2021 marks the first time that Urban Meyer will be faced with piecing together an NFL roster. At the college level, he was able to consistently field a competitive team, partially thanks to the seemingly endless pool of players to pick from. That simply isn’t the case in the NFL.
The Jacksonville Jaguars position battles in camp will be fierce and should certainly give Meyer something to think about. The Jaguars were a mess last year and made more than just a handful of major changes in the offseason. The biggest of those changes, the quarterback position, doesn’t make this list since it’s clear who the number one guy is. Here are the biggest position battles set to take place this summer for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jacksonville Jaguars Position Battles: Offense
RB: Travis Etienne vs James Robinson
As much as I’d like to add Carlos Hyde to this list, he’s clearly the odd man out as a potential RB1. The battle lies between James Robinson and first-round draft pick Travis Etienne. Etienne joins his former teammate and number one overall pick Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville. He is supremely talented: excellent in the passing game, and can call his acceleration his signature attribute.
James Robinson is the incumbent. He joined before last season as an undrafted free agent and quickly established himself as the number one running back. The stocky back showed off his ability to run between the tackles, putting together over 1000 yards and seven scores over 14 games. The main battle here will come down to what type of offense Meyer and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell want to run. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the two split time in the backfield.
TE: Tim Tebow vs the Field
As much as this pains me to write, there is a pretty good chance that Tim Tebow makes the Jacksonville Jaguars opening day roster. The 33-year-old hasn’t stepped onto a professional football field as a player since 2012 and appears to have made the switch from a baseball career to play with his old coach, Meyer. There isn’t much else to say since there isn’t much out there about his practice performances yet.
The Jaguars kept a solid passing option in James O’Shaughnessy on the roster from years past and added a mountain of a blocking tight end in Chris Manhertz from the Carolina Panthers. Both O’Shaughnessy and Manhertz are NFL veterans who have performed well over the last few seasons. The Jags also drafted Luke Farrell out of Ohio State to eventually take over the role as a player who can both block and catch passes effectively.
Jacksonville Jaguars Position Battles: Defense/Special Teams
CB1: CJ Henderson vs Shaquill Griffin
While great cornerbacks certainly will play on the field at the same time, only one will be given the defense’s toughest assignments, widely regarded as a badge of honor. CJ Henderson was a 2020 first-round draft pick of the Jaguars who impressed in limited time as a rookie. Henderson played just eight games last season, as he was hindered by a groin injury and eventual labrum surgery. Henderson showed off what made him a top-ten draft pick when healthy, only allowing a 64% completion percentage.
Shaq Griffin was a big-money free agent signing this spring. The veteran defensive back joins the Jaguars and immediately steps into a top-two role. He was a Pro-Bowler just two years ago and was no slouch in 2020. He will be a tough competitor for the youngster, and it will be interesting to see who wins the top job for Meyer.
Kicker: Josh Lambo vs Aldrick Rosas
This may seem like a weird one since Josh Lambo has been the Jaguars’ kicker since 2017, but he missed some time last season due to injury and his replacement was plenty serviceable. Lambo is one of the more consistent and strong kickers in the NFL, consistently hitting more than 90% of his field-goal attempts.
His counterpart, however, has arguably one of the strongest legs in the game. Aldrick Rosas cut his teeth in the league with the Giants over three seasons. He was cut after off the field issues soured his relationship with ownership, and he was picked up by the Jaguars last season. Although his accuracy can be questionable at times, Rosas has a huge leg and is younger than Lambo by a few years.
Thanks for reading my article on the Jacksonville Jaguars Position Battles! Follow me on Twitter @kinggeorge94 for more NFL news and notes, and follow @OT_Heroics for all things sports!