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Predicting the 53-Man Roster

Aug 27, 2014 -- 7:30am

By: James Johnson (@SportGrind_Don)

With just one preseason game left for all of the NFL’s 32 teams, it’s just about that time of the year when each of those respective organizations start shaping their rosters through final cuts. That process for the Jags will begin Thursday night as they take the field one last time for the 2014 preseason against the Atlanta Falcons. That said, here’s an early look at who I think could potentially be a part of the Jags final 53 man roster.

QB (2)

Chad Henne, Blake Bortles.

This part of the roster is pretty mush self-explanatory as Henne will be the team’s starter during week one—and of course it’s a given the team will keep their first overall pick who had one of the best preseasons of any player in the league. The real question is: how long will Henne hold his title as a starter after week one?

RB (4)

Toby Gerhart, Denard Robinson, Storm Johnson, Will Ta’ufo’ou.

As I mentioned in my last article, the Jags signed Gerhart this year in free agency with the intent to make him the workhorse back of their offense. He’ll likely be backed up by a combination of Denard Robinson (likely the team’s #2 RB) and the Jags’ seventh round pick, Storm Johnson (who should be the #3 RB). Robinson really impressed this preseason, as he looks to me to be the most improved player on the roster. His ability to run to the outside will be very valuable for the team as it complements Gerhart’s uphill style of running perfectly. Johnson on the other hand appears to be a combination of both of his counterparts and will likely make the team seeing as depth will be needed at the RB position, especially considering how much the Jags will pound the rock throughout the season. Lastly, Will Ta’ufo’ou will resume his duties as the team’s starting fullback.

WR  (6)

Cecil Shorts, Marqise Lee, Mike Brown, Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Tandon Doss

Though Shorts missed a majority of the preseason, it’s very obvious that he is the leader of this young group. Marqise Lee filled in for Shorts as the teams #1 WR in the preseason and flashed a bit in the process. Both Lee and the other WR the Jags took in the 2nd round, Allen Robinson, are expected to be key contributors once the regular season rolls around, though we’ll have to wait to see both of them on field together due to Robinson’s hamstring injury. Two others who received a ton of play time this preseason were Mike Brown and Allen Hurns. Brown started off the preseason struggling with drops, but he later cleaned that issue up. Hurns has been spectacular as an UDFA addition to the team and was without a doubt the best WR on the Jags roster this preseason. He, without question, will make the final 53 and rightfully deserves to. Lastly, the Jags received a bit of good news as Tandon Doss returned to practicefrom an ankle injury he sustained in late July. I think the team may potentially keep him for the sole reason that their return game has been lacking. Not to mention that they’ll be minus Ace Sanders for the first 4 weeks of the regular season so there will be a void there. Once Sanders return, however, the Jags may just have something to think about here.

OL (9)

Luke Joeckel, Zane Beadles, Jacques McClendon, Brandon Linder, Austin Pasztor, Cam Bradfield, Luke Bowanko, Drew Nowak, Sam Young.

This group is probably the one that concerns me the most as the first team unit has yet to gel. One issue that the team may have overcome is the search for a starting center. As we all know, Mike Brewster struggled mightily in week one and two at the position this preseason. He was then pretty much demoted by week three as Jacques McClendon was named the starter against Detroit. McClendon has also found himself some competition in sixth round pick Luke Bowanko, who has silently fought his way up the Jags depth chart this preseason. Reportedly, Bowanko took some snaps with the first team in the Jags last practice session this week, and I believe when it’s all said and done he could likely be the team’s #1 center come week one. My only concern with that is it would put the Jags in a position where they’d be starting two rookie interior lineman. On top of that, the Jags will be minus one starter in RT Austin Pasztor, who will be replaced by 4th year veteran Cameron Bradfield while Luke Joeckel and Zane Beadles will man the left side. Behind them are issues, too, as the Jags appear to lack serviceable depth. For that reason, both Sam Young and Drew Nowak could maybe crack the back end of the roster being that they are veteran backups. Needless to say, this will be a unit that the Jags will definitely look to add some help to before week one of the regular season rolls around.

TE (3)

Marcedes Lewis, Clay Harbor, Brandon Barden.

After Lewis there is a huge drop-off in talent at this position. Harbor has been out since July with a calf injury and Barden hasn’t really flashed this preseason, but somebody has to make the team behind Lewis. I think it’s very likely the team will look to add some help here after final cuts.

DT (5)

Roy Miller, Sen’Derrick Marks, DeAndre Coleman, Ziggy Hood, Abry Jones.

Clear, cut, and dry, Marks has been an absolute terror this preseason and is arguably the team’s best player on defense. Roy Miller also has played well at his respective position, which is good since he struggled last year. Ziggy Hood, one of the team’s many additions on defense during free agency, proved to be a solid rotational player behind Marks on the Jags DL, while Abry Jones looks to make the team as the Jags second nose-tackle behind Miller. I also believe Deandre Coleman could potentially make the team as a sleeper seeing as he flashed early in the preseason process.

