10 Jacksonville Jaguars Players Essential To Future Of Franchise
10 Essential Jaguars Players
Most Jacksonville Jaguars fans have already written off this season after the team’s disappointing 1-4 start.
Even Jaguars general manager Gene Smith came out this week and said that his team had a lack of talent, basically admitting that he has failed at constructing a competitive roster in his four years at the helm.
Even though new Jaguars owner Shahid Khan has said all of the right things publicly about Smith’s future with the franchise, it has become apparent at this point that nothing short of a drastic improvement in this team’s performance can save his job.
With that being said, if the Jaguars do fire Smith in the offseason and hire a new general manager, they will once again be starting another rebuilding process. Despite the lack of talent currently on the Jaguars roster, if Smith does indeed get canned he will not be leaving the cupboard bare.
There is already a group of core players on the Jaguars roster at important positions that would give the new GM a leg up on his rebuild. In fact with some solid drafting, and perhaps the selection of a competent quarterback, the Jaguars could conceivably be contending again in a year or two.
This list has players that are at varying stages of their football careers, giving the Jaguars a foundation of solid veterans and young players that may be evolving into elite NFL talents in the near future.
Here is a look at the ten players that are essential to the next rebuilding attempt of the Jaguars.
Justin Blackmon is a solid wide receiver who runs good routes and has good hands.
While rookie wide receivers usually struggle to make the adjustments from college to pro football, Blackmon has still managed to catch 13 balls for 119 yards through his first five games.
Blackmon is never going to blow anybody away with his speed, but once the Jaguars figure out how to get him the ball on underneath crossing routes he has a chance to evolve into the game changing wide receiver he was in college.
When he can stay healthy and on the field, Derek Cox is easily the best cornerback the Jaguars have. He spends most of his snaps matched up against the opponents’ best wide receiver and has the size and ability to evolve into a shut down corner if he can ever get over his injury prone nature.
Marcedes Lewis is the best two-way tight end playing in the league right now.
His size makes him the Jaguars best red zone target and his speed makes him a matchup nightmare over the middle of the field. Not to mention he is also a extremely good run blocker, so his presence on the field does not tip off opposing defenses as to whether the Jaguars intend to run or pass.
Eugene Monroe was current Jaguars general manager Gene Smith’s first draft pick, and likely his best.
In his fourth season in the league, Monroe has evolved into one of the truly elite left tackles. Through five games this season, he has only surrendered one sack.
Left tackle is a premier position in the NFL and the Jaguars have that spot locked up for at least the next five years with Monroe.
Cecil Shorts is finally starting to show his talent in his second year with the Jaguars.
Shorts currently leads the Jaguars with 205 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. He has proved to be the Jaguars most explosive playmaker on the outside and has earned an expanded role in the offense with his exceptional play.
Daryl Smith is the most underrated linebacker in the league right now, and his absence so far this season with a nagging groin injury has been a major blow to the Jaguars defense.
Smith is a free agent this offseason, so he will likely be the Jaguars top free agent priority. He excels in both run defense and pass coverage, and is certainly the surest tackler the Jaguars have.
Like Smith, Paul Posluszny is another important influence on the Jaguars defense.
Posluszny is a tackling machine who is slightly overmatched in pass coverage, but he is primarily on the field to stuff the run.
There are several question marks along the Jaguars offensive line, but Uche Nwaneri is not one of them.
Nwaneri has been a solid right guard for several years along the Jaguars offensive line and is an excellent run blocker.
The Jaguars handed Jeremy Mincey a big free agent contract this offseason, but he has struggled as a pass rushing defensive end so far this season.
Mincey is never going to be an elite pass rushing defensive end, but he is a solid run defender. He will flourish once the Jaguars find an elite pass rusher to play opposite of him on the defensive line.
The Jaguars safety position used to be a mess, but Dawan Landry had solidified the secondary with his veteran presence.
Landry is at his best when he is coming down into the box to support against the run, but he has shown his ability to play deep and making plays against the pass.
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