The Jaguars are currently in a period of transition.
Tom Coughlin was ousted after neglecting the rules of the CBA and straining the relationship between the organization and at least one of its young stars. The Jaguars football power structure now sees general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone reporting directly to owner Shad Khan.
The Jaguars also parted ways with their offensive coordinator of just one season and lost their QB coach to the CFL. On Tuesday, the team announced the hiring of Jay Gruden as the next offensive coordinator. A QB coach has yet to be named.
But despite some of the major changes that Jacksonville made this offseason, there is little question that the time to win is now. Pressure is building — both inside the building and externally — for the Jaguars to put forth a winning product.
With Doug and Dave both knowing they'll need to show significant improvement to keep their jobs after the 2020 season, this team is going to go all-in on winning next year.
With that in mind, I think it's very likely that the Jaguars will avoid creating unnecessary roster needs in 2020.
What do I mean by that? I'm glad you asked.
I don't see Dave Caldwell and Doug Marrone partying ways with veterans like Calais Campbell, Andrew Norwell and AJ Bouye, despite some hefty cap numbers from those three. Getting rid of any of those players would create massive holes at their respective positions. By keeping Campbell, Norwell and Bouye around, defensive end and cornerback will not become positions of need.
I don't see them quitting on a player like Cam Robinson, who's only played two seasons worth of games. The former second-round pick struggled in 2019, but was coming off a major knee injury, and wasn't afforded time during the offseason to work on technique. I don't see them moving Robinson, thus creating another hole on the roster. Keeping Cam at left tackle allows the Jaguars to focus their offensive line building efforts elsewhere.
As much as the Jaguars would like to keep Marcell Dareus around, there's no way they can at his ridiculous cap number. The Jaguars will be forced to release the veteran DT. He'll be able to get a better offer elsewhere and will likely take it. There a small chance that Dareus will stick around, given his fondness of being here and playing for Doug Marrone, but with the current cap situation, I don't see it happening.
The Jaguars will, however, get a deal done with Yannick Ngakoue. And by keeping Bouye and Campbell, the Jaguars won't have much to spend on incoming free agents.
That means the Jaguars will need to address their roster needs early in the draft. The most pressing needs will be linebacker, defensive tackle, interior offensive line, and wide receiver. I believe they'll address all of those positions during the first two days of the draft.
Please remember this would not be my ideal plan of attack for the offseason or how I would handle the draft. This is how I believe Dave Caldwell and Doug Marrone will handle the offseason and the draft.
#9 Overall: LB Isaiah Simmons
The Jaguars' defense fell off a cliff in 2019, especially when it comes to stopping the run. Enter Isaiah Simmons, an all-world athlete than can play middle linebacker, weakside linebacker, safety, and nickel. He can run and hit, and he can cover with the best of them. Simmons immediately makes the Jaguars MUCH better at linebacker in both run defense and against the pass. He's a generational talent.
#20 Overall: WR Tee Higgins
The Jaguars double dip with Clemson players in the first round by adding WR extraordinaire, Tee Higgins. The 6'4'' receiver is 215 pounds and a virtual clone of DJ Chark. The Jaguars love length on the boundaries, and that's precisely what they get here. Higgins might not be quite as fast as Chark, but he does bring a bit more physicality to the table. Higgins is also an underrated route runner that will uncover quickly at the next level. With Higgins and Chark on the outside, it'll be incredibly difficult for teams to sell out against the run. But having this combo should give Gardner Minshew plenty of one-on-one opportunities deep down the field.
#42 Overall: DT Neville Gallimore
After shedding some weight, Neville Gallimore impressed during his senior season at Oklahoma. He's physical as can be, with violent hands and elite strength. He's also got impressive movement skills for a man his size. He would be a legit first-round pick if he was just a bit taller. Gallimore sures up the interior of the Jags' D-Line against the run.
#73 Overall: IOL Solomon Kindley
Kindley is a physical, mauling guard that will help the Jaguars greatly in the run game. With Jay Gruden's west-coast offense, Kindley won't need to hold up for a long time in pass protection. He's a perfect fit for what the Jaguars will want to do next year: run the ball and get the ball out quickly in the passing game. Kindley should be able to take over at right guard immediately.
#116 Overall: TE Jared Pinkney
Pinkney offers the Jaguars upside as both a blocker and receiver. He has surprising athleticism for someone his size and is a natural pass catcher. He's got more than enough physicality and want-to, to become a plus blocker at the tight end position. Pinkney will raise the level of talent in the Jaguars' tight end room and compete for reps early on in training camp.
#167 Overall: S JR Reed
Reed can be a heat-seeking missile. He's not a safety that should be playing single high or even deep in zones very often, but when he can run downhill, Reed is a real difference-maker. He can sure up the safety position and bring some physicality in explicit running situations. He's also shown the ability to create turnovers in big moments.
#189 Overall: WR Jauan Jennings
Jennings is as tough as they come. He's unlike any of the other receivers on the Jaguars' roster. He won't wow you with his athletic ability, but he's a fighter. He'll scratch and claw to get his hands on the ball and would be a valuable addition to the Jaguars' roster as a possession receiver.
#207 Overall: CB AJ Green
AJ Green is LOOOONG. At 6'1'' he's the ideal height for an outside cornerback in the Jaguars' defense. He can play the physical game fairly well, but if Green were 10-15 pounds heavier, he'd likely be a day two pick. Thanks to AJ Bouye and Tre Herndon, Green won't be forced into action early on.
#223 Overall: DT Davon Hamilton
His overall numbers aren't overly impressive, but the senior defensive tackle is stout against the run and creates pressure more often than not. At 6'4'' and 327 pounds, he's got plenty of size and strength. The Jaguars need to make sure they don't fall apart against the run in 2020, and adding Hamilton at the end of the draft will make them more comfortable in that department.
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