I love what the Jaguars did in the draft. Not only did they get quarterback Blake Bortles with their 3rd overall pick. but followed in the second and third rounds with two big receiver prospects; USC‘s Marquise Lee and Penn State‘s Allen Robinson. These three rookies will get plenty of reps together over the next few years and hopefully develop good rapport for the future. One if not both Lee and Robinson should start right away since perennial trouble maker Justin Blackmon is suspended indefinitely after being arrested for the 3rd time in three years (Two DUI’s and now this time for marijuana possession)
For now Chad Henne was named the starting QB for an offense that was dreadful last season, ranking 2nd to last in yards gained and last in points allowed. But I expect Bortles, who has looked quite impressive this preseason, to start at some point.
Fan favorite running back Maurice Jones-Drew was traded to the Raiders, so I don’t expect them to be all that much better offensively this year. They signed Toby Gerhart from the Vikings in hopes to fill in for the departed MJD. Gerhart has been backing up Adrian Peterson for a couple years so he hasn’t been getting very many reps thus far in this career. Whether Gerhart will become the featured running back the Jaguars hope he will become remains to be seen.
Gus Bradley, who was the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks before becoming the head coach at Jacksonville, enters his second year with the team. So no surprise two of his biggest free agent acquisitions were former Seahawks starting linemen Red Bryant and Chris Clemons. Bradley hopes they will be big upgrades to a defense that, like the offense, finished near the bottom of the NFL in most statistics, despite linebacker Paul Posluszny having the second most tackles in the NFL.
This is a young team that still needs another year to grow. But a couple of years from now they could bounce back and be a playoff contender. They’ll be better then last years 4-12 performance, 8-8 is not completely out of the question but might be best case scenario.
Click on the logo below to see the final team in Hawk’s 2014 NFL Preview: AFC South Edition: the Tennessee Titans: