By: Hays Carlyon
The Jaguars added a dozen players to their roster during the NFL Draft.
So, how does the roster look now?
Let’s take a look at the projected 53-man roster. Every one of the draft picks makes this roster. We won’t consider undrafted free agents at this time, although one or two certainly could make it when final cuts come Sept. 5 (if the current timeline isn’t affected by coronavirus).
Also, we will include defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and running back Leonard Fournette in this projection. Both players have been the subject of trade talks and could be moved this summer.
We’ll use the traditional splits: 25 men for offense and defense with three specialists.
This is how I believe the 2020 Jaguars will look without trades.
Who: Gardner Minshew, Josh Dobbs and Jake Luton (sixth-round pick).
Why: The Jaguars carry three quarterbacks because they invested a pick in Luton (sixth round) and don’t have incredible depth at another position to carry just two.
RUNNING BACK (3)
Who: Leonard Fournette, Ryquell Armstead and Devine Ozigbo.
Why: This group could still add a savvy, pass-catching free agent. For now, we’ll keep three. Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell’s decision not to draft a running back was a surprise. Fournette’s motivation and professionalism after being the subject of trade talks will be fascinating to monitor.
Who: DJ Chark, Laviska Shenault (second round), Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley, Collin Johnson (fifth round) and Keelan Cole.
Why: Chark’s continued progression after a Pro Bowl season and Shenault’s hopeful instant impact as a second rounder will be a big key to the team’s success this season. Westbrook, Conley and Cole are solid veterans. Johnson will be intriguing because of his size (6-6, 222).
TIGHT END (4)
Who: Tyler Eifert, James O’Shaughnessy, Josh Oliver and Tyler Davis (sixth round).
Why: There are astounding durability issues with this group. Jaguars need to keep four.
OFFENISVE LINE (9)
Who: Cam Robinson, Andrew Norwell, Brandon Linder, A.J. Cann, Jawaan Taylor, Ben Bartch (fourth round), Tyler Shatley, Will Richardson and Tyler Gauthier.
Why: The first eight spots are secure. I went with Gauthier as the ninth.
DEFENSIVE LINE (10)
Who: Josh Allen, Yannick Ngakoue, K’Lavon Chaisson (first round), Rodney Gunter, Taven Bryan, DaVon Hamilton (third round), Abry Jones, Al Woods, Dawuane Smoot and Lerentee McCray.
Why: This remains the team’s strength, as it should be with such heavy investment. Dontavius Russell, a seventh-round pick last year, is out. Whether Ngakoue is here or not is probably worth a couple wins. I think he’s traded this summer.
Who: Myles Jack, Joe Schobert, Shaq Quarterman (fourth round), Quincy Williams and Cassius Marsh.
Why: These five should all be safe. Leon Jacobs is out. Jack’s move to weakside will be a huge X-Factor for the team. There’s huge potential there, but will he seize it?
Who: CJ Henderson (first round), Tre Herndon, DJ Hayden, Josiah Scott (fourth round), Rashaan Melvin and Chris Claybrooks (seventh round).
Why: The Jaguars drafted three, including investing the ninth-overall pick in the draft. That tells you the lack of talent Caldwell believed the Jaguars had there. Claybrooks has return ability.
Who: Ronnie Harrison, Jarrod Wilson, Daniel Thomas (fifth round) and Andrew Wingard.
Why: I’m curious if Thomas can push Wilson at all for the starting job. Wingard makes it for his special teams value.
SPECIAL TEAMS (3)
Who: Josh Lambo (kicker), Logan Cooke (punter) and Matt Orzech (long snapper).
Why: No drama here. Jaguars have one of the best kicking games in the NFL.
Maybe 12 draft picks can make this roster. Honestly, I was surprised there were so few difficult decisions. That speaks to how poor the roster was and likely remains.
The defensive line will have to be dominant for the Jaguars to have a chance at a surprising season.
The offense finished 26th in scoring last season and got little help this off-season compared to the defense. In free agency and the draft, the defense received 12 new players while the offense got six.
After the Thomas pick in the fifth round, the defense led the offense in new acquisitions 11-3. That was a mistake.
New offensive coordinator Jay Gruden will have to work miracles for this to be even an average offense in the NFL. Obviously, if Minshew doesn’t take a step forward in his second year things could get really ugly.
(You can email Hays at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon)