Mason Thompson | June 12th, 2020
Yesterday, I started off my power rankings series with the 32nd ranked Miami Dolphins. Today, I bring you the 31st ranked team in my power rankings, the Jacksonville Jaguars.
This Jaguars team is a far cry from the one that made it to the AFC Championship in 2017. The defense has gone down the drain thanks to horrible front office executives. Two of the best players on the team are currently being talked about in trades, leaving the team to potentially hold the number one selection in April’s draft. Let’s dive deep into the team.
Make sure to check out all of our in-depth power rankings here.
- Overall – 72.597 (31st)
- Offense – 71.34 (29th)
- Defense – 75 (28th)
- Coach and Culture – 70.75 (32nd)
- Home Field Advantage – 80.5, 19th (4% Defense, 2% Overall)
Quarterbacks – 69.5, 28th (36% Offense, 27% Overall)
Jacksonville made an enormous mistake by paying Nick Foles what they did before last year. Foles was eventually replaced by sixth-round pick, Gardner Minshew, who will walk into this year as the starter. In 12 starts, he threw for 3,271 yards, 21 touchdowns, and six interceptions. He is a very accurate passer who showed surprisingly mobility to get out of the pocket and make plays of his own. Behind Minshew, they have Mike Glennon and Joshua Dobbs. Glennon was signed in free agency to fill the veteran role in the quarterback room, while Dobbs was acquired with a fifth-round pick in hopes he would compete for the starting job once Foles went down with his injury.
Fortunately, they found Minshew and are rolling him out as the starter this year. The Jaguars spent a sixth-round pick on Oregon State’s Jake Luton. This was a puzzling decision as he is a polar opposite to Minshew. He could make the roster as the team’s third quarterback or spend time on the practice squad this year. Unfortunately for Minshew, if the Jaguars finish with one of the worst records in the league, they are primed to target Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, or Trey Lance in next year’s draft. He will have to put the team on his shoulders if he wants another year in Jacksonville.
Running Backs – 77, T-24th (4% Offense, 3% Overall)
Leonard Fournette is a solid running back. With that being said though, running backs can be found very easily today. Fournette had his fifth-year option declined by the team this offseason and has been in trade talks since the draft. He finally seemed to have a complete skillset after catching 76 passes last year, which will be much lower with the addition of Chris Thompson. Thompson rejoins his former head coach, Jay Gruden, who the team hired as the offensive coordinator. He has had troubles with injuries last year but should find more playing time in Jacksonville than he did in Washington.
Behind those two, the Jaguars have a ton of intriguing young options. Ryquell Armstead was the second option behind Fournette last year and had 49 touches for a combined 252 yards, and two touchdowns. Devine Ozigbo joined the team after being cut by the Saints and didn’t play much of a role. Undrafted free agent, James Robinson could beat out Ozigbo for the final running back spot on the roster. He finished his career at Illinois State with 4,444 yards and 44 touchdowns and provides a three-down skill set that could provide starting potential next year without Fournette on the roster.
Pass Catchers – 77, 27th (17% Offense, 8% Overall)
After a poor rookie season, DJ Chark finally overcame his growing pains and emerged as the Jacksonville’s number one receiver. He was selected to the Pro Bowl last year after a 1,000-yard season and caught eight touchdowns. Second-round pick Laviska Shenault will be one of the team’s best playmakers. He fills the type of role that Deebo Samuel filled in San Francisco last year and Gruden will find inventive ways to use him this year.
Chris Conley had a good season last year and finds himself as one of the oldest members on the squad at only 27. He will likely land up opposite of Chark as the team’s number two receiver. Dede Westbrook didn’t take the step many thought he would last year but still had a solid season. The addition of Shenault takes some of his playing time away, but you could definitely do worse out of the slot. Keelan Cole is the team’s fifth option, while Collin Johnson and C.J. Board will battle it out for the sixth slot.
The selection of Josh Oliver was a surprising one during the 2019 NFL draft and he didn’t make an impact, only catching three passes for 15 yards as a rookie. He will need to take a major step forward this year. The Jaguars brought in former Bengal tight end, Tyler Eifert in hopes of having any production from the tight end position this year. He is coming off the best season he’s had since 2015 but still isn’t the same player he was then.
Offensive Line – 71, 27th (24% Offense, 12% Overall)
The tackle duo is perhaps one of the worst in the league, only because of Cam Robinson. It has been known that Robinson is the weak link on this offensive line but the team hasn’t brought anyone in to challenge his starting position. Jawaan Taylor had an up-and-down rookie season and should develop further this year. Andrew Norwell and Brandon Linder start at left guard and center while A.J. Cann and third-round pick, Ben Bartch will battle for the right guard spot. If Cann starts, it will be the same starting five from last year. Will Richardson offers decent tackle depth and Bartch can play tackle as well.
