As we all know, Gus Bradley and Dave Caldwell are building this Jaguars franchise from the ground up. They aren't remodeling their house, they are knocking it down and building a brand new house. The house that Jaguars' fans have been wanting for the last decade. A consistent superbowl contender is the house that Caldwell and co. are building, While this is the least talented roster in the NFL, there is a foundation that has been set in place.
Luke Joeckel - A franchise Left Tackle is one of the most important pieces of a franchise. He protects your franchise Quarterback from getting hit from behind. While the Jaguars don't have their franchise Quarterback yet, it's important that they have their franchise Left Tackle. Joeckel struggled this season before getting injured, due to the fact he was playing on the right side and he's played his entire college career on the left. Joeckel will get a full off-season in the NFL, and should come back next season playing quite well.
Justin Blackmon Cecil Shorts III - While Cecil is not a #1 receiver, he is still a young playmaker, that becomes better and better every day. Entering his 4th year out of Mount Union, Shorts has had 2 productive seasons and has proven to be a reliable player for the Jaguars. Shorts still needs to work on his concentration as he dropped 19 passes the last 2 seasons, but at only 26 Shorts is just entering his prime. When the Jaguars find a franchise Quarterback, Shorts will routinely break 1,000 yards and might finally become that #1 receiver.
Ace Sanders - Drafted to be a punt returner, Sanders really showed he's more then that. The 5'7" 180 lb receiver in his first season out of South Carolina, Sanders was targeted 79 times this past season, catching 64.6% of passes thrown his way(51) for 484 yards. He's an explosive player who allows Jedd Fisch to get more creative with his offense as Sanders can play outside, in the slot, or even at runningback. With a few more seasons in the NFL, Sanders might just prove to be a reliable #2 receiver.
Sen'Derrick Marks - Marks was PFF's 37th best Defensive Tackle in 2013, but he was their 9th best pass rush defensive tackle. The former Titan had a pretty unsuccesful career until he signed a one year prove it deal in Jacksonville. Marks hurried the QB 24 times, hit the QB 12 times, and sacked the QB 4 times through 536 pass rushing snaps. Marks also has 7 batted passes and 25 total stops. Marks played well enough to earn himself a 4 year contract extension here in Jacksonville. Unfortunately, Marks struggled in run defense, but part of that is because of the lack of a good 1-tech playing on his side.
Dwayne Gratz - Dwayne Gratz had an up and down season with more up than down. Gratz played a total of 494 snaps this season, due to an injury that kept him limited for multiple games. 43 times this past season were passes thrown to the receiver covered by Gratz, and 60.5% of those passes were completed(26). Gratz routinely wrapped up the ball carrier before allowing him to pick up any YAC. He was also good in run support, and for a rookie he played well. The arrow is pointing up for Dwayne Gratz.
Alan Ball - As PFF's 21st best CB, Ball had his best season in his journeyman career. Ball played the 22nd most snaps of any cornerback this season with 1,020. Ball did not disappoint, as he was targeted 79 times but only allowed 54.4% of those passes to be completions(43). That 54.5% completion percentage tied for 12th among cornerbacks with Patrick Peterson and was ahead of Joe Haden. Ball also tied 6th in the NFL with 13 passes deflected which is more than Joe Haden, Ladarius Webb, Vontae Davis, and among other big names. Opposing Quarterbacks had an average of a 75.3 QB rating when facing Alan Ball which is the equivalence of facing Chad Henne. Looks like Dave Caldwell found a diamond in the rough by signing Alan Ball, and if the production continues next season, Ball should be expecting a nice extension.
|Timeline||Missed Tackles||Pass Deflections||QB Completion %||Thrown At||Yards Allowed||QB Rating|
*Cyprien did not play in week 15
As you can see from the table I made above. Before the bye Cyprien was horrendous in every aspect. He missed tackles, and let QBs look fantastic. After the bye he played at a much better level, playing like a solid veteran. With a full offseason in the NFL look for Cyprien to play solid all season long next season, and continue to improve during his career here in Jacksonville.
7 players are part of the foundation here. Some may seem questionable, but they fit the bill. I didn't include Poz or Lewis, because I don't think they will be here when the Jaguars finally are in superbowl contention. There is one last piece to this foundation, and that's the franchise Quarterback. If the Jaguars are lucky, they will find that final piece this draft, and then begin building their house, a superbowl contender.