Rather than just going through FA and then the draft, I figured I would go through my opinion of each position on this team and how any potential issue at the spot might be able to be adequately addressed this offseason(All of the "options in FA" and "options in draft" will be a short list of guys that I feel make sense or are likely to be available when the Jags pick in the draft). I might leave out guys that are options, but it will be purely because I do not see how they make sense to bring to this team).
One point to make is that I will for different positions mention drafting players at that position, and in some cases I might say round 2 should have a WR and CB for example taken. Obviously this is not a perfect offseason plan, but rather just me throwing out my ideas about how to properly address the different needs on this team.
- What we have now: Gabbert gets a lot of crap for the rookie year he put up, and a lot of it is totally warranted. However, with everything that was going against him (be it the lockout or the coaching situation or one of the other things), I am not really sure I feel like it is really possible to call year 1 of Blaine Gabbert a failure, and definitely do not feel like the Jaguars should be all worried if they do not do much in the QB department this offseason. Havving said that, I feel like an upgrade at backup is in order, be it a FA or a late round draft pick.
- Options in FA: Josh Johnson, Kyle Orton, Chad Henne, Jason Campbell
- Options in Draft: Brandon Weeden, Kirk Cousins
- What Jaguars should do: The Jaguars should try and sign Jason Campbell. As much as I like Brandon Weeden and want to see him as a Jacksonville Jaguar, I am thinking he is going to be drafted too high for him to make sense for this team. I am not a huge fan of Cousins and also think he might be going too high to make sense. Of the free agents, I think that the Jaguars should look for a guy who has starting experience and is a veteran on the league. Of the guys I think make sense, I think Jason Campbell fits the mold best and therefore makes the most sense.
What we have now: The Jaguars have the 2011 rushing title champion, a more than capable backup who is coming back from an injury, and a couple or second year players(Harris and Murphy) that I really like. I really am not sure that the Jaguars need to look outside who they already have to address the RB situation
- Options in FA: -------
- Options in Draft: -------
What Jaguars should do: I think that the key to addressing the RB position this offseason is to make sure Rashad Jennings is 100% and to start getting very serious about getting MJD less carries. While I do think most people overstate the deterioration of MJD from the workload he gets, I think it is hard to deny that the workload is wearing him down somewhat. Jennings has shown the ability to be an effective rusher, and I think that the Jaguars better not forget that.
What we have now: The Jaguars' WR unit is definitely in need of an overhaul. The real question is which guys(if any) should be retained. I might be in the minority here, but I feel like no WR on the roster right now is automatically deserving( or undeserving) of retention. Personally, I happen to think a healthy Jarrett Dillard and Cecil Shorts might be beneficial guys to keep on at WR. I also like what Chastin West could bring to this team. The real issue I have with all of these guys from last year is that they were being forced into bigger roles than they should have, due to the absence of a #1 WR on this team. I do think that given the cap available, it still pays to bring in 2 or 3 guys and then let the guys on the roster now to battle it out for a couple of spots on the roster.
- Options in FA: Stevie Johnson, Mike Wallace(RFA), Marques Colston, Vincent Jackson, Mario Manningham
- Options in Draft: Justin Blackmon, Kendall Wright, Mohamed Sanu, Alshon Jeffery, Stephen Hill, TY Hilton, Joe Adams, Jarius Wright, Marvin Jones, Brian Quick, Gerrell Robinson, Chris Givens
What Jaguars should do: I feel like the Jaguars might be better off going for one big name in free agency and then look to take advantage of the deep WR class in the draft. I feel like Stevie Johnson is the best candidate to come in as the FA brought in. As for the draft, I definitely feel like first round WR is out of the question, seeing as none of the prospects are worthy of such a high pick. I think that if they are available when the Jaguars pick, Stephen Hill in the 2nd and Adams/Hilton/Wright(J.) in the 4th make the most sense. Then, I also feel like a couple of potential UDFAs would be a good idea to also bring in.
What we have now: Not sure anyone would deny the fact that Marcedes Lewis had a down year. The guy is an enormous talent who showed in 2010 that he can be a top 5 TE in the NFL. The issue on this roster is the lack of anything else at the TE position. I think it is time to write Zach Miller off as being much of a contributor for this team. As for Zach Potter and Colin Cloherty, neither one is really worth of being that #2 TE on a team. Seeing as I am a big fan of 2 TE formations, I definitely think bringing in a nice #2 TE would be a great addition for this team.
- Options in FA: John Carlson, Scott Chandler
- Options in Draft: Orson Charles, Ladarius Green, Michael Egnew, DeAngelo Peterson, Cory Harkey, Rhett Ellison
What Jaguars should do: Between an uninspiring free agent market for TE and the difficulty I see in matching value with player, I think it might be advantageous to not pick up a TE this offseason, and to hope to find a gem in UDFA or among the guys on the roster right now.(If Egnew or Harkey or Peterson could be had in the 5th round, that would be the ideal case in my opinion and Peterson would be my choice)
What we have now: TO get straight to the point, the Jaguars have a very good C who is not getting any younger, a solid LT, a big ? at RT, a very good G in Nwaneri, and a sophomore G who is in dire need of BIG-TIME improvement. I anticipate Britton coming back healthy but still not being all that good as a RT. I think that Britton might be better off at G, and then Nwaneri might find himself being Meester's replacement. Everything considered, I feel like a new RT is the real need for this offensive line. While C is also a position that could seem like a position to be considered, I am just not so sure it pays given how Estes has been sitting around a few years learning, and Uche could probably move inside to C.
