2020 NFL Offseason: Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Year: 6-10)

2020 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
QB Mike Glennon, RB Chris Thompson, TE Tyler Eifert, DE Cassius Marsh, DE Aaron Lynch, DT Al Woods, DT Rodney Gunter, LB Joe Schobert, CB Rashaan Melvin.
Early Draft Picks:
CB C.J. Henderson, DE K’Lavon Chaisson, WR Laviska Shenault, DT DaVon Hamilton, G Ben Bartch, CB Josiah Scott, LB Shaquille Quarterman. Jaguars Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
QB Nick Foles, WR Marqise Lee, TE Seth DeValve, OT Cedric Ogbuehi, DT Calais Campbell, DT Akeem Spence, CB A.J. Bouye.

2020 Jacksonville Jaguars Offense:
It’s obvious what Jacksonville’s plan is. Emulating what the Dolphins did last year when they tanked for Tua Tagovailoa, the Jaguars have decided that they want to lose for Trevor Lawrence. The Clemson quarterback is the best prospect at the position since Andrew Luck, so the Jaguars are making a smart decision by losing on purpose for him. This has entailed trading several key players and ignoring some big needs that had to be addressed this offseason.

The primary need is the offensive line. The Jaguars had one of the worst blocking units in the NFL last year, and that will continue to be the case in 2020. There’s a chance that 2019 second-round pick Jawaan Taylor evolves into a capable right tackle, but he struggled a bit as a rookie. Taylor fell out of the top 10 because of injury concerns, so he must remain healthy as well. Either way, he has a better chance of succeeding than left tackle Cam Robinson, who seems like a lost cause at this point.

The Jaguars’ interior blocking is better, thanks to center Brandon Linder and guard Andrew Norwell. There’s a huge hole at right guard, however, as A.J. Cann is a pedestrian talent. Fourth-round rookie Ben Bartch may unseat him. With two or maybe three huge liabilities up front, Gardner Minshew won’t have much of a chance of thriving. The Jaguars traded Nick Foles to shed his salary, so the job is Minshew’s to lose. He’s an exciting player, but he’s limited in what he can do. He’ll be a strong backup quarterback in the NFL, but he’ll lose out to Lawrence next summer.

Minshew, at the very least, will have a couple of dynamic receivers at his disposal. D.J. Chark made a huge leap in production last year, so he should continue to be a dominant downfield presence. The Jaguars drafted Laviska Shenault in the second round to start across from Chark. Shenault was once considered a top-10 prospect, but fell to the second frame because of major injury concerns. If he can stay healthy, he’ll become a very productive player sooner rather than later. With no viable tight ends – Tyler Eifert is decrepit – Minshew will lean heavily on his two young wideouts.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen what will happen to Leonard Fournette. The disgruntled running back is likely to be traded at some point, so his departure would create a huge void in the offense. Most running backs wouldn’t have much success running behind Jacksonville’s poor front, but Fournette is a very important part of the passing attack. The Jaguars don’t have a viable replacement for him. The newly signed Chris Thompson will at least function well as a receiver out of the backfield, but he’s frequently injured.

2020 Jacksonville Jaguars Defense:
It was mentioned earlier that the Jaguars let go of several important players this offseason in their attempt to be in position to select Trevor Lawrence atop the 2021 NFL Draft. Those departures occurred on defense. The Jaguars had one of the best stop units in the NFL a couple of years ago, but that’s no longer the case in the wake of their trades and releases. In fact, Jacksonville might have one of the worst defenses in the league.

It will be very difficult to fill Calais Campbell’s shoes. The Jaguars traded him to the Ravens for a mid-round pick, which doesn’t seem like quite enough competition when considering how talented he is. Jacksonville has a former first-round pick in Taven Bryan to replace Campbell, however. Bryan has some promise, and he looked good at times in 2019, but he won’t be nearly as dominant as Campbell. Third-round rookie DaVon Hamilton could help as well.

Campbell isn’t the only departure up front, as edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue will be dealt soon. The Jaguars are looking to trade him, and they wanted the No. 12 overall pick from the Raiders in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Raiders, however, weren’t willing to part with it, countering with the 19th-overall selection instead. Jacksonville didn’t accept, but the team will be dealing Ngakoue soon because it selected his replacement, K’Lavon Chaisson, with the 20th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Chaisson will start across from the extremely talented Josh Allen.

