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Thompson’s In-Depth Power Rankings: #23 Jacksonville Jaguars

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The Jacksonville Jaguars had one of the busiest offseasons. With a new general manager, head coach, and a new franchise signal-caller, the Jaguars rank 23rd in the power rankings after finishing with the worst record in the NFL in 2020.

Be sure to check out all of my in-depth power rankings.

Offseason Recap

The Jaguars hired Trent Baalke and Urban Meyer as their new one-two punch as GM and head coach. Meyer hired Darell Bevell and Joe Cullen as the offensive and defensive coordinators. In free agency, Baalke immediately got to work to try and turn around the roster. Shaquill Griffin was the prized free-agent signing who was awarded a three-year contract worth $40 million. Continuing to reshape the secondary, Rayshawn Jenkins was signed on a four-year deal. The Jaguars also signed Roy Robertson-Harris, who was very underrated during his time in Chicago. Marvin Jones was signed to be the veteran of a young receiving core.

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Of course, the draft was the big focal point of the offseason, as the Jaguars had two first-round picks, including the first overall pick. It was no surprise that Trevor Lawrence was the first pick and had been the whole way. The Jaguars made an interesting decision when they took a running back in the first round after James Robinson rushed for over 1,000 yards as an undrafted rookie last season. Meyer doesn’t care about your fantasy teams. With that second first-round selection, Jacksonville selected Lawrence’s college running back, Travis Etienne.

As well as the two first-round picks, the Jaguars had two second-round selections as well, which they used on Tyson Campbell and Walker Little. Campbell will likely battle for a starting role, while Little appears to be the future left tackle with Cam Robinson playing on the franchise tag. Andre Cisco was the other day two selection who will battle for playing time in the secondary. The day three selections were focused on the front seven and surrounding Lawrence with more weapons.

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  • Overall – 78.84 (23rd) 
  • Offense – 80.29 (19th) 
  • Defense – 73.95 (27th) 
  • Coach and Culture – 72.75 (28th) 
Quarterbacks – 82.5, 14th (26 percent Overall, 39 percent Offense)

While this may be a bit of a hot take, this is expecting Lawrence to become one of the top-tier quarterbacks in the league right off the bat. While Meyer has said that he still has a lot of work to do, there is virtually no way that Lawrence isn’t the starter in Week 1 barring injury. Lawrence was the best quarterback in the draft class, and the Jaguars are lucky to have him this year. The biggest question is how quickly Lawrence gets accustomed to the NFL. He will endure some growing pains, but there is plenty to be excited about as a Jaguar fan. 

With Jacksonville taking Lawrence, Gardner Minshew has been in many trade talks due to the knowledge that the Jaguars were taking Minshew. As of this article, the former starter is still on the roster, but he is a perfect starting-caliber backup that has the potential to be a top 20 starter but has a lower ceiling than many NFL teams would like.

Jake Luton started against the Packers last year and held them within Green Bay for most of the game. Unfortunately, similar to Minshew, the Jaguars didn’t feel comfortable with either of the two as starters enough to derail them from taking Lawrence with the first pick. Jacksonville also signed C.J. Beathard to compete with Luton for the third quarterback spot.

Running Backs – 83, 15th (4 percent Overall, 5 percent Offense)

With Etienne coming in as a first-round pick, the Jaguars have some plans for him, whether that be as a running back or as a receiver. Many, including myself, were critical of the Etienne selection due to the other needs across the roster. With Robinson already on the roster, Etienne will likely be much more of a pass-catching back while Robinson gets a lot of the running work. Robinson had over 1,400 yards from scrimmage, and the duo of him and Etienne will give opposing defensive coordinators nightmares.

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Carlos Hyde returns once again to Jacksonville after two years away from the team. He will likely be the third running back on the depth chart and may get some goal-line work here and there, but the top two will get the majority of the touches from the backfield. Dare Ogunbowale and Devine Ozigbo were both late-round draft pick in recent drafts that will fight for the final roster spot and any scraps of snaps.

