As you assuredly know — if you happen to frequent this here website — we're hot and heavy in the season of lists. Fortunately for everyone, training camp practices are expected to begin in earnest on July 28th, meaning we're just about a week away from actual on-field football activities.
But in the meantime, I'll continue to scour the internet for intriguing Jaguars content, so you don't have to.
Last week, Marc Sessler of NFL.com wrote a piece predicting one first-time Pro Bowl selection from each team in the NFL for the 2020 season.
His selection for the Jaguars:
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: CJ Henderson, CB, first NFL season:
It's an interesting pick, certainly not where I would have gone. Picking rookies to make the Pro Bowl in 2020 is a tough ask. After all, they've missed out on a summer of on-field work and will have to learn on the fly during training camp. Still, there is a path to early playing time for Mr. Henderson. As the ninth overall selection in the draft, he'll be expected to start on the outside at corner from the jump. Henderson already has an NFL body at 6'1'' and 202 pounds. He'll also be one of the most athletic players every time he steps on the field. Henderson tested exceptionally well at the NFL Scouting Combine and regularly showed off his supreme athleticism during his time at Florida.
But for Henderson to make the Pro Bowl as a rookie, he'll have to be a playmaker when targeted in coverage. He's shown the ability to rack up interceptions — he picked off four passes as a freshman — but didn't come up with a single turnover during his final year in college. Coming from the SEC should aid Henderson in his development, but he'll be hard-pressed to make the Pro Bowl as a rookie without putting up some genuinely gaudy numbers.
This got me thinking: who would I have picked from the Jaguars to make the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2020?
Josh Allen and DJ Chark both made the Pro Bowl in 2019, so they're off the board.
I think there are three Jaguars' players, at minimum, who have a better shot at making the Pro Bowl for the first time than does Henderson.
Myles Jack comes to mind first. He played out of position in 2018-19 at middle linebacker. But before he made the switch to playing inside full time, Jack was unquestionably trending towards a Pro Bowl after his second season in the league. With Joe Schobert brought in to play middle linebacker, Jack will get to move back outside, where he should thrive. If he looks more comfortable and confident in the players around him, as I expect him to, Jack should easily eclipse 100 tackles and become the type of difference-maker that we all know he can be.
Leonard Fournette is a close second in my book. He was close to making the Pro Bowl in 2019 but scoring only three touchdowns hurt. If he has positive touchdown regression in 2020, and continues to be the featured back in Jacksonville, Fournette will have every opportunity to put up the type of numbers that would lead to a Pro Bowl nod.
Can we please get Josh Lambo into the Pro Bowl? Probably not. After making 33/34 field goals in 2019, and being named second-team All-Pro, Lambo still wasn't invited to the league's annual All-Star game.
Brandon Linder has been deserving of a Pro Bowl selection several times throughout his six-year career, but it has eluded him every year.
Regardless, the team is not nearly as bereft of potential first-time Pro Bowlers as Mark Sessler would lead you to believe. But if his prediction proves correct, and CJ Henderson does make it to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, it could be indicative of a big bounce-back season for the Jaguars' defense.
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