Jacksonville should spend big on free agent Malik Jackson
The Jacksonville Jaguars showed improvement in 2015, though not enough to see them to a division championship in a weak AFC South. There are several good pieces to build on, though, particularly on offense, where quarterback Blake Bortles has shown progression, and wide receiver Allen Robinson is blooming into a star. They still need to make some moves to improve their roster, however—below are some actions Jacksonville should take in the approaching free agency period.
P Bryan Anger
When you draft a punter in the third round, you’re almost definitely expecting him to develop into the best in the league, which Anger hasn’t. He is an above average player at the position, though, grading positively every season since entering the NFL in 2012, and was our 11th-highest graded player at the position in 2015.
C Stefen Wisniewski
The 12th-highest graded center in the league, Wisniewski (72.5 overall grade) had a really solid season for the Jaguars. He’s had just one negatively graded season since entering the NFL, and while he’s not a standout in either role, Wisniewski is at least solid in pass protection and as a run-blocker, allowing two sacks and 11 hurries in 2015.
DE Ryan Davis
Davis (71.2) is a restricted free agent, but is a smart option for the Jaguars to bring back. At the very least, he’s the type of player who can do damage as a situational pass-rusher, with 14 sacks, 14 hits, and 36 hurries in the past three seasons. What we’ve seen in his career so far is that he’s not an every down player, but someone who can make an impact if used correctly.
DE Andre Branch
The frustrating thing with Branch (62.6) is that he can stand out as a pass-rusher, he just does it so rarely that it doesn’t justify having him as a starter. He’s registered just 15 sacks, 14 hits, and 62 hurries in 1,238 pass rushing attempts since 2012.
OT Jake Long
Are the Jaguars ready to move on from former No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel? Even if they aren’t yet, with an overall grade of 42.9 in 2015, they need to have some sort of option there for if he continues to struggle. Jake Long (71.3) might not be the player he once was, but he was solid for the Rams in 2014, allowing just three sacks, four hits, and 13 hurries in seven starts.
DE Malik Jackson
Coming off a strong run of play in the postseason for the Super Bowl champions, Jackson (86.9) is poised to be one of the premier players available this offseason. An outstanding pass-rusher from the defensive interior, he racked up seven sacks, 12 hits, and 56 hurries in 2015, adding seven batted passes as the cherry on top. Making this even better for the Jaguars if they were to bring him in, he spent some time as an edge defender in 2014, and held his own there, too. Jackson is the type of player who could have a huge impact on the Jacksonville defense.