clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Scouting the South: Jacksonville Jaguars

Turning our attention to the final rival in the AFC South.

Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

2014 Recap: Jacksonville posted one less win in 2014 compared to 2013, going 3-13 to finish second-last in the AFC South.

Free Agency Review: The Jaguars made a big splash early in free agency, signing former Broncos tight end Julius Thomas to a deal that averages just over $9 million per year for five years. Thomas was a good player for Denver, but will he produce now that his QB has gone from Peyton Manning to Blake Bortles? Even with Manning he only notched 489 yards last season. There's no doubt he's a beast in the red zone though, with back-to-back seasons of 12 receiving touchdowns. Jeremy Parnell was another high-priced offensive addition for the Jaguars, this time at tackle. He should really help out an offensive line that struggled last season.

Jared Odrick is one addition I really like. He played DE, DT and LB in Miami, so you have to think Gus Bradley will really move him around to get to the QB. Maybe a new environment will jumpstart his production again - his sole sack last season was a career low.

Draft Review: By now everyone knows the unfortunate story of the Jaguars first round pick, Dante Fowler Jr. An ACL tear ended his season prematurely, and leaves a huge hole at edge rusher. TJ Yeldon was a nifty running back to watch in college and that should continue in the NFL. Can he be more than a part-time rusher though? In three seasons at 'Bama he shared the backfield twice.

Many people were high on late-round selection Michael Bennett out of Ohio State. There's a lot of interior linemen in the rotation but I think he's good enough to earn playing time.

Overrated Player: Blake Bortles often gets a pass from the media for his 2014 season because he was a first round pick. Amongst rookie QBs he was bad and even worse when compared to the whole league. This doesn't mean he can't become a better player, but you have to judge the work we've seen fairly. Right now its not pretty.

Underrated Player: Not a lot of candidates for this title after Jacksonville's awful season. So many of their players graded poorly. I'll give the nod to Dwayne Gratz, who graded out awful by PFF's standards in pass coverage but good in run coverage. It looks like he's getting bumped down the depth chart this season though.

2015 Outlook: There are many that feel David Caldwell and Gus Bradley have this team on the right track. I just haven't seen much growth from their team, despite playing in an awful division. Can they make a big jump this season? And if not, do they continue to keep their jobs?

When I look at the schedule there still doesn't seem to be a lot of potential wins. My guess is somewhere around 5 victories this season. They'll need Blake Bortles to greatly improve if they have any chance of playoff contention - a common theme for teams with young quarterbacks.