5 Underrated Free Agents the Jacksonville Jaguars Should Target This Offseason
5 Underrated FAs the Jacksonville Jaguars Should Target This Offseason
Let's face it; the Jacksonville Jaguars have a lot of holes to fill on both sides of the ball, but especially on offense. You don't go 2-14 and 4-12 in consecutive seasons by accident. The most glaring need is at quarterback, where Chad Henne is the best the Jaguars have to offer their fans. They are sure to fill that need with the third pick in the draft. If Johnny Manziel is available, the Jaguars should take him. That would seriously increase the exposure for a team that otherwise plays in near anonymity. We can debate all day who Jacksonville will take in the upcoming draft, but let's look at 5 underrated free agents that Jacksonville should try to get.
Outside of the QB, the weakest position for the Jaguars is defensive end. They have not had a pass rush since the days of Tony Brackens. In fact, Jacksonville had only 31 sacks this past year as a team. Yes, as a team. Their leading sack-getter was Jason Babin and he only had 7.5. Here is where unrestricted free agent Michael Bennett comes into play. He has good size and speed, and he is sporting a Super Bowl ring as a member of the "Legion of Boom". Bennett would be a nice addition to the Jaguars' defensive line, as he would help apply pressure on opposing QB's and relieve some pressure off of the young secondary. The fact that he only made $4.8 million last year makes him underrated at his position. I know, I chuckle at myself when I say "only".
The next area of immediate need for Jacksonville is at the center position. They are losing long time veteran, Brad Meester to retirement. Brian de la Puente is a guy whose name is not on the tip of anyone's tongue but he would be an upgrade at center for the Jaguars. He had an outstanding 2011 and 2012. He struggled a bit in early 2013, which may have lowered his stock, but he finished the season strong. Although underrated, he would be a great fit in Jacksonville.
It looks like the Jaguars are not bringing Marcedes Lewis back because of his price tag, so that leaves Clay Harbour as the best tight end on the squad. That is bad news. Garrett Graham, the backup for the Houston Texans, saw quite a bit of time this year due to an injury to Owen Daniels. Graham filled in admirably for Daniels and at only age 27, I think he could be a safety blanket for whichever QB the Jaguars take in the draft.
The fourth and fifth underrated free agents that the Jaguars should take a long look at are both receivers. Assuming that Justin Blackmon is not back next year, the Jaguars will be left with Cecil Shorts and Ace Sanders, whom are small in stature. They will need a big receiver and Danario Alexander fits the bill. He is 6-foot-5, has nice ups and should come at an affordable price tag. Adding a deep threat would be a big addition for the Jaguars. Emmanuel Sanders is a guy with great speed who can spread the field, and he comes from a solid organization in the Pittsburgh Steelers. Adding quality character to a locker room never hurts.
Take a look at some stats from the previously discussed 5 underrated free agents that the Jacksonville Jaguars should take a look at signing.
5. Emmanuel Sanders
Down-field threat with above average stats for the Pittsburgh Steelers last year. Sanders had 67 catches for 740 yards and six touchdowns.
4. Danario Alexander
Danario Alexander has the size the Jaguars need at 6-foot-5, as they currently do not have a receiver over 6-foot-1.
3. Brian de la Puente
Played in all 16 games last year. He helped keep Drew Brees upright most of the year.
2. Garrett Graham
Graham had 49 catches for 545 yards and five touchdowns in part-time starting duty. Imagine what he could do now that he has some starts under his belt.
1. Michael Bennett
Bennett had 8.5 sacks last year for the Seattle Seahawks. That is one more than any other Jaguar in 2013.