By: Hays Carlyon
There could be a move or two left, but we basically know what the 2020 Jaguars will look like when they open the season against Indianapolis at home on Sept. 13.
So, which Jaguars won this off-season and which ones lost? Here is my list of five in each category.
QB Gardner Minshew
Why: His top competition, Nick Foles, was traded to Chicago. The Jaguars then didn’t invest heavily at the position armed with two first-round picks. Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell also stayed out of a bountiful free-agent market. Minshew’s competitors are Mike Glennon, Josh Dobbs and sixth-round rookie Jake Luton. This is Minshew’s team as he enters his second season.
OLB Myles Jack
Why: Jack never seemed like a natural fit at inside linebacker. The Jaguars finally reached that conclusion and acted. Their top free-agent acquisition was inside linebacker Joe Schobert. Jack will now move to weak-side linebacker, which should fully allow his athleticism to shine.
LT Cam Robinson
Why: The Jaguars showed their belief in Robinson as he enters the final year of his rookie contract. Left tackle was a perceived need, but Caldwell didn’t address the offensive line until selecting Ben Bartch in the fourth round. Robinson is entrenched at left tackle.
FS Jarrod Wilson
Why: Wilson logged every defensive snap last season (1,051) in his first season as a starter. Wilson led the Jaguars in tackles with 72 and picked off two passes but is nothing more than an adequate starter. Entering his fifth season this fall, Wilson might have faced a battle for his job from an early-round pick. That didn’t happen. Caldwell waited until the fifth round to take a safety, nabbing Daniel Thomas.
DC Todd Wash
Why: The Jaguars continue to pour significantly more resources into their defense than the offense to defensive coordinator Todd Wash’s benefit. The last four first-round picks have been defensive players, including a pair this year in cornerback CJ Henderson and defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson. Henderson and Chaisson join defensive end Josh Allen (2019) and defensive tackle Taven Bryan (2018). After the Thomas pick, the defense led the offense 11-3 in new players added through free agency and the draft. Wash, entering his fifth year as coordinator, has consistently been given more talent to work with than his offensive coordinator counterparts.
DE Yannick Ngakoue
Why: Ngakoue remains a Jaguar on the franchise tag despite his pitiful attacks on social media to force a trade. He also now must contend with Chaisson, likely his eventual successor. This was about as bad an offseason as Ngakoue could’ve had, as the other 31 clubs aren’t desperate enough yet to meet his asking price and make a deal for him.
DT Abry Jones
Why: The eldest Jaguar – Jones joined the team as an undrafted free agent in 2013 – now faces a tough climb to maintain a significant role. The Jaguars added free agent Al Woods and invested a third-round pick in DaVon Hamilton. The Jaguars could cut Jones and save $4 million with no dead-cap charge on the salary cap. That’s probably unlikely now, but Jones’ snap count last season (559, 53.2 percent) will decrease.
WR Chris Conley
Why: Conley led the receivers with 866 offensive snaps (79.4 percent) last season. The arrival of second-rounder Laviska Shenault should drop that number down. DJ Chark is the team’s top receiver and ideally Shenault will supplant Conley sooner rather than later.
OLB Leon Jacobs
Why: Chaisson’s primary job early on will be to replace Jacobs. The Jaguars also signed free agent Cassius Marsh to compete with Jacobs. That’s a tough combo to combat for Jacobs, who played 326 defensive snaps (31 percent) last season. He’s fighting for a roster spot now as he enters his third season.
OLB Quincy Williams
Why: The third-round rookie looked lost too often last season and the Jaguars responded. Jack takes over at weakside, which forces Williams into a clear backup role. Williams played 493 defensive snaps (46.9 percent) last season, but barring injury has no chance to come close to that number in his second season.
(You can email Hays at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon)