Rookies and Quarterbacks have already reported to the Jaguars' facility for COVID-19 testing. The rest of the veterans will report on Tuesday, July 28th. With that in mind, I decided to take a look at the five biggest questions facing the 2020 Jacksonville Jaguars as training camp commences.
The most consequential storyline for the Jaguars all offseason has been Yannick Ngakoue. The disgruntled young pass rusher has been a force off the edge for the Jaguars since 2016, especially when it comes to creating turnovers. He wants out, but the Jaguars are unwilling to trade him unless they get the type of value they're looking for in return. So far, no team has made an offer that's moved the needle for Jaguars' GM Dave Caldwell. With training camp set to begin, it doesn't seem likely that a deal gets done. So, will Ngakoue swallow his pride and sign the franchise tender for a $17.8 million payday? Or will he opt out of the season, losing an accrued year and risk the Jaguars franchise tagging him again in 2021 (and potentially in 2022)? If Ngakoue plays, the Jaguars will have one of the most potent group of edge rushers in football. If not, they should still be an improved unit against the run, with upside if K'Lavon Chaisson can get after the QB in year one.
The Jaguars' first selection in the 2020 NFL Draft was cornerback CJ Henderson. The ninth overall pick in the draft will be expected to start on the outside from day one. Will he be ready for the challenge? He should get to line up against DJ Chark regularly. The results of those matchups will give us an indication as to whether or not Henderson is ready for the spotlight.
On the offensive side of the ball, how will Gardner Minshew look? Does he take command of Jay Gruden's offense early on? He's been working all offseason to improve his game from an individual standpoint and has organized skill position workouts away from the team facility. If Minshew can take control of his new offense quickly, the Jags could take a major step forward on that side of the ball in 2020.
My next question is how quickly Joe Schobert and Myles Jack can mesh. Both players have been at their best when surrounded by other talented linebackers. Schobert will take the reins in the middle, while Jack will slide over to the weakside. If they can control the middle of the field, get downhill against the run, and flow from sideline to sideline, this could be a completely different looking defense.
My final question is about second-round pick Laviska Shenault. He has the talent to play all over the field on offense and could indeed become the x-factor for the Jaguars' offense. If the Jaguars feed him the ball with regularity, and he excels as he did in the Pac-12, the Jaguars could have one of the best young WR duos in football. How quickly can Viska adapt to the speed of the NFL?
There are plenty of other questions for the Jaguars to answer. Will Cam Robinson look for more comfortable being nearly two years removed from his ACL injury? Can Ben Bartch push AJ Cann at right guard? Will any players miss time due to COVID-19? But the five questions I outlined hold the key to the Jaguars' overall success in 2020. With no preseason games this season, the practice field will hold the answers to many of these questions.
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