Keeping with the theme of departed Jaguars, the team dealt cornerback A.J. Bouye for a mid-round choice. Jalen Ramsey is also gone after being traded to the Rams for a pair of first-round picks, leaving Jacksonville with nothing at the position before the team used the ninth-overall pick on C.J. Henderson. It remains to be seen how good Henderson will be in the pros, but the talent is certainly there. The Jaguars don’t have much else at outside cornerback – Rashaan Melvin and Tre Herndon both struggled last year – but D.J. Hayden was at least solid in the slot.

The safety situation is only better by default. Former second-rounder Ronnie Harrison has not lived up to expectations, though the other safety, Jarrod Wilson, was a pleasant surprise last year. Still, this was a position that needed to be upgraded this spring.

As bad as everything has been described thus far, no position on the Jaguars’ roster was as bad as the linebacking corps last year. Jacksonville couldn’t cover anyone in the wake of Telvin Smith’s unexpected hiatus prior to 2019. Myles Jack, who was once a quality linebacker, was absolutely atrocious. He’s still on the roster, but the Jaguars at least found an upgrade in this area, signing former Brown Joe Schobert in free agency.

2020 Jacksonville Jaguars Schedule and Intangibles:
Jacksonville’s hot and humid climate contributed to its outstanding 83-53 home record from 1995 to 2011. They were just 9-29 as hosts in the four seasons prior to 2017, perhaps because of the curse of the swimming pool. That curse snapped temporarily, as Jacksonville was 6-2 at home in 2017, but the team was 3-4 as a host in each of the past two years.

In three years with the Jaguars, Josh Lambo is 71-of-75 on field goal attempts, drilling 10-of-11 from 50-plus.

Gene Smith solidified his standing as one of the worst general managers in NFL history by drafting a punter in the third round. This regime is obviously better, as it selected its new punter, Logan Cooke of Mississippi State, in the seventh frame a couple of seasons ago. Cooke was first in net average, proving that the Jaguars probably made a mistake when selecting a punter instead of Russell Wilson.

Jacksonville outgained opponents on kickoffs, but were worse than the opposition on punts.

The Jaguars don’t have many winnable games. Those opponents include: Dolphins (home), Bengals (road), Lions (home) and Bears (home).

2020 Jacksonville Jaguars Rookies:
Go here for the Jaguars Rookie Forecast, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.

2020 Jacksonville Jaguars Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2020 Jacksonville Jaguars Analysis: The Jaguars are the worst team in the NFL this year, and it doesn’t seem particularly close. This is all by design, however, as the Jaguars are clearly tanking in an attempt to obtain Trevor Lawrence. If this plan comes to fruition, Jacksonville will be ready to challenge for a deep playoff run in 2022.

Projection: 1-15 (4th in AFC South)

2019 Projection: 10-6. 2019 Actual Result: 6-10.
2018 Projection: 6-10. 2018 Actual Result: 5-11.
2017 Projection: 4-12. 2017 Actual Result: 10-6.
2016 Projection: 7-9. 2016 Actual Result: 3-13.

NFL Draft Team Grade: B+ Grade

Goals Entering the 2020 NFL Draft: The Jaguars have traded almost everyone away, so it’s clear that they’re either “tanking for Trevor” or “losing for Lawrence.” They should still add the best talent available in this draft so that Lawrence is surrounded by a solid supporting cast once he enters the NFL in 2021. One specific thing Jacksonville must address is the offensive line, which was particularly dreadful last year.

2020 NFL Draft Accomplishments: Some teams rated C.J. Henderson above Jeff Okudah, so the Jaguars certainly didn’t reach at No. 9 as some might speculate. Henderson was a way for Jacksonville’s secondary to begin anew, and he’ll have aid from a pass rush featuring K’Lavon Chaisson. The LSU edge player was expected to go No. 17 or slightly earlier, but he slipped because CeeDee Lamb fell to the Cowboys. Chaisson will replace Yannick Ngakoue, who will be traded soon.

The Jaguars had five picks in the top 120, and all of them earned B+ grades or higher. They found two steals by snatching Laviska Shenault and Ben Bartch off the board in the second and fourth rounds, respectively. Shenault was once seen as a top-10 prospect, but injuries derailed his draft stock.