Pass Catchers – 83, 18th (10 percent Overall, 16 percent Offense) 
Receivers

D.J. Chark blew up onto the scene in 2019 after a poor rookie season in 2018. In 2019, he had over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns, and he can transform into a number one receiver. Last year he had to deal with some nagging injuries and only played in 13 games. While he didn’t have the same level of production in his third year, many were because of the revolving door at the quarterback position that Jacksonville had last year towards the end of the season.

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Another addition in free agency was Marvin Jones. The veteran makes his way over to Jacksonville after not being re-signed by the Lions this offseason. He comes off of a season where he had almost 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns for Detroit. He will likely be the number two receiver on the boundary opposite of Chark. One player that is sure to get an uptick in touches and production is Laviska Shenault. He was a second-round selection last year, and even with the uncertainty at quarterback, Shenault showed he has a bright future ahead of him in Jacksonville.

Who Is the Fourth Receiver?

Collin Johnson had a solid rookie season last year as he had almost 300 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson is likely a contested-catch threat at best and this may be the best he gets in his career. Jamal Agnew was a hefty free-agent signing for some reason as Agnew makes his way to Jacksonville with Bevell. Phillip Dorsett is the veteran of the group, but he may not even make the team depending on how Jalen Camp and Josh Imatorbhebhe do during camp and the preseason. Imatorbhebhe has already made waves during camp, and it would be no surprise if the Jaguars kept him on the active roster to start the season. Terry Godwin will likely be fighting for his roster spot this season and will have to greatly surprise in camp.

Tight Ends

After a good receiver group, the tight end group is a massive letdown. Chris Manhertz will likely be the starter this year, and he isn’t much of a receiving tight end. James O’Shaughnessy is a more balanced player who has been with Jacksonville for a while now. Neither of the two are starting-caliber tight ends. Luke Farrell was one of the best blocking tight ends in the class this year of rookies and likely will be featured on two tight-end sets.

Tyler Davis, Ben Ellefson, and Tim Tebow will likely be battling for the final roster spot as a tight end. The media scrutinized the Tebow signing greatly, but him making the switch from quarterback to tight end was something that needed to be done. Thankfully for him, the tight end group in Jacksonville doesn’t have a superstar, and he could very well be seeing the field sooner than expected for the Jaguars.

Running Backs

Etienne will be the Jacksonville version of Alvin Kamara. He will immediately become a great receiving back, while Robinson will likely be relegated to a lesser role in the passing attack. There were some talks of Etienne potentially be playing slot receiver instead of running back, but those have mostly been put to bed. Hyde and Ogunbowale will factor in here and there as well.

Offensive Line – 77.5, 19th (13 percent Overall, 19 percent Offense) 

The two tackle spots are the most important positions on the offensive line. For some reason, those are the two weak spots on the offensive line, with Robinson and Taylor in those spots currently. Robinson has never been a top-tier tackle and hasn’t developed and is primarily a low-level starter at this point in his career. Taylor suffered a big fall in the draft, but he hasn’t developed much and needs to take a massive leap in his third season. The Little pick was a good one and will likely signal the end of Robinson’s time as a Jaguar following this season. Little hasn’t played football since 2019, where he only played in one game before an injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season before opting out of the 2020 season due to Covid.

The interior offensive line is much better than the tackle situation. Brandon Linder is one of the best centers in the league and never gets enough talk in that realm. Norwell is another solid player that has gotten a lot of starting experience at left guard, and A.J. Cann is returning from last year as well. Ben Bartch and Tyler Shatley are great depth to have behind the three starters.

While the interior of the offensive line has a lot of hype around it, the tackle situation drastically brings this grade down. The tackle question marks are a massive concern for any team, and the Jaguars have debatably one of the worst tackle duos in the league. If Taylor doesn’t develop, the Jaguars could be in a lot of trouble at the tackle position.

