The NFL season is two months away! As Jaguar fans, we now have hope for a winning season! Unfortunately, there are some significant holes on a young and energetic roster, which could be worsened with injuries and Covid-19. If the team doesn’t succeed this year, there could be a complete revamping of key positions on the field, but also of coaches and general managers. With that being said, the Jaguars have an easier opening strength of schedule in which the team could start out hot. The team needs to win three to four of its first six games, as the second-half schedule is difficult and largely playing away games. Therefore, this is a list of players for Jaguars who will have a significant impact on the season.
Make sure to check out all of our other team award predictions here.
MVP: Gardner Minshew
This team goes as far as Minshew goes. That said, the Jaguars have not set Minshew up to succeed. Yet Minshew is somewhat special, he is able to elevate the play of his teammates around him. This is why Minshew will be the MVP of the team for me. His play makes the players around him look better than they actually are, which a quarterback hasn’t done in Jacksonville since David Garrard. How does he make others better? For a majority of passes, he threw with anticipation and quickness helping the offensive line with their pass blocking.
Expect the ball to be out of Minshews hands even quicker this year as the scheme is built to throw with quickness, anticipation, rhythm. It was ultimately the accuracy on some of the touch passes that was questionable with his receivers last year, whether it was miss timing or not being on the same page as the receivers, another year of chemistry will help.
Moreover, he’s got this swagger and attitude that energizes the team. It’s an intangible quality in which many great passers have that will make Minshew successful. As a rushing threat and scrambler, Minshew is underrated as an athlete, but was smart when running, knowing when to pick up easy yardage and when to throw it away. Expect fewer scrambles, but still lots of rushing yards.
Let’s talk about the most special part of Minshew, his clutchness – or his ability to bring back a team, when all hopes are down and when the pressure is on. This ability was on display in the Broncos game (week four) where he led the team to a comeback. This clutchness is why Minshew could be the next quarterback of the future, and why he will not only entrenched himself as the starter for years to come but ultimately succeed in the league.
Offensive Player: DJ Chark
Chark is a specimen when it comes receiver types. He’s one of the few receivers who is 6’3 and runs in the 4.3s. Chark is also apart of the smaller group of receivers who excel at tracking the ball, making contested catches, and have incredible body control all with his size and speed. Furthermore, he’s also one of the better ball trackers in the league as shown on his deep ball plays. Chark is easily one of the more talented receivers in the league, but lots of his receptions came on 15 yards or more downfield.
Chark is largely a downfield threat, so really the question for the year is if he can adapt and fit Jay Gruden‘s short passing scheme. While I have some concerns, Chark’s physical talent will make him successful in this offense and make others in the league recognize him as one of the top end receivers in the league.
Defensive Player: Josh Allen
Allen was one of the best players the jaguars had last year and that was as a rookie. If Allen’s progression as a dominant edge rusher continues, he’ll be unstoppable. Allen has the potential to lead the league in sacks year to year, it is just about consistency. While fans should expect more double teams, I only expect his stats and impact to get better.
Offensive Rookie: Laviska Shenault Jr.
My hope for Shenault in his rookie year is for him to learn how to play outside receiver. We already know that Shenault is gonna be a great gadget player and that he can almost be a running back. That being said, the quick passing game will allow Shenault to get the ball in space and do what he does best- run after catch. Expect to see some nasty highlights and possible offensive rookie of the year hype.
Defensive Rookie: C.J. Henderson
Henderson is going to excel in one on ones and man coverage. He will be smooth, have a couple of pass deflections, and likely be the best corner at the end of the year. The concerns are on zone coverage and tackling, as I don’t think those are his strong suits. So expect an up and down year where Henderson plays against a number receiver and does well, but also gives up touchdowns and yards in other games.
Biggest Surprise: Jawaan Taylor
Folks, we have a bookend tackle who could be the cornerstone piece of the offense for years to come. Aside from the penalties, Taylor had a fine rookie year and should only improve his technique. His foot speed and power are unmatched for a guy his size. With more experience at right tackle and utilizing
Biggest Disappointment: K’Lavon Chaisson
After two months of thinking about this pick, I think it has the potential to be one of the best picks in the long term. However, in the 2020 season, Chaisson is going to disappoint statistics wise for a number of reasons. The biggest reason is he’s not polished enough, meaning he lacks play to play consistency. On pass rushing downs, in his 2019 season Chaisson didn’t have the moves either. The best thing for Chiasson’s development is for him to polish his technique. Ultimately, Chiasson needs a year to develop and it will hinder his stats output, but in year two he should have a significant breakout.
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