Run Defense – 75, 28th (6% Defense, 2% Overall)
Jacksonville finished as one of the three worst run defenses last year. Instead of splurging on top-dollar free agents or spending a high draft pick on a defensive tackle, they added some pieces that could make the run defense better without forking out a ton of cash. Abry Jones is a holdover from last year who now has talent around him in Al Woods and Rodney Gunter. The Jaguars also spent a third-round pick on Davon Hamilton, who should factor into the rotation. Myles Jack and newly signed Joe Schobert man the linebacking core. Jack is your typical, old-school hard-hitting linebacker, while Schobert is more of a technical linebacker that doesn’t have elite athletic traits, but will focus more on the little things.
Pass Rush – 76, 25th (21% Defense, 10% Overall)
Josh Allen is the team’s number one edge rusher. He had 10.5 sacks last year playing in mostly a rotational role and is finally going to be a starter this year. I expect him to be in the 14 sack range come season’s end. K’Lavon Chaisson is this year’s Rashan Gary, as he didn’t produce much in college but has all the physical traits to become a star pass rusher, opposite of Allen. 2018 first-round pick, Taven Bryan needs to take a major step forward this year after being labeled as a bust through his first two years. Duwuane Smoot had six sacks last year and should be a solid rotational piece again this year in a contract year, especially with the ongoing saga between Jacksonville and Yannick Ngakoue.
I didn’t factor Ngakoue into the pass rush as he won’t be playing for Jacksonville this year. He will most likely be traded for a day-two pick to a team in need of a number one edge rusher. Chaisson has a similar skill set to Ngakoue and that selection signaled the end of Ngakoue’s tender, even before he took to social media to voice his displeasure with the organization.
Linebackers – 82, T-10th (15% Defense, 4% Overall)
Jack is the player that offenses will need to key on. He is an athletic freak who now has a counterpart in Schobert who keys in on coverage and can read offenses quickly and react. Quincy Williams was a third-round selection last year who recorded 48 tackles including two for a loss. He will have more playing time this year due to the Telvin Smith situation and will be a starter in base formations.
Leon Jacobs is a do-it-all linebacker out of Wisconsin who can rush the passer and also cover who has shown some flashes. Shaq Quarterman was drafted this year and will be a backup to Jack as he plays a similar role coming out of Miami. Overall, the linebacking core has a lot of depth to it as some of these players lower on the depth chart would be starters on other teams.
Secondary – 72, 29th (26% Defense, 17% Overall)
Jacksonville drafted C.J. Henderson with the ninth selection in the draft and he will be their number one cornerback for years to come. After him though, it gets murky. Rashaan Melvin will most likely start opposite of Henderson. D.J. Hayden will most likely start in the slot. A player to keep an eye on is Michigan State rookie, Josiah Scott, who could take over the slot role sometime this year. Tre Herndon and Parry Nickerson round out the cornerback room.
Ronnie Harrison was a high-draft pick who had first-round talk but has been subpar thus far. He is good against the run but horrendous in coverage. Jarrod Wilson started opposite of Harrison last year and did an alright job, but he would be a player used in sub-packages on plenty of other teams in the league. Andrew Wingard is in his second year and should factor in on special teams and in a rotational role as he doesn’t have any elite athleticism. Draft-bust, Josh Jones has joined the team and will battle for a linebacker/safety hybrid role, similar to the spot that Williams currently holds, but doesn’t have the greatest work ethic. J.R. Reed and Daniel Thomas offer some upside and could surprise.
Coach and Culture – 70.75, 32nd (19% Offense, 28% Defense, 15% Overall)
The hiring of Gruden to coach the offense is a solid addition as he should be able to take Minshew to the next step. Jacksonville comes in 30th for offensive coach and culture, but it isn’t about Gruden. Jacksonville’s organization is a mess and is now in trade talks to send their number one option on offense elsewhere.
The defense is an absolute mess as the secondary is full of question marks and Ngakoue’s mess has translated to the rest of the locker room, leaving a sour taste in everyone’s mouth. Allen, Chaisson, and Henderson are the new young playmakers on the defense while there are plenty of players who need to prove themselves this year such as Bryan and Harrison.
Las Vegas is right in putting Jacksonville to have the lowest win total in the league this year. The organization knows it is in a full rebuild, although they should’ve fired at least Doug Marrone last year. Marrone and general manager, Dave Caldwell need to show the team has improved in order to keep their jobs past this year as offensive-minded coaches such as Eric Bienemy are looking to take the next step up in their coaching careers.
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