Barring any unforeseen injury Daryl Smith has the a solid chance to make All-Pro. He is in a contract season and is coming off arguably his best year as a Jag yet. He tied his combined tackle total of 107 tackles and had his highest total of passes defensed since entering the league.
The only thing holding him back is Outside LB's playing in 3/4 schemes that are getting sacks. DeMarcus Ware and Terrell Suggs were the All Pro's at the position last year both with 14 sacks or more last year. As for tackles Ware had 58 on the year combined and Suggs had 70 combined.
With Suggs being injured for the season this only heightens Smith's chance at making an All Pro selection as well as finally being recognized in the national spotlight.
Best Player Offense: Eugene Monroe - Runner Up: Mercedes Lewis
Eugene Monroe is coming off a year where he made improvements in his blocking ability not to say he didn't have a couple Oh $4!7 moments but if this trend continues and Mojo decides not to come to camp and hold out into the regular season there may not be many if any players on this offense that could beat Monroe out of this accolade.
Best Player Defense: Daryl Smith - Runner Up: Jeremy Mincey
Daryl Smith is one of the Jaguar's most underrated players that nobody outside of Jacksonville and maybe Georgia Tech's campus know about. He is our unsung hero on the defense making plays in the passing game and running down running backs at the line of scrimmage. Mincey and even Poz will give him stiff competition as being the Jag's best defender but overall nobody on that defense has continuously been as consistent as Smith.
Player to lead the team in sacks: Jeremy Mincey - Runner Up: Andre Branch
Mincey had 8 total sacks last season and throughout his career has continued to improve his craft. If he keeps increasing his sack totals as he has the past 2 years he is looking to have a 11-12 sack season. Last year the next closest person to him had 3.5 sacks which was tied for second most. Roth and Daryl Smith were tied for that total. John Chick cracked the list with 2.5 sacks last year.
With the addition of Andre Branch and a healthy Tyson Alualu I can see the defense improving from their total of 31 sacks last year to the high 30's maybe low 40's.
Player to lead the team in interceptions: Dwight Lowery - Runner Up: Derek Cox
Dwight Lowery has shown he can be the FS we always wanted. He can ball hawk and stick his nose in the line of scrimmage. With another year and full offseason program under his belt he will have one of the best years a safety has ever had in Jaguars history. He was tied with 5 players last year for most Int's on the team.
His competition comes in with Derek Cox which if healthy has shown flashes he can be a shut down corner. Cox has lead the team in Int's in 2009 and 2010. Injuries plagued him last year and he ended up with a goose egg. He did however show in the MNF game against Baltimore that he has make up to shut down receivers in the league.
With Jones-Drew holding out Jennings is looking to take a majority of the snaps. He has looked very good during workouts this offseason and is much further along in the playbook then Jones-Drew is and/or will be once and if he returns. It is also possible that once Jones-Drew returns it will be his starting spot but I think Mularkey is liking what he is seeing from Jennings this offseason and may give him an extra 5-10 snaps a game. If Jennings can keep his 5.4 yards a carry and average 10-15 snaps this season that will put him over 1k yards this year. This may give Gene Smith and the gang a reason to look past resigning Jones-Drew once his contract is done at the end of the 2013 season.
Player to lead the team in receiving yards: Laurent Robinson - Runner Up: Mercedes Lewis
Last year Lewis lead the team in receiving yards but with the addition of Robinson and how he has looked with Gabbert this offseason Robinson should easily take this away from Lewis. It's safe to say our receivers last year played abysmal. Our leading receiver was our TE with Thomas and Jones-Drew behind him. The highest total yards for a game by a Jaguars receiver was by Jason Hill with 118 but was cut by week 13. Jones-Drew had the second most receiving yards in a game with 91.
Robinson will need to develop more chemistry with Blaine but has shown flashes of Blaine trusting him to get the ball in some tight spaces during 11x11 drills this offseason. He is poised to lead the team in yards and may be the first Jag's receiver since Jimmy Smith to break 1000 yards for a season.
Player to lead the team in receiving TD's: Mercedes Lewis - Runner Up: Justin Blackmon
This one is easy......How can Blaine not want to throw to a guy 6'6" in the endzone. Just watching some of the first practice red zone drills it seems the Jaguars will be looking for their TE in the endzone a lot this season. If Lewis can return to 2010 form he will with out a doubt lead the team in receiving TD's.
Player to lead the team in receptions: Justin Blackmon - Runner Up: Mercedes Lewis
Yes this is a toss up as we all know Blackmon has not made it to camp yet but we also know that he possesses amazing hands and as shown in the ESPN show sports science can catch a ball with in the vicinity of a two car garage. We also know he has excellent body control when going up for balls. Once Blackmon finishes up this contract negotiations with the Jaguars he can get his rear in camp and start showing the fans why we drafted him.
With the current wide out situation being Robinson, Blackmon, Thomas, Evans, Shorts it's easy to say how would he get this award? But if you look at the bigger picture with the Jag's moving in the direction of a balanced/ slightly more passing offense it's easy to see Short's being on the field in some 3-4 wide out sets. Also, he can easily leap frog Evan's if his play decline continues. There may also be a chance he can see some slot time as Thomas hasn't really been flashing since he received his contract extension.
My runner up is Prosinski as he has the size and quickness to play all over the field. He will get several opprotunities this coming year and if he can polish up his tackling and coverage skills this year we may have a future gem.
Biggest Upset: Maurice Jones-Drew - Runner Up: Lee Evans
My biggest upset this coming season will be Jones-Drew and not because of his lock out situation but because of his lack of burst in his running. He is also getting up there in age for a RB who carries the ball 300+ times a season and is why he is holding out for a new contract.
This is no knock on Jones-Drew as he may still be our most feared weapon on offense but his years are limited and I think the Jag's brass knows this.
Player with best chance at the HOF: Maurice Jones-Drew - Runner Up: Derek Cox
Jones-Drew may be the only player in Jaguars history to maybe one day grace the halls of Canton with his presence. While I know it is a long shot as he may never win a Super Bowl he is 55th all time in rushing and with a 1000 yard year rushing can move up 10 spots to 45th all time. He would need 3 more productive years of 1000+ yards to crack the 10k mark. But that still probably will not get him into the Hall unless he carries this team or another to a Superbowl.
Rookie Offensive Star: Justin Blackmon
Justin Blackmon is really the only offensive rookie the Jags have that will have excessive playing time. So it is easy to say he will be the Jaguars offensive star. But with his innate ability to go up and get balls and getting his body into the right positions this pick is a no brainer.
Rookie Defensive Star: Andre Branch
From the way people have talked about Branch in camp it looks like he may be what we always wanted Derrick Harvey to be a disruptive DE that can sack the QB. He like Blackmon will get excessive playing time but my dark horse for this is Jeris Pendleton.
Call me crazy or what not but I just want to root for the guy as he gave up everything to raise his kids just to go back and have the support of his wife to go back to school and have a chance at something better.
Can't wait for the season to get started! Looking forward to the scrimmage tomorrow.