DE/ 5-Tech (2)

 Red Bryant, Tyson Alualu.

Bryant was one of many signings the Jags brought in to upgrade their defense and will be the starter as the team’s #1 five-technique. Behind him is a former 1st round pick in Tyson Alualu, who was the starter at the position prior to Bryant’s arrival. Alualu flashed in the preseason and I think it’s largely due to him and Bryant being able to take the pressure off of each other. Now that he isn’t the primary five-technique, I think we’ll see a healthier Alualu throughout the season, which ultimately equals a more effective Alualu.

DE/ LEO (4)

Chris Clemons, Andre Branch, Ryan Davis, Chris Smith.

Without a question Chris Clemons was the Jags biggest addition in free agency as he was brought in to be the team’s #1 LEO and lead this young group.  Though Andre Branch hasn’t had a particularly flashy preseason (interception aside), I expect him to make the team as the #2 LEO due to experience. Ryan Davis and Chris Smith on the other hand have been impressive this offseason and I believe they are very good complimentary pieces to both Branch and Clemons. I think we could be in store for a lot of potential QB pressures with this unit.

LB (6)

Telvin Smith, Paul Posluzny, Geno Hayes, Nate Stupar, LaRoy Reynolds, Dekoda Watson.

Of course Posluzny is the heart and leader of this defense, so it goes without saying he’ll make the team while Geno Hayes and LaRoy Reynold look to start the season to the left and right of him. Dekoda Watson, another free agent addition from this year was expected to be the team’s starting OTTO over Reynolds, however, he began training camp on the PUP list. Watson is now back and will battle Reynolds over the coming weeks to crack the starting line-up. Former FSU linebacker Telvin Smith, appears to be a steal of this year’s draft and will be used an extra linebacker in nickel situations due to his speed and coverage ability. I believe one day that he could potentially be a star in this league and will eventually crack the team’s starting line-up in the future. Lastly, Nate Stupar will add depth to the LB position and possibly make the team as a core special teams player. It’s possible the Jags could add another body or two to this unit before the regular season starts.

CB (6)

Alan Ball, Dwayne Gratz, Will Blackmon, Demetrius McCray, Jeremy Harris, Rashaad Reynolds.

According to PFF, Alan Ball was the team’s best corner last yearand I’d agree with that. This year, however, at least in the preseason, I believe Dwayne Gratz has been the team’s best corner so far. That said, both will head into the season as the teams #1 and #2 corners, and they are one of the most underrated tandems in my book. Will Blackmon proved to be a valued asset to the team as he was able to fill in admirably in the absence of Gratz. His performance made him a top priority for the Jags to resign this offseason and it’s safe to pencil him in as the teams #3 corner. Demetrius McCray, one of the five DBs that Dave Caldwell drafted in 2013, looks like a player who has made great strides as he was called upon briefly to fill in for Ball early in the training camp process. I believe his brief moment in the spotlight proved his potential and I can’t see the Jags cutting ties with a player that is developing as well as he has. I believe the team will also keep Harris and Reynolds on the back end of this unit to see how they progress in time. They will likely be given the chance to make their names through special teams.

S (3)

Winston Guy, Johnathan Cyprien, Josh Evans.

Cyprien is of course one of the team’s building blocks for the future, while Winston Guy appears to have won over the free safety position partly due to the early absence of Josh Evans. Now that Evans has returned, however, it appears he’s on Guy’s heels and over the course of the season could win the starting free safety position back. Aside from them, I believe the Jags should look to add some help at this position through the crop of players that don’t make final cuts this upcoming week.

Specialist (3)

Josh Scobee, Bryan Anger, Carson Tinker.

Nothing really that needs to be said here as Scobee is one of the best in the league, while Anger is an ascending star at his respective position. 

Jaguars reduce roster to 75 players; place Aaron Colvin on reserve/non-football injury list

Aug 26, 2014 -- 11:31am

The Jacksonville Jaguars moved rookie defensive back Aaron Colvin from the active/non-football injury list to the reserve/non-football injury list.  The Jaguars now have the league-mandated 75 players on their active roster.

 

Colvin was drafted by the Jaguars in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the 114th selection overall.  Colvin suffered an ACL injury while playing at the Senior Bowl in January of 2014.  He was a four-year letterman at Oklahoma, playing in 50 games with 36 starts.  He finished his career with 234 tackles (170 solo), 15 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, five interceptions and 23 passes defensed.

