The Jacksonville Jaguars will welcome back head coach Gus Bradley for the 2016 season, but it might be his last chance to turn things around following a 5-11 season in 2015. With the amount of offensive weapons that the Jaguars have, they are only a few pieces away from turning into contenders in the AFC.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Quarterback, wide receiver, tight end
Quarterback: Blake Bortles was able to improve on his inconsistent rookie season but still needs to decrease his interception total in 2016. The amount of talent on the Jaguars’ offense helps a lot and Bortles will look to build on his 4,428 passing yards, 35 touchdowns and 18 interceptions that he accumulated in 2015. If he can continue to develop into a strong NFL quarterback, the Jaguars may become relevant sooner than later.
Wide Receiver: The biggest problem of this unit was suspended wideout Justin Blackmon but he is no longer under contract. The two Allens (Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns) stretch opposing defenses on an every-down basis, and they might become one of the best wide receiver duos in NFL history when it is all said and done. Hurns tallied 64 receptions to go with 1,031 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns and Robinson was able to post 80 receptions for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns. Throw Marqise Lee into the mix, and the Jaguars have the ability to make it almost impossible for opposing defenses to double team anyone on their roster.
Tight End: Julius Thomas missed the first four games of 2015 but, by season’s end, it became clear that he and Bortles were still in the process of becoming a cohesive unit. This offseason will likely help the Thomas-Bortles connection, and the tight end should be able to come close to his days with the Denver Broncos.
Offensive line, defensive line, secondary
Offensive Line: The biggest problem for the Jaguars’ offense is the offensive line, and the unit allowed 51 sacks in 2015. If Jacksonville is to have any success in 2016, they will need to make the o-line better through free agency and the draft. It is possibly the biggest need of any that the Jaguars have.
Defensive Line: While 36.0 sacks is decent for any defense, the Jaguars have help on the way through their first-round draft pick in 2015, Dante Fowler Jr., whom tore his ACL in his first practice with the team. The Jaguars might hold off on addressing this aspect of the defense until they see what kind of impact Fowler can have in 2016.
Secondary: An after-effect of a defensive line that only had 36.0 sacks is a secondary that helped the Jaguars’ defense give up an astounding 28.0 points per game, which ranked 31st this season. But with a lack of depth in the secondary, or any above-average talent, this should be the second area of need that the Jaguars need to focus on in free agency and the draft.
Players to Re-Sign:
DE Andre Branch
P Bryan Anger
DT/DE Ryan Davis
TE Marcedes Lewis
QB Chad Henne
2016 Free agent targets ($76.6 million projected cap space):
OT Cordy Glenn
OG Alex Mack
DL Muhammad Wilkerson
LB Von Miller
DB Josh Norman
DB Janoris Jenkins
DB Prince Amukamara
S Eric Berry
S Reggie Nelson
2016 NFL Draft First Round Targets (No. 5 pick):
DB Jalen Ramsey (Florida State)
OT Laremy Tunsil (Ole Miss)
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