The Jacksonville Jaguars headlined much early discussion during the 2021 season. They had a new coach in Urban Meyer and one of the best quarterback prospects in the past decade. However, distractions and issues came, followed by the firing of Urban Meyer. In 2022, Doug Pedersen takes over after a year off and inherits a team that spent big in free agency. The Jaguars front office bolstered their offense to help out Lawrence and a lot of eyes will be on the Jaguars in 2022. This will be a big year in terms of overall development to see if the team can get back on the right track in their rebuild.
QB: Trevor Lawrence, CJ Beathard, Jake Luton, EJ Perry
Explanation: Trevor Lawrence had his struggles in his rookie season where he had a 12:17 touchdown to interception ratio. However, the Jaguars season was full of distractions as it led to their coach. Doug Pedersen is now the head coach after taking a year off. He was a QB for a long time in the league and helped bring a championship to Philadelphia in 2017. Press Taylor is a first-time offensive coordinator and will have a lot of pressure to develop the young quarterback. He was the QB coach in Philadelphia with Pederson, so he brings experience at the position. Behind Lawrence, Beathard is a quality backup who has played significant snaps in the NFL and seen a lot of situations. He will also be a big help to Lawrence and his progression.
RB: Travis Etienne, James Robinson, Ryquell Armstead, Snoop Conner
Explanation: Grading this position group is tricky because Etienne missed his entire rookie season due to injury, but the talent and explosiveness is known due to his time at Clemson. Regardless, James Robinson is a solid back who rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2020 as a rookie and averaged 4.7 yards per carry in 2021. Snoop Conner was selected in the fifth round of this past draft. He averaged five yards per carry at Ole Miss and will be in competition for the RB3 spot. This has the structure of a solid position group with a lot riding on how Etienne bounces back from injury and adjusts to the NFL style of play.
WR: Zay Jones, Christian Kirk, Marvin Jones, Laquon Treadwell, Laviska Shenault Jr., Jamal Agnew, Jeff Cotton Jr., Tim Jones, Marvin Hall, Kevin Austin Jr., Lujuan Winningham, Willie Johnson, Ryan McDaniel
Explanation: The Jaguars went out and spent big in free agency this year for weapons to help their young QB. Christian Kirk and Zay Jones highlight that list. Kirk had 982 receiving yards last year and Jones had 546 but the final eight games of his tenure with the Raiders he recorded at least three receptions each game, becoming one of Derek Carr’s main targets. Marvin Jones is an experienced veteran that quietly had a very solid 2021 season with 73 catches for 832 yards. A lot will be riding on this group to step up and make life easier for their QB. Kirk and Jones will need to play up to their contracts and prove to the rest of the NFL that they are top tier receivers.
TE: Evan Engram, Dan Arnold, Chris Manhertz, Luke Farrell
Explanation: Evan Engram did not have as good of a season as his previous ones in New York in 2021, but the Jaguars are hoping he can bring his pass catching ability to Jacksonville. Arnold is a quality TE2 and in his eight games with Jacksonville last season he had 28 catches for 324 yards. Manhertz will serve as an experienced TE3 with blocking abilities. Engram should definitely upgrade this group, as long as he can flip his play back to how it was prior to last year.
OL: Cam Robinson, Ben Bartch, Luke Fortner, Tyler Shatley, Brandon Scherff, Jawaan Taylor, Walker Little, KC McDermott, Wes Martin, Will Richardson Jr., Bandaranaike Traore, Nick Ford, Jared Hocker, Coy Cronk
Explanation: Jacksonville finished 24th in PFF’s end of the year OL rankings. Cam Robinson is a quality tackle, and they were able to retain him. The addition of Scherff in free agency is huge as he is one of the better guards in the league, when healthy. The Jaguars also added Luke Fortner in the draft from Kentucky. He should be a quality developmental piece with the potential to start early. It seems the Jaguars have faith in their two other tackles, whether it’s Jawaan Taylor or Walker Little. That will be a position to keep an eye on in training camp. Overall, this is a much-improved unit and one that should do a better job at keeping their franchise QB upright.
DL: Folorunso Fatukasi, Davon Hamilton, Roy Robertson-Harris, Arden Key, Jay Tufele, Dawuane Smoot, Malcom Brown, Raequan Williams, Adam Gotsis, Jeremiah Ledbetter, Israel Antwine, Wyatt Ray
Explanation: Arden Key was very underrated pickup for this defensive line unit. In 2021 with the 49ers, Key had 22 total tackles and 6.5 sacks with a PFF grade of 69.5. He should help out this unit significantly. Fatukasi was a brings a balanced game in terms of run defense and pass rush. Gotsis is a veteran and has the experience to play in certain situations as well. Robertson-Harris had a 68 overall pass rush grade in 2021 and will look to improve on his three sacks. This defensive line unit doesn’t have any stars, but it has the depth and experience needed to be a good front line of a defense and make life easier for the linebackers.
LB: Josh Allen, Devin Lloyd, Foyesade Oluokun, Travon Walker, Jamir Jones, Shaquille Quarterman, Chad Muma, K’Lavon Chaisson, De’Shaan Dixon, Tyrell Adams, Chappelle Russell, Grant Morgan
Explanation: This is a loaded group that improved greatly via the draft and free agency. Josh Allen is a Pro Bowl caliber player that has double digit sack potential each year. Devin Lloyd was LB1 on most mock drafts and for good reason. He is a dynamic player that is going to step in and make an impact day one. Oluokun’s stats may be a little misleading, but he has a knack for getting to the football and that is a great trait for a LB to have. He led the league in total tackles in 2021. Travon Walker was the Jaguars’ No. 1 pick, and he brings an athletic presence to their defense. He will have the ability to line up at multiple positions and wreak havoc. It will be interesting to see how he is used and where he plays best at. The Jaguars also used a draft pick on Chad Muma, a tall and athletic linebacker out of Wyoming with high upside. This is an intriguing group and one that will be interesting to see if they can live up to the talent in this group.
CB: Darious Williams, Shaquill Griffin, Tyson Campbell, Rudy Ford, Xavier Crawford, Tre Herndon, Chris Claybrooks, Montaric Brown, Shabari Davis, Josh Thompson, Benjie Franklin
Explanation: Griffin was very solid for the Jaguars in his 14 games as he had an overall defensive grade of 72. The Jaguars brought in Darious Williams for the Rams, and he is a solid cover corner. Tyson Campbell had an under the radar rookie season in 2021. He had a slight edge on Williams overall defensive grade with a 62.7 and Williams with a 61.8. However, Campbell had a slightly lower cover grade. Darious Williams’ contract assumes he is being brought in to be the starter, but at worst case you have a quality backup in Tyson Campbell.
S: Rayshawn Jenkins, Andrew Wingard, Andre Cisco, Daniel Thomas, Brandon Rusnak, Ayo Oyelola
Explanation: The Jaguars have a two deep of safeties with a lot of game reps under their belt. Wingard and Jenkins played the greater majority while Cisco and Thomas each got over 200 snaps of action. There is no super star in this room but there are a bunch of quality NFL players that have shown they can get it done. They close out a new and improved defense that should make some noise in the AFC South this year.