I didn’t like several of Jacksonville’s third-day choices, but that’s not a huge deal. I also thought that the Jaguars should’ve spent more than one pick on an offensive lineman, but they’ll be able to bolster their protection for Trevor Lawrence during the 2021 offseason.

NFL Draft Individual Grades:

9. C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida – B+ Grade
This isn’t a sexy pick, but it’s a solid one, and it’s probably what the Jaguars should have done outside of trading down. We know that at least one NFL team slotted Henderson ahead of Jeff Okudah on their board, so the Jaguars might be getting their top cornerback at No. 9. Henderson is very talented and happens to be more athletic than Okudah, and he fills a huge need with Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye both gone.

20. K’Lavon Chaisson, DE, LSU – A Grade
I bet the Jaguars didn’t anticipate K’Lavon Chaisson being available. He was expected to go off the board at 16 or 17, but thanks to some other teams’ stupidity, he fell to Jacksonville at 20. This is a great bargain for Chaisson, who will be able to replace Yannick Ngakoue once the Jaguars understand what his value is and trade him.

42. Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado – A+ Grade
Laviska Shenault would’ve been a top-10 pick if the 2020 NFL Draft occurred a year ago. Many things have changed, however, as teams have grown terrified of Shenault’s poor durability. In fact, some teams believed Shenault would fall to the third round. However, I think this is a great bargain for him, and the injuries might be overblown. If so, the Jaguars will have an incredible tandem of receivers.

73. DaVon Hamilton, DT, Ohio State – B+ Grade
DaVon Hamilton was an underrated prospect, as I eventually ended up mocking him to the Seahawks at the end of the second round. Hamilton is stout against the run and has some ability to get to the quarterback. He’s obviously no Calais Campbell, but he’s good enough to potentially become a solid starter for the Jaguars.

116. Ben Bartch, G, St. John’s – A- Grade
There are some solid guard choices being made atop Round 4. Ben Bartch is another one. He has a nice frame and good potential. Level of competition is a question, but not much of one in the fourth round. I think Bartch could’ve gone in the second.

137. Josiah Scott, CB, Michigan State – C Grade
It makes sense for the Jaguars to draft another cornerback, given their issues at the position. However, it seems like they have enough players to cover the slot, which is what Josiah Scott does best. I think another cornerback prospect would’ve been a better option.

140. Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Miami – B- Grade
Shaquille Quarterman is a solid player, but he’s not a good athlete at all. He can be a decent, two-down player for the Jaguars. He doesn’t have much upside, however, and he won’t fix Jacksonville’s need to improve its coverage.

157. Daniel Thomas, S, Auburn – D Grade
Daniel Thomas was not someone I expected to be drafted. He should be a good special-teamer, but it’ll be difficult for him to contribute well on defense.

165. Collin Johnson, WR, Texas – C+ Grade
Collin Johnson was a player I had in the second round of my mock draft long ago, but he kept dropping and dropping because of concerns of lacking athleticism and separation ability. It’ll be tough for Johnson to stick in the NFL, but he has good size at least. I don’t hate this pick, but it could’ve been better.

189. Jake Luton, QB, Oregon State – B+ Grade
Jake Luton was a hot name as the draft approached, and Charlie Campbell listed him in the stock report, I believe. Luton has a good chance to be a high-end backup in the NFL, which is what the Jaguars will need behind Trevor Lawrence in 2021 and beyond.

206. Tyler Davis, TE, Georgia Tech – C- Grade
I was hoping the Jaguars would add a better tight end for Trevor Lawrence, but it’s hard to be optimistic about this pick. I didn’t have Tyler Davis as a draftable prospect, so he could’ve been obtained as a UDFA.

223. Chris Claybrooks, CB, Memphis – C- Grade
Chris Claybrooks is not in my top 600, so I can’t say I like this pick at all. However, it’s the seventh round, so it’s not a horrible time to draft a no-name special-teams player.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Season Summary:
Jacksonville fans had fun cheering for Gardner Minshew, but this was a disappointing season for the team. The Jaguars paid lots of money for Nick Foles, but he was never healthy when coming back from his broken collar bone. Perhaps he’ll remain healthy in 2020, which could allow for a playoff run.

