JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (3-13)
New faces: CB A.J. Bouye, DE Calais Campbell, SS Barry Church, RB Leonard Fournette, LT Cam Robinson.
Key losses: CB Prince Amukamara, LT Kelvin Beachum, SS Johnathan Cyprien, DT Sen’Derrick Marks, DT Roy Miller, TE Julius Thomas.
Strengths: Landing a top draft pick? Jaguars have chosen in top 10 for NFL-record 10 consecutive years, although none of the picks have made Pro Bowl and only Tyson Alualu (2010) got second contract. They seemingly hit on CB Jalen Ramsey last season, so his emergence along with additions of Campbell and Bouye (paid duo $56 million guaranteed) should make defense more formidable. Lack of pass rush and turnovers were huge issues in 2016, so Jags counting on more pressure from young edge rushers Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler leading to more mistakes from opposing QBs.
Weaknesses: Nearly every offensive position, especially quarterback and offensive line. Jaguars settled on QB Blake Bortles to start - partly because of scrambling ability behind shaky line - and he’ll surely be on short leash. Line likely No. 1 issue again. Top executive Tom Coughlin failed to adequately upgrade unit in draft and free agency, huge miscalculation considering plan was to pound ball with Fournette and Chris Ivory.
Fantasy Players To Watch: WR Allen Robinson, who made Pro Bowl in 2015 following 1,400-yard, 14-touchdown campaign, enters contract year trying to rebound from disappointing season. Robinson was team’s best offensive player in training camp.
Expectations: Coughlin seemingly botched several key decisions, none bigger than picking up fifth-year option in Bortles’ rookie contract. Move would cost franchise $19 million in 2018 if Bortles sustains major injury this season. QB play and Coughlin’s miscalculations likely will result in another year of double-digit losses and another high draft pick.
For more NFL coverage: https://www.pro32.ap.org and https://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.