Run Defense – 73.5, 30th (2 percent Overall, 5 percent Defense) 
Defensive Line

Jacksonville made the run defense a big focus during the offseason. Malcolm Brown, Jay Tufele, and Robertson-Harris were added during the offseason to get an uptick in production from the run defense. Davon Hamilton will likely start at nose tackle due to how much draft stock the Jaguars put into him, as well as the Ohio State bias that will occur with Meyer at the helm. At the ends of Hamilton are Robertson-Harris and Taven Bryan. Robertson-Harris had limited playing time during his time in Chicago and was surrounded by many other superstars but makes his way to Jacksonville to start at one of the defensive end spots. Bryan is a former first-round pick that hasn’t lived up to the potential that he had as a first-round prospect but has finally seemed to have found his footing.

Brown will be a backup and is a better run defender than Hamilton right now, but the Jaguars need to see how good the former Ohio State product can be. Doug Costin was an undrafted free agent following last year but impressed as a run defender last year. Tufele, Jihad Ward, and Adam Gotsis will round out the roster from the interior standpoint.

Edge Defenders

Josh Allen is going to be one of the top young pass-rushers in the league this year. Unfortunately, he isn’t the best-run defender by any means. Then, there is K’Lavon Chaisson, who was a complete liability as a run defender last year. With the Jaguars trying to develop last year’s first-round pick, he will be on the field a ton, making him more susceptible to his weaknesses in run defending. Leon Jacobs could fill in for Chaisson on early downs and played as a hybrid linebacker/edge rusher during his time at Wisconsin, which is similar to the scheme that Jacksonville will be running this season.

Dawuane Smoot is similar to Jacobs and could find more playing time on early downs to keep Chaisson fresh on passing downs. Jordan Smith was a day three selection this year, who is primarily a pass-rush specialist and struggled to get off blocks using power at UAB.

Off-Ball Linebackers

Myles Jack is a stout run defender that is one of the most underrated players in the league. He is a complete linebacker that almost every team in the NFL would love to have. Joe Schobert is a fine run defender, who won’t wow you very much in anything, and is overpaid by the Jaguars.

Shaquille Quarterman has a lot of upside as a thumping linebacker who didn’t get much playing time as a fourth-round rookie out of Miami last year. Damien Wilson is another veteran depth piece who likely won’t find the field much this year unless an injury were to occur to one of the top two. Quincy Williams has seemingly busted since being a day two selection a few years ago and doesn’t fit very well into the new scheme that is being implemented. Dylan Moses is a darkhorse in this room. He was once a hyped first-round prospect out of Alabama, but injuries derailed his collegiate career, and he wasn’t the same player in 2020. Jacksonville picked him up as an undrafted free agent this year and is a good run defender that could make the roster if he impresses in training camp.

Pass Rush – 72.5, 30th (12 percent Overall, 25 percent Defense)

Outside of Allen, the pass-rush unit is lackluster. He struggled last year with injuries, and he is hoping to get back to his rookie season form. Chaisson struggled in his rookie season, and he may be battling for snaps with Smoot after the Jaguars extended him following the season. Of course, during the draft process, it was known that Chaisson would need time to develop as a pass-rusher and needed to develop more pass-rush moves instead of relying on pure athleticism. I was higher on Smith than most through the pre-draft process, and he could see the field sooner than expected if Chaisson continues to struggle. Unfortunately, the two are very similar in terms of their skillset, and both need time to develop. Again, Jacobs could find more playing time in this group as a hybrid player.

The interior defensive line is even worse. Robertson-Harris has never been more than a fourth option on the Chicago pass-rush, and Bryan is in a make-or-break season in his final year on his rookie deal. Ward and Tufele are the only other two that could make big impacts on the interior of the defensive line.

Linebackers – 85, 10th (5 percent Overall, 13 percent Defense)

The linebacking unit is stout and is the best unit on the team. Jack is a massively underrated player in the league and is one of the best at what he does in the league. He is a top-seven linebacker, and the Jaguars have a great player on the second level of their defense. Schobert is fine, but not a player worth what he is getting paid currently.

Behind those two, there will be a battle for the next man up. Wilson has some starting experience from his time in Kansas City, so maybe he’s next in line, but it will be difficult for the Jaguars not to give Quarterman some reps with the draft capital invested in him from last year. Williams could be used as a dime linebacker on third-down situations, but his fit is ultimately unknown in the new scheme. Moses is the big question mark here. If he makes the team, he could potentially have some of his pre-2019 form back, but if not, it will be sad to see such a promising career dragged down due to injuries.

