The 2021 NFL season was one Jaguars fans, players, and front office staff hope to throw under the rug. To put it lightly, the Urban Meyer project was a disaster from the start. Thankfully, Shad Khan pulled that plug before it became even worse. Although Trevor Lawrence's play wasn't fully up to par for what many expected based on his lifelong success, he showed plenty of glimpses to prove he's the guy for Jacksonville. Looking ahead, the 2022 NFL offseason is a crucial one for the future of this franchise. To turn this team around quickly, here are five moves new head coach Doug Pederson and the Jaguars' front office should have at the top of their to-do list.
GET NEAL IN TEAL
Evan Neal has been a dominant offensive lineman at the college and high school ranks. He was a five-star recruit out of IMG Academy that helped Alabama win another CFP National Championship in 2020. The 21-year-old junior moves a lot quicker and shows much more athleticism than you'd expect for someone who t is 6'7"/357lbs. Jacksonville may have an opportunity to trade down to gather more picks, but taking the 2021 Consensus All-American to keep Lawrence protected should be a no-brainer. This move gives the Jaguars tremendous versatility as Neal played LG in 2019, RT in 2020, and LT in 2021. With this draft selection, the Jaguars could be looking at an elite talent at QB and OT while having both under rookie contracts for years to come. So let the "Neal in Teal" hype begin.
BRING BACK A-ROB
Allen Robinson has three 1,000+ yard seasons in the NFL, with his career-highs coming in his second year in the league with Jacksonville at 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015. Those numbers came with Blake Bortles at quarterback too. In 2021, with rookie QB Justin Fields and the rest of the Bears' QBs, Robinson put up his worst numbers as a starter, and the connections just never seemed to work. Robinson has never truly had a proven franchise quarterback, which is disappointing for his career. This could be the time Robinson looks to go to a proven offense and Super Bowl contender, but it can't hurt to try. The Jaguars have the third-most cap space this offseason, and bringing back Jacksonville's best receiver in recent years would be a phenomenal start to free agency. Adding Robinson, who is still in his prime at 28 years old, makes more sense than signing Chris Godwin or Michael Gallup to big contracts when they're both coming off of ACL injuries.
FIND A NEW HOME FOR JAWAAN TAYLOR
With plans to draft Evan Neal first overall in this scenario, it's time to give RT Jawaan Taylor a change of scenery. It just has not worked out well for the former Florida Gator in Duval. Taylor struggled his rookie and sophomore years and showed no improvement in 2021. Eleven holding and three false start penalties add more frustration and disappointment. Looking for a trade partner for him could benefit the Jaguars in gaining some extra draft compensation for 2022 or 2023. But if there is no interest, it wouldn't hurt to keep him and let him transition into a swing tackle role.
DROP A BAG FOR CHANDLER JONES
Chandler Jones is in his 30s now and may be approaching the twilight of his career, but his performance in 2021 said otherwise. In 2017, the Jaguars took a chance at paying top dollar for a proven veteran defensive lineman from Arizona. That was Calais Campbell. Safe to say that worked out well for Jacksonville. Although Jones provides a different skillset coming off the edge, he would add an exciting and effective front-line talent to go along with Josh Allen, Dawuane Smoot, and K'Lavon Chaisson. Allen was the last Jaguar to get double-digit sack numbers with 10.5 in 2019. Chandler Jones is a sack professor as he's reached double-digit sack numbers seven times in his ten-year career. His best year with 19 sacks was just two seasons ago. Calais can't be the Mayor of Sacksonville forever, right? His defensive line coach the last two seasons? Brentson Buckner, who reportedly has joined the Jaguars staff under Doug Pederson.
DROP ANOTHER BAG FOR THE HONEY BADGER
Adding another proven veteran defensive presence in Tyrann Mathieu would be a slam dunk move. The Honey Badger got his Super Bowl ring, so now it's time for him to get that big paycheck that the Jaguars can provide. Mathieu would bring exceptional guidance for Andre Cisco, as well. Jacksonville transitioning to a Mathieu/Cisco safety group instead of the Jenkins/Wingard approach would be a MASSIVE improvement. Thirteen interceptions in the last three years with Kansas City; those numbers are unheard of in Duval County.
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