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Scouting the South: Jacksonville Jaguars

Rounding out the AFC South reports with 2012's basement team. Do they have enough pieces to get out of last place? A new regime in Jacksonville has the team on the right path but needs more time.


2012 Recap: The Jaguars got off to a horrendous 1-9 start and only managed to win one other game the rest of the way (unfortunately it was against the Titans). Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne struggled for most of the year but it wasn't just poor quarterback play that doomed the Jags. The roster was bereft of talent and that cost GM Gene Smith his job. Changes kept coming as Mike Mularkey was fired after only his first season on the job. The team hired David Caldwell to replace Smith and he hired former Seahawk defensive coordinator Gus Bradley as head coach.

Free Agency Review: With Gus Bradley's background it was no surprise to see the team target a few key positions in his first ever free agency. Jacksonville signed a familiar face in former division-rival Sen'Derrick Marks as well as Kyle Love. The team hopes the two defensive tackle additions can work in a rotation with the underperforming Tyson Alualu to provide better run defense. Bradley also brought with him veteran corner Marcus Trufant. One more interesting addition was Mohamed Massoquoi from the Browns. He showed some potential in Cleveland but injuries and inconsistent quarterback play doomed any chance of success. There were few notable losses to the 2-14 squad, though Terrance Knighton was perhaps underrated. The defensive tackle signed with the Broncos.

Draft Review: Luke Joeckel has a chance to be a great offensive tackle for the next decade, so it's easy to see why pundits and fans are heaping a lot of praise on the second overall pick. Many felt they made another outstanding choice with the selection of Johnathan Cyprien with the first pick of the second round. He has tremendous speed and solid coverage skills. Most importantly, he's known as a surefire tackler. Jacksonville would look to the secondary again in the third round with CB Dwayne Gratz. QB/RB/WR Denard Robinson was a surprise pick in the fifth round. There's no doubt Robinson is a rare athlete with the talent to play multiple positions but whether he can hone his skills to excel at one position (even if it is as a unique playmaker) is up in the air. He's definitely someone who will have the media buzzing come training camp.

Most Dangerous Player to the Titans: There aren't a whole lot of options to choose from for this title so Maurice Jones-Drew is the easy choice here. MJD has been able to wreak havoc on the poor Titans defenses lately and if the team doesn't improve their tackling he will continue to run all over them. Right now if you can shut down Jones-Drew then you can shut down the Jacksonville offense.

Underrated Player: Another category and another player who can go by his initials - Cecil Shorts III is the Jaguars best receiving threat. He might never be an elite receiver (especially not in the current offense) but he has certainly elevated his game since coming in as an overlooked rookie. With Blackmon serving a suspension early in the season and battling inconsistent play, look for CSIII to lead the team in receiving yards.

Overrated Player: Jason Babin was a sack machine for the Titans before following Jim Washburn to Philadelphia. The sack totals would dwindle though and soon he found himself on the way to Florida. Babin can be a liability against the run but that is forgiven when you're getting to the quarterback. That's no longer the case with him here.

2013 Outlook: The Jaguars were a mess last year and that is putting it nicely. They've put in place some building blocks for the future but this rebuild is going to take way more time than one offseason. It all starts with the quarterback. If you don't have good quarterback play success is near impossible to achieve. The new braintrust will have some bright ideas and schemes but Blaine Gabbert will prevent this team from being competitive.

Prediction: 4-12