 

“We are really pleased with Aaron’s progress throughout the offseason and preseason,” Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said.  “He has been dedicated to his rehab from day one and worked extremely hard with our training and strength staff every day.  He played at a high level at Oklahoma and we feel strongly about what he will bring to our roster in the future.  He will continue his rehab and we will make a decision on his playing status for 2014 at the appropriate time.” 

 

NFL rules stipulate that starting on the day after the conclusion of the 6th regular season weekend (October 14) and continuing through the day after the conclusion of the 11th regular season weekend (November 18), clubs are permitted to begin practicing players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform (or Reserve/Non-Football Injury) for a period not to exceed 21 calendar days.  Pads and helmets are permitted during the 21-day period.  At any time during the 21-day practice period, or prior to 4 p.m., New York time, on the day after the conclusion of the 21-day period, clubs are permitted to restore such players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform to their Active/Inactive List.

Jaguars make two roster moves, reduce roster to 76

Aug 25, 2014 -- 3:16pm

The Jacksonville Jaguars waived first-year wide receiver Lamaar Thomas and rookie running back Terrance Cobb, the club announced today.   The Jaguars have 76 players on their current roster and NFL teams must reduce their roster to the league limit of 75 players by Tuesday, August 26 at 4:00 EDT.

Hearns Shining Brighter than Bortles

Aug 25, 2014 -- 2:03pm

By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)

Jaguars’ fans and the world of sports media have gone a great job of building Blake Bortles up as the next Ben Roethlisberger, Dan Marino or enter the next great quarterback.

While knowing your future is secure at quarterback, dare I ask why we are not talking about Allen Hurns as the next big thing at wide receiver. I know the team drafted Marquis Lee and Allen Robinson in the second round of the NFL Draft, where both can really help this offense along with Cecil Shorts and Mike Brown. My thinking is Hurns may be better than all of them. So far he has proved it on the practice field and in the preseason.

Shouldn’t he be as talked about as another other “new” Jaguars player? I certainly think so. A lot of talk has been about Chad Henne needing more time with his receivers, working on chemistry and timing, most notably Cecil Shorts. That might all be fine and good for the moment, however the Blake Bortles to Allen Hurns connection looked pretty good against the Lions, so much so it helped result in a 7-catch, 113-yard evening for the undrafted rookie from Miami. Oh, and it helped stoke the fire over whether Bortles should play against Philadelphia, which we all know will not happen.

If there is a rookie on this team who has earned the right to start Sept 7 it is Hurns.

The Jacksonville receiving corps may be in the best shape it has been since the last 1990s when Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell were lights out in the Jaguars’ offense. Now, not only is four solid receivers – potentially five or six – on this roster, there is also depth, something this team has been yearning for. It’s a nice problem to have when Gus Bradley or Jedd Fisch can look to his fifth or sixth pas catcher and know he will get a solid performance and quality at the position.

Hurns was a beast at Miami – the school that has produced Michael Irvin and Reggie Wayne as well as Yatil Green and Lamar Thomas. By the way, Hurns broke all their records and was undrafted. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

When Allen Robinson marched onto the practice field at EverBank, Rick Ballou told me he reminded him of Anquan Bolden. Hurns reminds me a bit of Terrell Owens, with a softer side. If that is the case and both receivers pan out like the two NFL greats, along with Lee, there is no reason to not believe the Jaguars have some of the best young wide receivers in the game.

Oh, and let’s not forget Shorts is only four seasons into his NFL career. We could be looking at the best receiving unit in the NFL in three seasons. With that in mind, I got one word for you – SCARY.

Everything is coming together here in Jacksonville. All I ask is you please remember the quarterback position is not the only one that has shown improvement to some degree. If everything comes together, then this is really the start of something big in this town. Just think the fans and media could be talking more about who is catching the ball for the Jaguars instead of who is throwing it to them.

 

Jaguars make 11 roster moves, reduce roster to 79

Aug 25, 2014 -- 8:57am

The Jacksonville Jaguars made 11 roster moves today to reduce their roster to 79 players.  NFL teams must reduce their roster to the league limit of 75 players by Tuesday, August 26 at 4 p.m. EDT.

 

Eight players with NFL experience were waived in cornerback Mike Harris, wide receiver Ramses Barden, linebacker Allen Bradford, guard Antoine Caldwell, linebacker Josh Hull, running back Harvey Unga, safety Joe Young and centerPatrick Lewis.   Harris was a sixth-round draft pick of the club in 2012 and played in 31 games with seven starts over the past two seasons.

 

Veteran defensive tackle David Carter (knee) was waived/injured.  Two rookies were waived in long snapper Charley Hughlett and wide receiver Kenny Shaw.

 

“This is always a tough day when you have to make these decisions,” Jaguars general manager David Caldwell said.  “We appreciate all the work these men did into the building of our team.  They came to practice every day and competed.  We wish them nothing but the best in the future.”

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