Jaguars spend large in hopes of escaping AFC South cellar


JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (3-14)

New faces: Coach Doug Pederson, WR Christian Kirk, G Brandon Scherff, WR Zay Jones, TE Evan Engram, RB Snoop Connor, OLB Travon Walker, ILB Devin Lloyd, ILB Foye Oluokun, DE Foley Fatukasi, DE Arden Key, CB Darious Williams, C Luke Fortner.

Key losses: LB Myles Jack, WR DJ Chark, LB Damien Wilson, G Andrew Norwell, G A.J. Cann, C Brandon Linder.

Strengths: The Jaguars spent large in free company for the second straight yr, with a lot of the cash going towards a much-needed defensive rebuild. Owner Shad Khan has dedicated greater than $200 million — together with $125 million assured — the previous two years to herald six defensive starters who might assist make Jacksonville one of many stingiest models within the league. Oluokun, Fatukasi and Williams be part of final yr’s class that included CB Shaquill Griffin, FS Rayshawn Jenkins and DE Roy Robertson-Harris. GM Trent Baalke additionally spent important draft capital on that aspect of the ball, deciding on plug-and-play starters Travon Walker (edge), Devin Lloyd (linebacker), Andre Cisco (security) and Tyson Campbell (cornerback) previously two years. The outcomes ought to yield an improved protection, fairly doable the franchise’s greatest since 2018.

Weaknesses: Jacksonville has been principally anemic on offense for almost a dozen years. The crew has completed twenty fifth or worse in scoring 9 occasions previously 11 seasons, a paltry stretch of futility during which the Jags have completed final within the league in scoring thrice. They averaged a franchise-worst and league-low 14.9 factors in 2021, hardly what anybody anticipated once they drafted Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 total choose. Lawrence clearly wanted extra assist, and Baalke responded by signing Kirk, Jones, Engram and Scherff in free company. Lawrence additionally will get fellow first-rounder and Clemson teammate Travis Etienne, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s all-time main rusher, within the combine after he missed his rookie season with a foot damage. The Jaguars insist Lawrence and his supporting forged will finish the crew’s offensive stoop.

Camp Development: Campbell and Cisco seem like budding defensive stars, and Zay Jones is likely to be a sneaky-good addition for Lawrence contemplating Kirk, Engram and Etienne are positive to attract additional consideration. RB James Robinson (Achilles tendon) needs to be wholesome sufficient to return early within the season, possibly even for the opener, however he appears to be like heavier than traditional and remains to be operating with a limp.

Fantasy Player To Watch: Etienne may have a featured function within the offense, together with Kirk and Engram. The Jaguars don’t have any reservations about operating Etienne between the tackles or utilizing him within the passing recreation. The twenty fifth total choose within the 2021 draft appears to be like totally healed from a Lisfranc damage and has extra velocity and elusiveness than Robinson.

FanDuel Says: Win Super Bowl: 120-1. Over/beneath wins: 6.5.

Expectations: The Jaguars might have as many as 13 new starters, a doubtlessly large swing for a crew that’s gained a mixed 4 video games the previous two seasons, held the highest draft spot in consecutive years and completed final within the AFC South 4 straight occasions. Jacksonville may need sufficient younger expertise to shock opponents — particularly if Lawrence makes the bounce many expect — and will profit from now not having Urban Meyer within the constructing.

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