yards or more than three touchdowns in a season. This looks like the perfect situation for Engram to prove himself again as the Jaguars are in transition on offense and with their coaches, and 2022 looks like a nice bounce-back season for the entire offense. Behind Engram, it is Dan Arnold, who will be next in line to make an impact on offense. Arnold played ten games in 2021 before getting injured and secured a modest 35/408/0 stat line. The Jaguars also have Chris Manhertz in the mix along with Luke Farrell and have some underrated depth at the position.
- LT Cam Robinson
- LG Tyler Shatley
- C Luke Fortner [R]
- RG Brandon Scherff
- RT Jawaan Taylor
- Ben Bartch, Walker Little, Will Richardson
The tackles of Cam Robinson (franchise tagged) and JaWaan Taylor grade out fine. This group starts the season with a low grade after center Brandon Linder retired. Former All-Pro Brandon Scherff arrives from Washington to man the right guard spot, but the left guard and center positions are still up in the air. Veteran Tyler Shatley has taken over the left guard position, and rookie Luke Fortner (third round, Kentucky) will start at center. Once this lineup settles, their team grade can improve.
- James McCourt, Jake Verity
Matthew Wright was the most experienced kicker on the Jaguars roster after the draft, but the team chose to release him, leaving Santoso and an undrafted free agent, Mevis, as the only kickers on the roster. Santoso made 4-of-5 field goals with Carolina and Detroit last year but only converted 6-of-8 extra points. Mevis was not considered one of the top kickers in this class, coming out of Iowa State, and he was released before every really having a chance to win a job. Then the team signed Elliott Fry, only to release him before the end of camp. Santoso was also released, leaving the team without a kicker until they claimed James McCourt and Jake Verity when they were released before the third preseason game.
Jamal Agnew's career as a returner has been up and down since earning All Pro honors as a rookie in 2017. Despite a career-best 102-yard kickoff return touchdown, 2021 was more down than up as the former cornerback transitioned to wide receiver. Still, Agnew has enough experience and history of success to anticipate a bounce-back year in 2022.
Jamal Agnew's career as a returner has been up and down since earning All Pro honors as a rookie in 2017. While he showed strides in limiting fumbles, 2021 was more down than up as the former cornerback transitioned to wide receiver. Still, Agnew has enough experience and history of success to anticipate a bounce-back year in 2022.
The 2021 season was just as forgettable on the defensive side of the ball as it was on offense, even though Urban Meyer wasn't involved. The team finished last in takeaways with a laughable nine, in the bottom five in points allowed, and in the bottom 10 in sacks. Mike Caldwell takes over a defense that will add No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker as they transition to 3-4 base, and they made major upgrades at inside linebacker, moving back into the first round to take Devin Lloyd (Utah) and signing Foye Oluokun to a three-year, $45 million deal. The corner group is looking stronger with the addition of Darious Williams in free agency, so there's hope for growth here. The team opens with Carson Wentz, so there are worse Week 1 streamers, but we'll probably look for this group to come together later in the season, like Lovie Smith's unit did last year in Houston.
Malcolm Brown is the big-body man you don't want to meet at the line of scrimmage. At 6-foot-2 and 320 pounds, the eighth-year man out of Texas has shown consistency in the interior line. After a run of three lower-than-normal years of production, he returned to his first-round pick form and compiled 56 tackles and two sacks last year. He returns to the team at his defensive end position, but considering the defensive scheme they run, it will be mostly an interior role. He has the body to continue to produce in this scheme.
Next in line here is Roy Robertson-Harris. Last year was his best in the league so far after the team signed him to a three-year, $23.4 million deal. Free agent pickup Foley Fatukasi (New York Jets) will anchor the middle, especially on running downs. His three-year, $30 million deal indicates the team sees him as a core piece of the defensive line.
