By no means do I know how to run a franchise. By no means do I know how to predict who will actually help our franchise on the field. Do we want to follow other teams successes or do we just want to make our own legacy? We have a great motivator of a head coach and one of the best GM minds in the league. WE ARE IN GOOD HANDS. First off, let us list the players that this franchise can build around as of right now in my opinion:
- Justin Blackmon (Give him a chance to get his head straight; Bradley and Caldwell will fix this young man)
- Ace Sanders (Very valuable and underrated in terms of the ceiling he has in his development; versatile)
- Bryan Anger (Good young punter who will develop into a great one; means more to our defense than you know)
- Johnathan Cyprien ( Going to be a Pro Bowl caliber player very soon; also going to be the leader of our Defense)
- Dwayne Gratz ( Everything Gus Bradley is looking for in a CB for his scheme; Can develop into something great)
- Luke Jockel ( Will develop into a dominant LT and protect our franchise QB for years to come)
- Austin Pasztor ( Could potentially develop into a great RT; has not played much football in his life remember)
These are a core of young players that as of right now appear to have a high ceiling of growth that we can build around. Are they our best players? By no means but they can be very soon.
Here is a list of young players that the jury is still out if they can help this franchise in it's pursuit to develop a championship locker room:
- Denard Robinson (Pass catching RBs are used in abundance in today's NFL; if he can develop into a weapon through the air out of the backfield using the dangerous legs he obtains, watch out)
- Mike Brewster (5-star recruit coming out of high school and a great center in college; hasn't translated to much playing time but the talent is there)
- Mike Harris (Good CB in college and that shows sometimes on the field; the more secondary players that can develop the better)
- Josh Evans (You can see the talent that intrigued the Jags to draft him; only time will tell if he can be the ball-hawk that we need)
- Jordan Todman (Has potential to be a good change of pace back but asking him to be the main back might be a bit too much; versatile and explosive with the ball in his hands so keeping him around could be smart)
Here is a list of starting players or backups who get extended playing time that I feel are starting/playing on our team due to the fact we have no one else to start/play. These players have been good for us and should stick around BUT we need to develop young talent because these players while are decent for us, are either not going to grow much more in their development or are playing a position that most likely will be addressed in the draft or in FA. A TEAM MUST ALWAYS HAVE VETERANS IN A LOCKER ROOM:
- Chad Henne (Talented in college; shows he can make most throws; hard to succeed being sacked and pressured almost more than anybody in the NFL; surrounded by young, undeveloped players so really made the most of what he could; servicable backup and great character for our locker room)
- Geno Hayes and Russell Allen ( How much better can they actually get? Not the youngest LBs and not the most talented either; Would be great back ups in most playoff teams but they are not going to develop into players tha will win us championships; either way we need to keep them for their knowledge of the defense)
- Alan Ball and Will Blackmon (Played good for the most part for us this season; doesnt mean that is a good thing; Know this system so they should stick around but we need to develop young guys a CB so they can grow with Cyprien, Evans, Gratz, Harris, and McCray)
- Jason Babin and Alan Branch ( Branch is fairly young and can still develop, but is his ceiling high enough to warrant a starting job for us? Babin has had a good career and is still effective but he is just a tough veteran at this point in his career; still a wise decision to keep these guys around for now)
- Cameron Bradfield (A servicable linemen that can start at Guard and be our best backup tackle)
- Clay Harbor ( I actually feel he is good enough to start for us; he is younger than Lewis and a much better receiving threat not to mention he plays special teams)
- Marcedes Lewis (great blocker but getting up there in age and makes quite a bit of money for a guy who catches less than 30 passes a year)
Here is a list of players we need to let walk/replace either as backups or as starters due to different reasons:
- MJD (Saddens me but he does not have much left in the tank and now is the time to find his replacement so a young RB can develop with a young QB for us together)
- Brandon Deaderick (Nothing special about him lets be honest and he is not a real young player that has much time to develop; we can get better and younger here)
- Allen Reisner (Nothing special and going to be 26; nothing that we couldn't replace with a rookie that could also be our future at the TE position; Reisner is not that)
- Will Ta'ufo'uo ( There are some good young FBs in this years draft that we could sign in FA that could be just as good as Will now and be better than him later on down the road)
- Mike Brown (I personally like Brown BUT we have Shorts, Blackmon, Sanders, Taylor, and a rookie; that seems enough for me to let him go; this of course changes if Blackmon can't recooperate for his condition)
- Ryan Davis (I see some potential in him but having Babin, Alualu, Branch, and most likely a rookie or two at DE under contract for next season forces the hand of the organization to let him walk; fact that he can't move inside hurts his versatility which is needed for backup pass rushers)
- Delone Carter ( Can't play FB and a RB core that has a rookie or two, Todman, and Robinson is too many roster spots for this big bruiser)
- Blaine Gabbert (Cap pentaly will probably be the reason he sticks around but I personally would rather have Mike Scott on the roster of Gabbert; he just is too much of a reminder as to why we are starting over again; Doubt anybody would give us a 7th round pick for him but if we could we should; either way his time to go is now)
- Will Rackley ( He is just bad but then again aren't most players that Gene Smith drafted? I dont even know if he is a good backup either)
Here is a list of the positions on our team that need to be addresse either in the Draft (10 picks) or in FA (second most cap space):
- QB: Draft- Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater early; Bortles is too overhyped for who he actually as a player (Just big and mobile but where is that pro arm? Mettenberger and Murray coming off scary injuries and can't be trusted with the gig anytime soon; Boyd and Fales look overhyped and unpromising. McCarron and Carr do not look like anything special. Garoppolo would be a nice developmental QB but don't we have that in Scott already?
