Are the Jacksonville Jaguars elite? They sure are… close. After free agency, the Jags have added key pieces all over their defense, like sack-machine DE Calais Campbell and thumper SS Barry Church. Not to mentioned they got a STEAL in CB A.J. Bouye at 4 years only 26 million guaranteed. The Jags had a very sneaky defense last season considering the amount of times they turned the ball over and the lack of time they possessed the ball; so I can only imagine the steps this squad will take next season. Let’s take a quick peeked at the starting lineup on D:
Defensive Line- Malik Jackson (elite), Calais Campbell (elite), Yannick Ngakoue (in ROY conversation last season), Dante Fowler (elite potential)
Linebackers- Telvin Smith (elite), Paul Posluszny (back-end of career), Myles Jack (elite potential)
Cornerbacks- Jalen Ramsey (elite), A.J. Bouye (boom or bust)
Safeties- Barry Church (solid), Tashuan Gipson (solid)
Not to mentioned the great depth players they can rotate in: DE Abry Jones, DT Sheldon Day, DT Roy Miller, CB Aaron Colvin, and S James Sample. (need to draft a potential replacement for Poz)
Now, the Jags need a little help on the offensive line but I’m not too worried; it isn’t overly difficult to find interior lineman later in the draft, especially when HC Doug Marrone has built his career off oline. They just draft bust TE Julius Thomas for an above average LT Brandon Albert. Jacksonville also has elite receiving weapons in Robinson and Hurns, and decent running backs in Yeldon and Ivory (tbh, I bet they will draft Leonard Fournette, will discuss later).
Let’s be real.. the Jags will only go as far as QB Blake Bortles will take them. And I don’t have a lot of confidence in him these days. Now, theory time. The Jags currently hold the 4th overall pick in the draft. At this point they have added free agents to fix the majority of holes on defense, so I’m expecting the Jags to take Fournette with that pick. I hope the Jags are intelligent not to take a running back that high, but who knows. If I were in the front office I would be calling every team in the league to trade down from 4. This way, Jacksonville will be able to stock pile picks in the 2018 draft. If Bortles stinks on ice next season they will have this assets to trade for the 1st pick and select a franchise QB (Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold), and bring him into a great situation. And if Bortles improves then the Jags will have many picks to fix any lingering holes (similar situation to Marcus Mariota and the Titans this past season).
With all this being said, I will make a bold prediction that the Jacksonville Jaguars, yes THE JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS will be the next powerhouse in the NFL. If Blake proves himself the be a top 12 QB, then the Jags will be a force to be reckoned with in 2017-2018 and will win at least one playoff game. If Blake sucks balls, then the Jags will be the best team in the NFL within 3 years.
Mark my words, the Jags are on the rise Folks. Make fun of them while you can, because soon you’ll be cowering in fear.