The Jaguars 2019 voluntary OTAs being Tuesday (today). As the Jaguars progress through their organized team activities, there will be many key storylines to follow.
1. Yannick Ngakoue is present . . . is a new deal on the horizon?
After leaving voluntary workouts early, the Jaguars star pass rusher is back with the team for the start of OTAs. He's entering the final year of his rookie contract and would presumably like a new deal sooner rather than later. Inking Ngakoue this offseason would likely also be beneficial for the Jaguars from a financial standpoint. Every defensive end that signs a new contract potentially raises Ngakoue's price tag, so the sooner the Jaguars and Ngakoue's representation can finalize a deal for the self-motivated pass rusher, the better.
2. The return of the spiral?
As most of you know, the practice field wasn't always a friend to former starting QB Blake Borltes. But Nick Foles is a much more polished player at the quarterback position. It would be a step in the right direction for the Jaguars offense to see Nick Foles throwing accurate balls on the practice field, throwing spirals that allow receivers to make plays after they catch the ball.
3. Is Jawaan Taylor the starter at RT from day one?
The Jaguars 2019 second-round pick (who many graded as a first round talent) will almost assuredly be the Jaguars starter at right tackle come September. But how quickly will he take command of the starting role? Will Taylor get starting reps from day one? If he does and handles it well, it would be an encouraging development.
4. Who is starting at weakside linebacker?
As you all know, Telvin Smith is not with the team. His absence leaves a gaping hole at weakside (WILL) linebacker. The Jaguars selected outside linebacker Quincy Williams in the third round of the draft. But will Williams, a relative unknown prior to his selection, be able to take on the starting role from the get-go? After all, he's making a huge jump from Murray State to the NFL. It seems more likely that Ramik Wilson or one of the other recently signed veteran linebackers would take on that role to start OTAs. But if Williams can stand out on the practice field, he may end up being the opening day starter.
5. Is Josh Oliver ready for the physicality of the NFL?
Josh Oliver is an excellent seam-stretching tight end. He's got the size, linear athleticism, and hands to be an immediate impact as a receiver. But can he become a balanced tight end in the Jaguars new offense? The answer to that question will likely determine how quickly Oliver will get playing time. He's clearly the most talented tight end, from a receiving perspective, on the Jaguars roster, but in order to become a quick contributor, Oliver will need to be ready for the grind and physicality of the NFL game.
6. Who's starting at WR?
Marqise Lee won't be ready to return to practice for some time, which leaves Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley, DJ Chark, and Keelan Cole as the only players at the position that have played meaningful snaps in the NFL. After a semi-breakout in 2018, Westbrook seems an obvious choice to start. But who else will line up with him while the team waits on Marqise Lee's return? DJ Chark and Chris Conley have similar skill sets and have the ability to provide more versatility than many believe.
7. Players returning from injury.
Veteran linebacker Jake Ryan, who was signed during free agency, is rehabbing after a 2018 ACL tear and is not on the practice field to start OTAs. Cam Robinson, the team's starting left tackle, is recovering from the same injury and also isn't on the field yet. Marqise Lee, while not practicing fully, was seen in uniform by Daniel Popper of the Athletic doing agility drills and stretching.
What are you most looking forward to following throughout OTAs? Let us know in the comments below.
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