Jaguars Blog

Gus’ Tiers: Jaguars Roster Needs 1.0

todayFebruary 28, 2024


Welcome to the latest edition of “Gus’ Tiers” at 1010XL/92.5 FM!

Each Wednesday, I’ll be using Tiermaker dot com to create a 100% correct ranking of a timely subject related to the Jacksonville Jaguars/NFL landscape.

For this week’s Tier, I ranked Jacksonville’s roster needs. This is a format I’m sure to come back to, and I thought it’d be an interesting exercise after gaining insight from Jaguars figureheads at the 2024 NFL Combine on Tuesday.

Very High (definitely needs addressing): CB, IOL

Cornerback: Tyson Campbell and Darious Williams are a good starting duo when healthy, but they’re both under contract for just one more season. Slot man Tre Herndon is a pending free agent and the backups lack experience. This unit needs additions at each level, which general manager Trent Baalke wasn’t afraid to shy away from when speaking at the Combine. “We’ve got to add to that group … It’s a group we need to address.”

Interior offensive line: Team brass has been less willing to critique this area – Doug Pederson cited injuries and lack of continuity at the Combine – but it’s absolutely a need after almost single-handily thwarting the offense last season. Baalke mentioned the possibility of bringing in competition for center Luke Fortner, and the Jaguars are looking to re-sign Ezra Cleveland after trading for him last November. It’s uncertain right now whether veteran right guard Brandon Scherff will be released for cap savings, thought it’s worth mentioning that the team liked what it saw from undrafted free agent Cooper Hodges last summer.

High (needs addressing): WR, DE

Wide receiver: Though Calvin Ridley is expected to return in 2024, Zay Jones may not be back, and the depth behind Christian Kirk is concerning. 2023 sixth-rounder Parker Washington is the next man up.

Defensive end: Though Josh Allen is expected to return in 2024, Dawuane Smoot may not be back, and the depth behind Travon Walker is concerning. 2023 fifth-rounder Yasir Abdullah is the next man up.

Medium (probably needs addressing): DT, K, RS

Defensive tackle: Foley Fatukasi is a clear cap casualty candidate after failing to live up to his contract over the past two seasons. Roy Robertson-Harris and DaVon Hamilton should remain, though the latter dealt with a significant back injury last summer and never returned to full strength. Adam Gotsis and Tyler Lacy are decent depth. Expect the team to add a few new players to this rotation in the offseason.

Kicker: Brandon McManus is a free agent and shouldn’t be a shoo-in to return after getting heat about missed kicks from Pederson in multiple press conferences. The team signed former Wild Card Round hero Riley Patterson to a reserve/future contract earlier this month; I’d expect at least one more kicker to be brought in to compete with Patterson in training camp.

Return specialist: Like McManus, Jamal Agnew is a free agent and not necessarily expected to return. The team would prefer not to use Kirk on special teams and could upgrade over Washington.

Low (might need addressing): OT, LB, RB, S

Offensive tackle: This group could jump up the list if Cam Robinson is cut for cap savings, but Pederson and Baalke both said at the Combine that they expect him back. As things stand today, the Jaguars have a solid tackle trio in Robinson, Anton Harrison and Walker Little. Harrison was one of the league’s most efficient pass blockers as a 21-year-old rookie last season.

Linebacker: This unit is a similar story. Jacksonville has an above-average albeit expensive veteran in Foye Oluokun, plus two recent top-75 picks in Devon Lloyd and Chad Muma. The team may need to add a special teams contributor if Caleb Johnson or Shaq Quarterman aren’t retained in free agency.

Running back: Travis Etienne and Tank Bigsby are locked into the top two roles given the draft resources devoted to getting them. The room does need a third body, whether that’s D’Ernest Johnson or a new addition. Pass protection and special teams will be key for the third spot.

Safety: Andre Cisco and Antonio Johnson, who got some experience in the slot last season, are expected to be the 2024 starters. Andrew “Dewey” Wingard will return as the first option off the bench, and special teams ace Daniel Thomas is more likely to re-sign than not.

Very Low (doesn’t need addressing): QB, TE, P

Quarterback: There’s been recent chatter about whether Trevor Lawrence will sign a contract extension this offseason or next — either way, he’s locked in as the long-time starter. Lawrence’s close friend C.J. Beathard figures to stick around as well.

Tight end: Jacksonville made its bed with this position last offseason when it drafted Brenton Strange in the second round and signed Evan Engram to a contract extension. Backup Luke Farrell is under contract through 2024.

Punter: Logan Cooke ranked third in punts downed inside the 20-yard line last year and is signed through 2025.

@ me on Twitter to tell me where I went wrong (@gus_logue )

Written by: Gus Logue

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todayFebruary 28, 2024