The Jaguars have 24 rookies and first year players that are set to report to training camp today. In years past many of them would have had a great shot to make the roster, but over the last several seasons the Jaguars roster has become deeper and deeper (at least at most positions). Rookies will have fewer opportunities this year to show their stuff and its will certainly be more difficult for rookies to earn a roster spot, much less get playing time.
Let's take a look at these rookies and which ones have a legitimate shot to make the roster.
It seems fair to assume that every player the Jaguars drafted this year should be a favorite to make the 53 man roster at the end of training camp.
First round pick Leonard Fournette is set to be the team's starting running back and has ZERO chance to not make the team. He'll be the starter week 1 and could compete for Rookie of the Year honors.
Second round pick Cam Robinson is also a lock to make the team. He, however, isn't a lock to start. His natural position is left tackle, but the Jaguars have a talented veteran at left tackle in Branden Albert, so the most likely scenario for Robinson being a day one starter is at left guard.
Third round pick Dwaune Smoot is another lock to make the roster. He projects to be a backup defensive end to start, but it seems as though he could earn solid playing time in a rotation at strong side and weak side defensive end.
Fourth round pick Dede Westbrook will be on the roster assuming he keeps his nose clean during training camp and the preseason. He has speed to burn and will bring an element to the Jaguars offense and special teams not seen in some time.
Fifth rounder Blair Brown will be Telvin Smith's primary backup at weak side linebacker and will likely be a special teams contributor from day one.
The Jaguars traded away their 6th round pick but landed two seventh rounders. Jalen Myrick seems a lock to make the team by default. The Jaguars best three corners are among the best trios of CBs in football but behind Ramsey, Bouye, and Colvin there is little depth. Myrick will likely start the season as the teams 5th option at CB. The other seventh round pick, Marquez Williams, is the only player drafted that doesn't seem a lock to make the roster. He'll have to beat out veteran Tommy Bohanan to be the lead blocker for Leonard Fournette this year. The team will keep only one fullback so Williams will have to be more impressive than Bohanan through out training camp or at the very least show promise for a solid future.
After that it's all undrafted free agents.
The Jaguars have 3 UDFA wide receivers, all of which have impressive resumes. The Jaguars are very deep at receiver so it's unlikely that any of these guys make the roster. Amba Etta-Tawo appears to be the most NFL ready prospect and in theory could make the 53 man roster, but it's more likely that he ends up a practice squad guy in year one. Keelan Cole put up freakish numbers in college but played against lesser competition - he'll be a long shot to make the practice squad. Kenneth Walker is a guy that the coaches like, but like the rest of the Jaguars UDFA receivers, he'll have a tough time trying to make the Jaguars 53.
At running back the Jaguars brought in I'Tavius Mathers from Middle Tennessee State and Tim Cook from Oregon State. Neither player is likely to make the roster but if either shows some skill, there could be a practice squad in the future for either guy.
The Jaguars also signed Caleb Bluiett out of Texas. In college he spent some time at defensive end, but he enters the NFL as a blocking in line tight end. If he proves a solid blocker he could be stashed on the practice squad and developed for the future.
Avery Gennesy is another interesting name that fans of the South Eastern Conference might be familiar with. He was a starting tackle at Texas A&M, but to due to his smaller size he'll be kicked inside to guard in the NFL. He has little chance of making a roster this year, but if he proves a hard worker and has some skill then he could certainly be a practice squad guy.
Hunter Dimick and Carroll Phillips could not be more different in how they project at the defensive end spot. Both were highly productive in college but Phillips projects as more of a true edge pass rusher while Dimick seems like a tweener that could play all over the defensive line. It would be a surprise if one of these two guys isn't on the 53 man roster.
The two defensive tackles the Jaguars added in undrafted free agency have a huge uphill climb if they are to push for a roster spot. The Jaguars have a nice group of defensive tackles already so for Tueni Lupeamanu and Kevin Maurice it may be practice squad or bust.
Perhaps the biggest fan favorite out of the group is the former JU Dolphin Justin Horton. If the linebacker from Jacksonville makes the roster he would be the first JU player to ever make an NFL roster. Another LB P.J. Davis seems like a good candidate to make the practice squad or maybe even the 53. He is stout at only 5'9'' but he racked up the tackles at Georgia Tech and was surprisingly effective at getting after the QB in college.
At safety the Jaguars brought in Jarrod Harper as a potential strong safety but he's buried behind Barry Church, Jarrod Wilson, and James Sample on the depth chart. The team will only keep two strong safeties in all likelihood, so Harper would be lucky to find a practice squad spot.
Finally CB - the team's strongest position at the top but perhaps the weakest position in terms of depth. Ezra Robinson has good size for the NFL and has decent speed. He didn't really stand out in any way during the draft process, but just based on a lack of depth at the position he could carve out a roster spot.
The Jaguars have two first year players out there this week. But neither Jamal Robinson or Nila Kasitati have much of a chance to make the team.
Quarterbacks report Friday so be sure to check back for an update on the QB position.