FA: I do not see any options worth signing unless we do not bring back Henne. Henne most likely will be brough back because Bradley liked the way he competed and lead. Vick wants to be a starter and it's not happening. Tebow would be cool to have just to see him lead the league in TD runs from the goalline but it's not happening either. Freeman could be intriguing since he is fairly young (younger than Henne) but probably not happening as well.
- RB: Draft- Carlos Hyde is my choice. He has a Lacy/Morris running style and knows that dances in the backfield only gets you benched. He is a big bruiser and does not have much wear and tear on him. I would love to pair Hyde (or someone like Carey and Mason) with someone like Marion Grice or Bishop Sankey as they are more than capable pass catchers with higher ceilings than Todman and Robinson have as 3rd down backs. Teams that usually draft a RB to start usually drafts another rookie to push and compete with him ala Lacy/Franklin, Helu/Morris, Bernard/Burkhead, ect..
FA: None of the RBs that could be available would make sense for us. RBs usually are good till they are about 31. Tate, Moreno, McFadden are capable starters when healthy but are already around the 26/27 year age and only have so much football left in them. That is probably not the smartest thing to do for a young and developing team.
- WR: Draft: Someone who might be in the later rounds of the draft that could develop for us like La'Damian Washington, Kevin Norwood, Josh Stewart, or Jalen Saunders. FA would not be too smart considering more than likely the only young WRs that could potentially be available would be either Riley Cooper (unproven) or Jeremy Maclin (injury-prone) and if Blackmon comes back would not be necessary to spend on them.
- Center: Draft- Most likley this position will be addressed in FA; if that is not the case however, only a couple centers can be considered: Travis Swanson, Weston Richburg, and maybe Tyler Larsen. The other centers in this draft are seen as backups in the immediate future and we need a starter now. Brewster is most likely not ready to play so FA seems more fitting.
FA: Alex Mack is obviously the prime target when discussing upgrading the center position through free agency. Though he is 28, the center positon is able to be played for quite sometime unlike RB and CB so 28 is still fairly young. Another and possibly cheaper option would be Evan Dietrich-Smith who is the most underrated center in the game today but like Brian De La Fuente, these players would likely take less money to stay with their contending teams than to jump to JAX. Roberto Garza (from my hometown) is too old and most likely to retire a Bear. Rich Ohrnberger is a sleeper candidate as he would be fairly cheap in terms of price but has some talent as he replaced Nick Hardwick due to injury in SD and looked fairly good.
- Guard: Draft- Xavier Su'a-Filo and Gabe Jackson are the cream of the crop in this years draft class but both will demand high draft picks that most likely will not be used for a Guard by the Jags as we have much more pressing needs but understand this: Bradfield can play guard for us but Rackley needs to be replaced ASAP. Maybe a rookie like Dakota Dozier or Anthony Steen in the later rounds would do but Guard is also probably a positon adressed in FA.
FA: Whichever Gaurd the Chiefs let go should be our starter as Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah are both capable of helping anchor our line and both are fairly young for their position. Asamoah is two years young but Schwartz is the better player so it should be intriguing to see who they retain.
- FB: Draft- Our current FB is mediocore at best. There are some intriguing rookie FBs in this draft class in Trey Millard (reminds me of Marcel Reece with his catching and running ablility just not nearly as fast), J.C. Copeland (huge body who reminds me of Vonta Leach in terms of he is going to be making alot of boom blocks) and Jay Prosch (reminds me of Anthony Sherman for his great blocking and people forget Sherman was a good special teams player in Arizona before he went to KC). These seem like cheaper options than Free Agents and they could develop with our young QB and RB that we most likely bring in.
FA: Henry Hynoski is the only option for me in FA due to the fact everyone else available is old while The Hynoceros is 25. He is coming off injury but FBs are crazy tough he'll be fine. He is a fan favorite in NY though so most likely will not be available.
