Projected Lineups: Jacksonville Jaguars
With the third selection of the 2014 NFL Draft the Jacksonville Jaguars take … well we don’t know yet. There’s a long time between now and when they hand in their draft card, but what we do know is that the rebuild is very much on.
Coach Gus Bradley is slowly turning this team around and at the moment it means that the roster is severely short on quality. So bear that in mind as we take a look at the current projected starters based on who the team has under contract right now.
– Player markers are colored per class on a five-step ‘Poor’ to ‘High Quality’ scale based on their overall performance and the league’s elite are marked separately in blue.
– Colored outlines suggest a potential change in class.
– Underlined players will be 30+ years old for the 2014 season.
– Red player names suggest injury risks.
– Click on the image to enlarge.
– As part of the Pete Carroll and Seattle Seahawks family tree, don’t think conventional with this roster. Seattle didn’t get good by throwing money around, they did so by ignoring reputations and picking players based on who best suited the very specific plan of attack they had.
– While Justin Blackmon is penciled in as a starter it’s telling that the team views any contribution he can make as something of a bonus. That’s a shame because there is talent there as his 2.58 Yards per Route Run this year showed. Of all wide receivers that was the fourth-highest. A team short on playmakers is pushed into a situation where it just can’t give up on one. Yet.
– If you model this defense on Seattle don’t think then you need to look at what they can do with their sub package defense as a big part of who they are. Right now they lack the kind of explosive players either on the edge or on the interior to make life easier on a young secondary.
– With Brad Meester retiring it leaves center a spot they need to fill. We’ve plumped for Mike Brewster being the most obvious replacement, but we haven’t seen anything from him to suggest he’s worthy. His work at guard was bad enough that it made Will Rackley the better option at that spot.
2014 Cap Situation
Healthy. Very healthy. If the team wants they’re in position to make big moves with a rumored $55m of available cash. Of course, given how badly it went for them when they got the check book out in 2012 that may be something the team is averse to. Not gambling the future on a quick fix and instead taking steps forward instead of leaps.
The fingerprints of Gene Smith remain on this roster with some severely bloated contracts that pose serious questions. Paul Posluszny may be the leader of the defense but is he worth the $9.5m cap hit (per www.overthecap.com) or will the team decide to save an extra $5.5m saying goodbye there. He’s not the only veteran hard questions will be asked about either, with Jason Babin due $6m and no penalties to releasing a player who is decent, but not the kind of impact player they need at the defensive end spot. Then there’s Marcedes Lewis who isn’t featured enough to be worth the $8.25m coming his way. All that said the team is already young so saying goodbye to experience is risky and with so much cap room will another $18m help? It will probably boil down to “are these good locker room guys?”
Opportunities from the Roster
The team has Patrick Lewis on the roster and though he’s only amassed 207 preseason snaps he’s got as much chance as Brewster at winning the starting center spot if the season started tomorrow. Judging by the rotation that went on at the end of the year the limited upside of starters Geno Hayes and Russell Allen means that John Lotulelei (-1.2 grade on 92 snaps) and LaRoy Reynolds (+3.0 grade on 58 snaps) are in with a real shout of displacing the more tried and tested duo, though we’re less sold on the chances of J.T. Thomas (-6.6 grade on 194 snaps). After mentioning the need for sub-package defenders earlier, we do like the look of Ryan Davis. The former undrafted free agent picked up 15 QB disruptions on just 72 pass rushes. That’s a phenomenal rate that warrants a longer look.
Projected lineups by team:
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