One of the key rotational defensive ends is Smoot. He is more of the traditional defensive end and weighs 40lbs less, but is two inches taller than his counterpart on the line. In his six years of production, he has consistently gotten to the quarterback and averages around five to six sacks a year. Look for him to continue imposing his will on the line this year. The 27-year-old still has a few more years of prime production and shows no signs of slowing down. Going into his third year, Davon Hamilton will be playing nose tackle on the line when Fatukasi needs a break. At 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds, he is the most physically imposing player on this defensive line but is also the least experienced. A third-round pick out of Ohio State picked in 2020, he now sees himself near the end of his rookie deal with opportunity knocking at his door.
The team also brought back Adam Gotsis after the draft to give them quality depth up front that they are familiar with from his play last year.
- ILB Chapelle Russell, OLB Arden Key, ILB Shaquille Quarterman, OLB K'Lavon Chaisson, ILB Chad Muma [R], OLB Arden Key
The new men on campus are Foyesade Oloukun and Devin Lloyd. Oluokun signed a 3-year deal worth $45 million to be the middle linebacker for the Jaguars. This move comes on the heels of the team moving away from Myles Jack. Jacksonville is known for having fantasy-relevant stud linebackers (Telvin Smith Sr and Paul Posluszny). Adding LB1 from last year can only mean one thing, production! This is a slam dunk signing and one that all IDP managers need to recognize. He should make an immediate impact on the position. The team traded back into the first round to get Lloyd, who can do everything and should also be an instant impact IDP. A familiar face for the Jags, Josh Allen is their best threat to disrupt the quarterback. Last year he finished with 71 tackles and 7.5 sacks he now finds himself alongside one of the league's premier linebackers from a year ago. The former first-round pick has lived up to expectations and looks to continue his production this year. This year's #1 overall pick, Travon Walker, will start outside opposite Allen but can also kick inside on both pass and rush downs and has the size and skill set to play multiple positions in the defense.
The Achilles heel of this defense appears to be the lack of any notable players at the backup linebacker position other than former first-rounder K'Lavon Chaisson, who has not lived up to the hefty draft expectations albeit only having two years to do so. This year will be make-or-break, but with the myriad of players in this edge/end position, there is a chance he gets lost in the shuffle. Chapelle Russel was the only player who put up any statistics worth noting, but it was for Tampa Bay and he was a seventh-round rookie who was cut. He was credited for 18 tackles, which doesn't seem like much but was only six short of the rest of the backups combined (24). This is a severe question mark going into next year.
- CB Chris Claybrooks, S Andre Cisco, S Daniel Thomas, S Johnathan Ford, CB Tre Herndon, CB Montaric Brown [R], CB Gregory Junior [R]
The strongest unit as far as stats determine of this defense is undoubtedly the defensive backs. Each of the four starters contributed, although the team's passing defense finished 25th in the league. To start, Darious Williams had 71 tackles and nine defended passes in what was his best career year to this point. The undrafted man from UAB is going into his fourth year playing, and if last year is any indication, he may have found himself a home in this Jacksonville defense. Another contributor last year was Rayshawn Jenkins. He compiled 73 total tackles but not much else a year after he posted career highs in all stat categories. This downturn may have been in part to the emergence of Andrew Wingard. Wingard had 88 tackles, one sack, and one pick in just 15 games played. Last but certainly not least is corner Shaquill Griffin. Griffin has been the face of this secondary since Jalen Ramsey departed from the team but didn't have the stats to match the headline name for the first time. Finishing with career lows in tackles, picks, and passes defended, the Jags can't afford for him to have another down year, especially in the prime of his young career. A young bright spot in a sea of confusion, cornerback Tyson Campbell had a nice rookie year compiling 72 tackles, two picks, and ten defended passes. The first pick in the second round, he has lived up to the draft spot in year one, and the sky is the limit for what he can achieve if he can build on this year.
Johnathan Ford also had a nice year for a player on limited snaps achieving 53 tackles and three defended passes in only 15 games. Last year was the most he's contributed in his six total years, but he showed us he can make a play when given an opportunity. 2021 third-round pick Andre Cisco will push to start along as the team has high hopes for him. Herndon was a starter going into 2021 and will provide strong depth behind the team's top three corners. Junior, Brown, and Claybrooks will compete for roster spots along with Ford, who has some cornerback/safety versatility.