Secondary – 75, 24th (13 percent Overall, 27 percent Defense)
Cornerbacks

The secondary is going to be an adventure of question marks and intrigue. Cullen is coming from Baltimore, who used a lot of man coverage, which fits very well with how the top three cornerbacks appear to be best at. C.J. Henderson had an up-and-down rookie season when he was used in zone coverage a lot. Griffin is coming over from the Seattle scheme, which also uses a lot of zone coverage. Both of the two appear to be the boundary cornerbacks, who both fit well in the new scheme. Campbell will likely be the third cover man, who will also be used a lot as the nickel cornerback. He was phenomenal in man coverage during his time at Georgia.

Sidney Jones and Tre Herndon could battle for the nickel role but are great depth to have as the fourth and fifth cornerbacks. DJ Daniel was an undrafted free agent pickup that could potentially make the team as the sixth cornerback. Overall, there is a lot of intrigue in the cornerback room. With a new scheme, you can’t rank the group too highly just yet, but there is a lot of promise in this room between the top three.

Safeties 

The safety room has a lot of question marks as well. Jenkins was brought over in free agency on a lofty contract. He is a quality starter that drastically upgrades the safety room. Jarrod Wilson is a similar player, so once again, it will be interesting to see what kind of coverages the Jaguars use this year. Cisco could factor in immediately as a third-round pick, but it could take some time for him to enter the lineup.

Andrew Wingard has been a pleasant surprise as an undrafted free agent from a few years ago and could battle for one of the starting spots. Josh Jones was once a second-round pick of the Green Bay Packers, who showed some promise last year, but with reinforcements added, he will likely be relegated to being primarily a special teams player. Daniel Thomas is an intriguing player, but, similar to Jones, it is unknown if he will get a chance to be on the field. Rudy Ford is another name to note.

Coach and Culture – 72.75, 18th (15 percent Overall, 21 percent Offense, 30 percent Defense)
Offense

Offensively, it will be interesting to see what kind of scheme the Jaguars run. Bevell and Meyer will likely work with Lawrence and find out what kind of system he wants to run. Bevell has been known to run the ball a ton, so the selection of Etienne to pair with Robinson fits well with what he wants to do. While the offense remains largely intact, including all five starters along the offensive line, the emergence of a new starting quarterback and staff brings the grade down, especially because of the culture that Meyer has. He has brought his college-style approach to the NFL and has already gotten fined by the NFL as of this week. Jacksonville ranks 24th in offensive coach and culture.

Defense

While a lot of the pieces remain the same offensively, the same can’t be said for the defense. The Jaguars could potentially have up to seven new starters on the defensive side of the ball. The presence of Jack and Allen is nice, but there is a revolving door at almost every other position besides Allen’s, the two linebacker spots, and Henderson’s cornerback spot. There is a lot youth being used in the secondary, and with a new scheme and a lot of moving pieces with a new coaching staff, the defense could take a while to look its best. The Jaguars rank 30th in defensive coach and culture.

Season Outlook

It is a new era in Jacksonville. There is a new quarterback with a new coaching staff, which brings a lot of excitement. Even with those new additions, there are a lot of moving pieces, which is difficult in the NFL. Nothing goes fantastic at first, so don’t expect the Jaguars to come out and make the playoffs this season.

The Jaguars have a fairly easy first half of the schedule. Games against Houston, Denver, Arizona, Cincinnati, Tennessee, and Miami before the bye week is a nice stretch to the season. Unfortunately, the next four games are a scary stretch of games against the Seahawks, Bills, Colts, and 49ers. The ending stretch isn’t any better either with another game against the Titans and Colts, plus games against the Rams and Patriots.

According to Odds Shark, the Jaguars have an over/under of 6.5 wins. Take the under. This is an ambitious win total for a team that only won one game last year. While there is a lot to be excited about, the Jaguars will be very lucky to get to seven or eight wins. 

Season Prediction: 6-11

*NOTE* Some teams higher in the rankings will have worse records than others. The rankings aren’t based upon the record but the overall talent of the roster. 


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