The Jags Off-Season To Do List

JP Coll '22 and Nolan Nicholson '20

After having a combined 11 wins over the last two seasons, the Jaguars organization is in need of a highly productive off-season from it’s front office. With many gaps to fill and not a lot of money to fill those gaps, this off-season should be a tricky one for GM Dave Caldwell. In this article staff writers, JP Coll and Nolan Nicholson give their takes on how the Jaguars should go about fixing these issues:

What was the Jag’s biggest weakness last season?

JP: The Jag’s biggest weakness last season was a toss up between the offensive line and linebacker corps as both units performed poorly this past season, but to me, the linebackers were certainly the biggest weakness for the Jags. They consistently struggled to get off blocks and stop the run game and continued to let up big plays through the air and stopped the Jag’s from having a respectable defense. The highest graded linebacker for the Jag’s was Donald Payne at 68.1 (according to Pro Football Focus), with the rest being in the 40s. Myles Jack was reportedly battling an injury the whole season, but the rest were abysmal. With Telvin Smith’s future uncertain, the linebacker position must be addressed in the 2020 off-season.

Nolan: To me the biggest issue from last season was clearly the offensive line. The Jaguars were dominated in the trenches all year which made their offense very one-dimensional. The Jaguars’ line was ranked 26th/32 in the league. The biggest flaw on the offensive line is the offensive guards. Andrew Norwell is the highest paid offensive linemen on the team, soaking up $11,500,000 in cap space. In 2019, Norwell had the third most penalties by a guard in the NFL. He had an overall rating of 65.5, according to Pro Football Focus. The other Jaguars guard, A.J. Cann, earned a rating of 54.8 on Pro Football Focus’s scale. The Jaguars’ interior line was at fault for much of the Jaguars offensive struggles, as they finished 26th in points in the NFL.

What are the biggest position needs for the Jaguars for next season?

JP: Addressing the linebacker and offensive line positions is a must for the Jags this off-season, but they also need to add depth to the secondary and bring in talent to replace the aging A.J. Bouye. The secondary played alright but gave up 238 pass yards a game. Bouye is playing worse each season, and without Jalen Ramsey it will be harder to conceal him behind a number two receiver. The Jags will look to move on from Bouye soon because of his declining play and his large contract, so they need to look for replacements now. Fixing the offensive line is a tough mountain to climb because not only is it bad, but it is also overpaid. The Jags made Andrew Norwell the highest paid guard ever a couple of seasons ago and he is terrible. There is no way around it. He gets penalty after penalty and misses block after block while getting paid a fortune every year. The Jags need to find a solution to the money pit of Norwell and patch the hole that Cann presents as well. Give the two young tackles, Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor, and veteran Brandon Linder two reliable guards and the Jags could have a better offensive line in the NFL.

Nolan: As I previously mentioned, the interior offensive line should be towards the top of Caldwell’s list heading into the offseason but it is not at the top. The number one priority for the Jaguars should be to resign edge-rusher, Yannick Ngakoue. Ngakoue has racked up 37.5 sacks through his four year stint with the team. Once the Jaguars resign Ngakoue, they need to improve the interior offensive line, pick up another weapon on offense to help the new Minshew-led offense, and find Ramsey’s replacement. Gardner Minshew has shown potential but the receiving core was lopsided last year being carried by D.J. Chark Jr. who had 1,008 yards. Finally, the jaguars must look to the draft to find the heir to Jalen Ramsey’s former throne in the top cornerback position to contain division rival receivers Deandre Hopkins and T.Y. Hilton.

How should the Jags address these needs this offseason?

Free Agency: 

JP: I think that the Jaguars should move on from Norwell and Bouye this season because they do not have the production for which they are paid and sign a young corner that does not cost much money. I do not believe that the Jags should address the offensive line through free agency because they will end up overpaying and underperforming guard. Drafting a guard is lower risk and a higher reward. The safety and corner positions are both very high paying positions in free agency and the Jags have overpaid in free agency year after year. The Jags number one free agent priority should be to pay Yannick Ngakoue. #PAYHIM

Nolan: The Jaguars must start their offseason by first clearing cap space. The team made a few questionable decisions in past off-seasons with signing players to “megadeals” like the signing of quarterback Nick Foles and cornerback Bouye. Both are taking in 15-22 million a year and their production levels have been subpar. They have to find a way to either cut or trade Foles and cut or trade Bouye so they can focus on building their team around the young core. Once they have cleared space they must sign Ngakoue, one of the Jaguars’ most productive players on defense. I would also like to see the Jaguars sign a veteran offensive lineman to replace guard Cann. This would greatly benefit both the passing and running offense of the Jaguars.

The Draft: 

JP: With the 9th pick in the draft, the Jags should take Jeffrey Okudah out of Ohio State. He would be the second coming of Ramsey and bring another lockdown corner to a team that needed one last year. With the 20th pick (the Jags have two because of the Jalen Ramsey trade) the Jags should take Kenneth Murray, linebacker out of Oklahoma. The Jags NEED a linebacker and Murray is physical and FAST. He dominated at Oklahoma and the Jags need this type of dominance to their linebacker corps. The Jags should proceed to pick offensive linemen, secondary, and depth to the wide receivers, and maybe add a running back.

Nolan: In the Ramsey trade, the Jaguars acquired the Los Angeles Rams’ first round pick which has turned out to be the 20th overall pick. The Jaguars also have their own first round pick at 9 so they have a huge opportunity to make a splash in this upcoming draft. Assuming the Jaguars clear space and address the offensive line in free agency, I would like to see the Jaguars get Minshew some help by taking Alabama’s star wide receiver, Jerry Jeudy, with their first pick. This would majorly help the Jaguars passing game so opposing defenses can’t just focus on shutting down D.J. Chark. With the 20th pick, the Jaguars should address the cornerback issue. The team struggled in pass defense last year allowing 236.1 passing yards per game. I am anticipating that former Florida Gators’ cornerback C.J. Henderson will still be on the board. He is 6’1”, 200 pounds, and very athletic. He may not project as well as Ramsey did coming out of Florida State, but he looks to be a promising corner with the potential to reach the top tier in his career.

The Jags have a very busy off-season ahead of them and they need to have a good draft this year and a promising season next year if Caldwell and Doug Marrone are to keep their jobs, but this is not a one season rebuild. It will take a couple of seasons to build the team into a contender in the AFC South and next hopefully the NFL.

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