The Jaguars have less than a month to cut their active roster down to 53 players, with August 31st serving as the final day for roster trimming. The Big Cats will play three preseason games and do some preliminary roster thinning between now and then. On August 17th, NFL clubs are required to cut down to 85 and then down to 80 the following week on the 24th.
This is the deepest I've seen the Jaguars' roster in several areas for some time. Due to the depth the Jaguars' brass created throughout the offseason and the draft, cuts will perhaps be more challenging than in years past, and there are sure to be some familiar faces that fall victim to the numbers game.
It's also important to remember that teams will be able to carry 16 practice squad players this year, including six with more than two years of experience. Clubs will also be allowed to protect four practice squad players each week from being signed by other teams and will be permitted to elevate two practice squad members to the active roster on game day without removing any current players.
With all that said, let's jump into my Jaguars 53-man roster prediction.
QB(2): Trevor Lawrence, Gardner Minshew
The Jaguars could opt to keep three QBs, but at this point, it doesn't look like CJ Beathard or Jake Luton would give them any real advantage over some of the other veteran free agent QBs in the league. One of them could be headed to the practice squad. Rookie phenom Trevor Lawrence should secure the starting job before the end of the preseason, but Gardner Minshew is a quality insurance policy and a strong competitor.
RB(3): James Robinson, Travis Etienne, Carlos Hyde
There are more than three running backs on the roster that deserve a spot, but with these three, the Jags are in good hands. And with more depth needed at less talented positions, they'll only keep three backs on the active roster. They may try to stash and protect Dare Ogunbowale or someone else on the practice squad all year.
WR(7): DJ Chark, Marvin Jones, Laviska Shenault, Phillip Dorsett, Collin Johnson, Jalen Camp, Jamal Agnew
Seven receivers is a lot, but the Jaguars want to be explosive. The top three guys are locks. Dorsett has the type of speed and big-play ability that Meyer won't let go of. Collin Johnson is too good to release in just his second season. Laquon Treadwell has been one of the surprises of camp, consistently getting open and catching passes, but does he deserve a spot more than rookie sixth-round pick Jalen Camp, who possesses exceptional athleticism and has also excelled throughout training camp? Jamal Agnew is perhaps the best return man in football and a core special teamer.
OL(9): Cam Robinson, Jawaan Taylor, Brandon Linder, Andrew Norwell, AJ Cann, Walker Little, Tyler Shatley, Ben Bartch, Derwin Gray
The Jaguars return their starting five from 2020. Rookie Walker Little will be the primary backup at offensive tackle and may push for a starting job sooner rather than later. Tyler Shatley will be the swing man on the interior, with the ability to fill in at all three spots. Ben Bartch will be a backup at both guard sports. Derwin Gray has looked better and MUCH stronger than Will Richardson and will earn the final spot on the OL.
TE(4): Chris Manhertz, James O'Shaughnessy, Ben Ellefson, Luke Farrell
The Jags want to be able to run two tight end sets. Manhertz is the best blocking tight end on the team and one of the best in the league. O'Shaughnessy is the best receiver right now. Farrell will serve as a blocking tight end with some pass-catching upside. I initially believed TEbow would make the roster, but his lack of experience at the position shows, even if he has made a couple of impressive catches down the field. It would be disengenuous to preach things like "show me" and "own it" and then keep Tim Tebow on the roster over a young, improving player who knows how to play the position in Ellefson.
DL/EDGE(10): Malcom Brown, Jay Tufele, Roy Robertson-Harris, DaVon Hamilton, Dawuane Smoot, Josh Allen, K'Lavon Chaisson, Doug Costin, Jihad Ward, Jordan Smith
The DL is triccccky. There are a ton of guys here. Brown, Tufele, RRH, Allen, Chaisson, Smoot, Hamilton, Ward, and Smith all feel like locks to me. That doesn't leave much room for anyone else. We see familiar faces Taven Bryan, Lerentee McCray, Daniel Ekuale, and Adam Gotsis getting cut. Doug Costin performed too well as a rookie to part ways with him. The Jags could look to protect one of those guys on the practice squad.
LB(5): Myles Jack, Joe Schobert, Damien Wilson, Dakota Allen, Quincy Williams
The Jaguars will usually have just two off-ball linebackers on the field at a time. Because of that, they won't need a ton of depth. Damien Wilson will be the primary backup at both spots, while Allen has steadily improved as a young player and has good instincts. Quincy Williams is too talented and athletic to give up on just yet. This leaves 2020 fourth-round draft pick, Shaq Quarterman on the outside looking in. He could be a practice squad candidate.
CB(6): Shaquill Griffin, CJ Henderson, Tyson Campbell, Sidney Jones, Tre Herndon, DJ Daniel
The top five feels locked in, that is, as long as CJ Henderson can find his way onto the field after dealing with injuries and subsequently COVID-19. Rookie UDFA DJ Daniel plays his way onto the roster after a productive career at Georgia and an impressive camp.
S(4): Rayshawn Jenkins, Andre Cisco, Jarrod Wilson, Rudy Ford
Ideally, the Jaguars would be able to keep five safeties. Rayshawn Jenkins is locked in as a starter, and Cisco being a third-round pick this year is obviously safe; plus, he has impressed in camp. Wilson is still too good to let walk on a cheap contract and may start for a good portion of the year. Rudy Ford was signed to be a core special teamer, and that's what he'll be. Daniel Thomas is a potential practice squad stash.
K: Josh Lambo
The most accurate kicker in football.
P: Logan Cooke
One of the top five punters in football.
LS: Ross Matiscik
Long snappers are best unnoticed. During Matiscik's time in Duval, mistakes have been rare.
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