Offseason Moves:
  • Jaguars sign RB Chris Thompson
  • Jaguars sign TE Tyler Eifert
  • Jaguars sign CB Rashaan Melvin
  • Jaguars sign DT Al Woods
  • Jaguars sign DE/OLB Cassius Marsh
  • Jaguars sign DT Rodney Gunter
  • Bears acquire QB Nick Foles from Jaguars
  • Jaguars sign LB Joe Schobert
  • Ravens acquire DT Calais Campbell from Jaugars
  • Broncos acquire CB A.J. Bouye from Jaguars

    Team Needs:
    1. Offensive Tackle: It might be too early to definitively call Cam Robinson a bust, but he’s certainly trending in that direction. He struggled mightily in 2019, so the Jaguars need to look into adding some help on the blind side to protect one of the two quarterbacks.

    2. Guard: Here’s another void on the offensive line that must be addressed. The Jaguars have one solid guard in Andrew Norwell, but they need one more.

    3. Two Linebackers: Moving to the defense, linebacker was a massive problem area in the wake of Telvin Smith’s hiatus from football. Myles Jack’s injury didn’t help either. Signed Joe Schobert

    4. Safety: The Jaguars were horrible at defending the middle of the field all year, so this aspect needs to be fixed in the defensive backfield as well.

    5. Two Cornerbacks: Cornerback must be upgraded as well in the wake of the Jalen Ramsey trade. Signed Rashaan Melvin

    6. Tight End: Jacksonville needs a play-maker over the middle of the field, which is something they’ve sorely lacked for a while. Signed Tyler Eifert

    7. Backup Running Back: Leonard Fournette almost never came off the field last year, which can’t be good for his long-term outlook.

      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    2020 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Joe Schobert, LB, Browns. Age: 26.
      Signed with Jaguars (5 years, $53.75 million)

      Joe Schobert played very well at times last year, even winning AFC Defensive Player of the Week at one point. He’s a do-it-all linebacker who won’t turn 27 until November.

    2. Chris Thompson, RB, Redskins. Age: 29.
      Signed with Jaguars

      Chris Thompson is an excellent receiver out of the backfield, but he’s had trouble staying healthy. He hasn’t played more than 10 games since 2016.

    3. Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals. Age: 29. — Signed with Jaguars (2 years)
    4. Al Woods, DT, Seahawks. Age: 33. — Signed with Jaguars
    5. Cassius Marsh, DE/OLB, Cardinals. Age: 28. — Signed with Jaguars
    6. Rashaan Melvin, CB, Lions. Age: 30. — Signed with Jaguars (1 year)

    Jacksonville Jaguars Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Yannick Ngakoue, DE/OLB, Jaguars. Age: 25.
      Franchised by Jaguars

      Yannick Ngakoue has become a devastating pass rusher, and yet he won’t even turn 25 until March. The sky is the limit for him, though he is a liability in run support. Ngakoue would be better off in a 3-4 scheme.

    2. Keelan Cole (RFA), WR, Jaguars. Age: 27.
      Tendered by Jaguars (2nd round)

      Keelan Cole has shown some flashes of brilliance at times, but has disappointed more often than not. He’s still young and talented enough to make some improvements.

    3. Akeem Spence, DT, Jaguars. Age: 28.
    4. Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Jaguars. Age: 28. — Signed with Seahawks (1 year)
    5. Seth DeValve, TE, Jaguars. Age: 27.
    6. Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars. Age: 28. — Signed with Patriots
    7. Tyler Shatley, C/G, Jaguars. Age: 29. — Re-signed with Jaguars (1 year)
    8. Najee Goode, LB, Jaguars. Age: 31.
    9. Seth DeValve, TE, Jaguars. Age: 27. — Signed with Panthers
    10. Cody Davis, S, Jaguars. Age: 31.
    11. Lerentee McCray, DE, Jaguars. Age: 30. — Re-signed with Jaguars
    12. Geoff Swaim, TE, Jaguars. Age: 26.
    13. Ben Ijalana, G, Jaguars. Age: 31.
    14. Doug Middleton (RFA), S, Jaguars. Age: 26.

    NFL Free Agent Tracker:
    QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Rumors

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