With rookie workouts and OTAs underway, it’s time to start looking at how NFL rosters are going to take shape. For the first time in his career, Urban Meyer will help shape an NFL team. The Jacksonville Jaguars roster has a few holes for sure, but the front office did a great job in injecting the roster with young talent in the draft.
To say that the Jacksonville Jaguars struggled last year would be an understatement. They earned themselves a new head coach and, arguably more important, a new starting quarterback. With these major pieces now in place, let’s take a look at how the rest of the roster could shake out.
2021 Jacksonville Jaguars Roster Projections: Offense
This is probably the easiest position group to look at with the Jaguars. After a season in which the team benched Gardner Minshew because he looked like he gave the team a better chance to win games, the Jags have their quarterback of the future in Trevor Lawrence.
Lawrence is the most highly anticipated quarterback prospect in years and will get the starting gig from day one. Should he get injured, the job will be handed down to one of Minshew, C.J. Beathard, or Jake Luton. The latter two showed their ineptitude last season, so I’ll hedge my bets with the mullet and mustache that energized Duval County for at least a season.
Running back is one of the more mind-boggling positions with the Jaguars. Not because of the players that are available for the team to use, instead, how they got them. Last season, the group was anchored by James Robinson, an undrafted free agent who ended up rushing for over 1000 yards and seven scores.
Then in free agency, the team brings in Carlos Hyde, a veteran presence. Perfectly reasonable to bring in another dependable back. But then, they spend their later first-round draft choice on Travis Etienne… I understand wanting to reconnect him with Lawrence, but to use that type of capital on a situational running back just doesn’t make much sense.
The wide receiver group is freshly revitalized thanks to a trio of solid free agent pickups. Jamal Agnew, Marvin Jones, and Phillip Dorsett joined incumbents DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault to create a surprisingly deep corps. Chark and Dorsett bring an element of speed to the group, Jones is a veteran presence, and Agnew is a player just now hitting his prime.
The tight ends are likely going to be one of the Jacksonville Jaguars roster groups that change at some point before the season. Chris Manhertz is coming in as a purely blocking tight end. James O’Shaughnessy is back for his fifth year with the Jaguars, and Luke Farrell was drafted in the fifth round of this year’s draft.
The interesting wrinkle with the tight ends is the current rumor swirling about the team signing Tim Tebow as a tight end. The 33-year-old last played in the NFL six years ago and retired from minor league baseball earlier this year. The reunion of Tebow and Meyer will be an interesting one if it happens, but don’t get your hopes up for a productive tight end.
The offensive line is one of the most important position groups on the field, and the Jacksonville Jaguars roster has a solid group of players. Cam Robinson, Andrew Norwell, and Jawaan Taylor were strong for the Jags last season and are returning to the squad to protect new quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
The team spent some draft capital on the position, selecting Walker Little out of Stanford in the second round. The six-foot-seven tackle hasn’t played in two seasons, but projects to be a starting left tackle with his size and athleticism.
2021 Jacksonville Jaguars Roster Projections: Defense
Defensive line is one of the more shallow groups in the Jacksonville Jaguars roster. Taven Bryan and Malcom Brown are returners, and the team added Roy Robertson-Harris in free agency. This group should be good enough at what they’ll be tasked with doing in the team’s 4-3 defense, but not much more than that.
Now, this group has some real talent. Both Josh Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson are high draft picks of the Jags, and even though they’ve missed time to injury, they both can make an impact as pass rushers. Jihad Ward will come in handy as a rotational pass rusher with the group and adds a veteran presence.
Inside linebacker is another group of relative strength. Leon Jacobs, who missed almost all of 2020 with an injury, will be ready for this upcoming year. Myles Jack is one of the better mikes in the NFL, and Joe Schobert looks to build on his first season with the Jaguars.
This is yet another group of great improvement on the Jacksonville Jaguars roster. CJ Henderson, a former first-round draft choice, missed a chunk of last season due to injury. Now he’s joined by a handful of other talented corners.
Shaquil Griffin is the bigger addition in the short term. He left Seattle for a hefty three-year, $40 million contract with $29 mil guaranteed. His contract has two voidable seasons built-in, so this could be his one season with the Jags. The other major addition is Tyson Campbell out of Georgia. He is one of the highest-graded corners coming into the league through the draft.
If you’re noticing a pattern, it’s because there is one. Safety is another greatly improved portion of the Jacksonville Jaguars roster. The team added Rayshawn Jenkins from the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency and Andre Cisco from Syracuse in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
2021 Jacksonville Jaguars Roster Projections: Special Teams
Kicker | Josh Lambo
Josh Lambo will likely be the kicker in Jacksonville again in 2021. He has been rock steady for years now and only has competition in the form of Aldrick Rosas, most recently in the news for off-field issues.
Punter| Logan Cooke
Logan Cooke got the least amount of work in his career in 2020. With that said, he performed well and earned an extension with the Jags.
Long Snapper | Ross Matiscik
Ross Matiscik is in his sophomore year after joining the Jaguars as an undrafted free agent from Baylor.