- Options in FA: Demetrius Bell, Jared Gaither
- Options in Draft: Jonathan Martin, Riley Reiff, Bobbie Massie, Zebrie Sanders, Mitchell Schwartz, Nate Potter, Jeff Allen
What Jaguars should do: One thing I am certain of is that no one on the FA market is really worth bringing in for the kind of money they will be looking for. As for the draft, I am a huge fan of looking at improving the lines early in the draft. I am not sure Reiff AND Martin will be available at 7, but if both are, I think I prefer Reiff. Regardless, I am not so sure I would go OT so early in the draft given the needs of this team. I think the better move would be to look at the guys who will probably be around in the 3rd round or even the 5th round. Mitchell Schwartz is starting to really impress me the more I research him, and I would be very happy to see him as the 3rd round pick of the Jaguars.
What we have now: The defensive line is quite solid inside. The outside is the place that REALLY could benefit from some help. With the cap room available, I think DE is a great place to spend the big bucks. I also think that finding a guy to rotate in on occasion for Pot Roast would also be beneficial
- Options in FA: Aubrayo Franklin, Albert Haynesworth, Mario Williams, Cliff Avril, Jeremy Mincey,
- Options in Draft: Quinton Coples, Melvin Ingram, Vinny Curry, Andre Branch, Cam Johnson, Jake Bequette, Malik Jackson
What Jaguars should do: I actually find addressing the DE position to be the hardest one to properly figure out. I have spent some serious time thinking this one over and I think I have concluded that the best course of action is dependent on Quinton Coples. If Gene is not sold on Coples, go hard after Williams and resign Mincey. If Gene and his crew are truly sold on Coples, then I think the move is to go really hard after Mario Williams, let Mincey walk, and draft Coples at 7. It is a risky strategy because Coples could be gone by 7, and Mincey could have signed elsewhere by then. However, I assess the risk as being minor, and so I think it makes sense. As for Knighton's backup, I think the NT-type prospects are nothing to write home about. Plus, I think an older veteran might be more along the lines of what this team should get. I am personally a big fan of Aubrayo Franklin, and I think if he manages to not resign with NO, he makes a lot of sense if he would take a backup role.
What we have now: Big time upgrades were made to the unit last year, and so there really is only a need for depth. In particular, a nice backup option for Clint Session would be a very good addition for this team.
- Options in FA: Russell Allen, Manny Lawson, Lofa Tatupu
- Options in Draft: Josh Kaddu, Nigel Bradham, Emmanuel Acho, Tyler Nielsen, Tank Carder
What Jaguars should do: I definitely think re-signing Russell Allen is a great place to start. Other than that late round pick on LB is the most I would consider. If Tank Carder somehow is available in the 5th round(not sure how he will fall that far), I want him. I look at that guy and see a total beast. When I see him play, I can't stop thinking how good he could be at the NFL level.
What we have now: The Jaguars went through a ton of CBs last year and some of them were definitely suprisingly good. As a whole, I look at this roster and see a #2 CB (Cox), a very good nickelback(Coleman) and a bunch of nice situational CBs. I think that Mathis is not going to be the same, and so I am not willing to call him the #1 CB on this team. I definitely think an attempt must be made through FA or the draft to pick up a top notch CB to help maintain the secondary of this team.
- Options in FA: Brandon Carr, Cortland Finnegan, Brent Grimes, William Middleton(RFA), Tracy Porter, Richard Marshall, Rashean Mathis
- Options in Draft: Dre Kirkpatrick, Josh Norman, Leonard Johnson, Chase Minnifield, Dwight Bentley, Dequan Menzie, Micah Pellerin
What Jaguars should do: I am going to take Shahid Khan seriously and expect the Jags to spend the cap this year. That leaves room to bring in Brandon Carr as the new #1 CB in Jacksonville. Then, I think you got to bring back Middleton. As for Mathis, I think he is the closest thing the Jaguars have to a Derek Jeter situation. If Mathis wants to come back, I really think he has to be brought back. Mathis is smart enough to realize that he is not going to get a massive payday, and is probably best off taking a repsectable deal and staying in Jacksonville. After doing that, I really do not think CB is even really worth drafting, unless there is really good value(like Dre Kirkpatrick falling to the second round)
What we have now: I really like the safety situation in Jacksonville, and am not really sure it needs work at all, assuming everyone is retained. I would not be opposed however to looking for a better option than Lowery for the FS position
- Options in FA: Dwight Lowery, Courtney Greene (RFA)
- Options in Draft: George Iloka, Markelle Martin, Eddie Whitley,
What Jaguars should do: I definitely think you bring back Courtney Greene to backup Landry, and bring back Lowery to start at FS. Ideally, I would prefer to have that upgrade at FS, but the draft class is quite weak and I doubt Prosinski improves enough to oust Lowery from the starting spot.
What we have now: This unit definitely needs to get stronger at the Punter position, and as a whole be stronger in kickoff/punt returns and coverage. Scobee must also be retained.
- Options in FA: Josh Scobee
- Options in Draft: Basically every Punter in the draft.
What Jaguars should do: Bring back Scobee and maybe use the 7th round pick on a Punter and have him compete with Lanning fro the P position.