- DE: Draft- Now obviosly Jadeveon Clowney is the marquee pass rusher of this class and if Manziel and Bridgewater are both off the board by pick 3, he is our guy. He is a great pass rusher BUT why doesn't anybody talk about any of his off-field issues and on-field issues that are much more concerning than Manziel signing autographs (oh God arrest him). Clowney told cops he'd pay his ticket when he got his NFL money and took pictures with them. How in any way is that mature? Sounds like a guy who can't wait to get paid. And to further prove he might be all in for the money, he sat out a game because he knew it was a game that didn't matter to scouts? He doesn't show the fire and passion for the game Manziel shows yet Manziel gets bashed for his antics. HA. If we draft Clowney, Bradley will set him straight but I just hope he isn't another Courtney Brown (once in a lifetime pass rusher he sunk because of the money). Aside from Clowney, Dee Ford, Kony Ealy, Michael Sam, Trent Murphy, Stephon Tuitt, and Scott Crichton are all good prospects for us that aside from Ford and Ealy could fall to our pick in the Second Round which would further ignite the flame in the argument to draft a QB 3rd overall. Remember, there are some good FA options as well.
FA: Gred Hardy would obviously be awesome to draft but Carolina won't let him get away and he would demand a great contract that probably isn't warrented for someone who decided to show up on his contract year. Lamarr Houston and Michael Johnson are both great run defenders but not sure if they would bolster our pass rush the way we needed bolstered. Both are also 27 which is not as young for a pass rusher as you might think but would still be solid signings if they are paired with a later round rookie.
- DT: Draft- I am not too sure who we have at DT. Deaderick is an OK player at best and not very young and Alualu all but flamed out at DT which is why he was moved to DE. Kyle Love is nothing special and neither is Roy Miller which is why we need to bring youth and talent to this position ASAP. A pass rushing DT like Easley from Florida makes sense or maybe one of the LSU guys could do the trick but this position might be better suited for FA as well unless we spend at DE then the draft is the way to go.
FA: Linval Joseph is one of the best run-stuffing DTs in the league not to mention also one of the strongest players in the league as well. The mammoth from NY is only 25 and a better pass rusher than people give him credit for so he is the top of my list if we decide to adress DT in FA. Aside from him, no one else jumps out to me that helps our young defense develop together. A Seattle castoff like McDonold or McDaniels makes sense since they know the system but neither is very young or very special.
- CB: Draft- This is strictly a draft position since we have some young guys but another guy wouldn't hurt given the fact that Ball and Blackmon are not very young. Someone in the later rounds like McGill, Jean-Baptiste, Cockrell, Exum, or Aikens makes sense to me.
FA: Someone like Walter Thurmond makes sense given his ties to Bradley but he would take on a role that Ball and Blackmon already play and that is the veterans on the team helping develop the young guys. He is fairly solid but already 27 and CBs don't last forever. If he comes fairly cheap I am on board with someone like him or Robert McClain who is only 26 from ATL (Caldwell ties).
All in all, I feel we should make a splash in Free Agency at Center, Gaurd, DE, and DT with role player signings at CB and Possibly safety (Chris Maragos). In the draft, I feel we obtain our starting QB, RB, and Depending what Free Agents are signed at Defensive Line, a starting defensive linemen in the first three rounds. With the next 7 picks, OL and DL depth, Possibly RB and QB depth, WR depth, a starting FB, and Secondary depth will be addressed with LB also being a possibility in the later rounds.
Now let me ask you this. How does this team look to you? / = one or the other
QB: Johnny Manziel/Teddy Bridgewater, Chad Henne, Matt Scott
RB: Carlos Hyde/Tre Mason, Jordan Todman, Denard Robinson, Lorenzo Taliaferro/Dri Archer
FB: Trey Millard/Jay Prosch
WR: Cecil Shorts, *Justin Blackmon, Ace Sanders, Kerry Taylor, La'Damian Washington/Kevin Norwood
TE: Marcedes Lewis, Clay Harbor, Crockett Gilmore/Joe Don Duncan
LT: Luke Jockel, Sam Young
LG: Jon Asamoah/Geoff Schwartz/ Dakota Dozier, Jacques McClendon
C: Alex Mack/Weston Richburg, Mike Brewster, Patrick Lewis
RT: Austin Pasztor, Sam Young/Sentrel Henderson
DE: Jason Babin, Alan Branch
DE: Michael Sam/Trent Murphy/Michael Johnson, Aaron Lynch/Cassius Marsh
DT: Tyson Alualu/Kyle Love, Arby Jones
DT: Linval Joseph/Dominique Easley, Roy Miller
OLB: Geno Hayes, J.T. Thomas/Denicos Allen
OLB: Russell Allen/Jordan Tripp, LaRoy Reynolds
MLB: Paul Posluszny, Nate Supar/Jordan Zumwalt
CB: Dwayne Gratz, Will Blackmon, Antone Exum/Walt Aikens
CB: Alan Ball, Mike Harris, Demetrius McCray
FS: Josh Evans, Chris Prosinski
SS: Johnathan Cyprien, Winston Guy/Chris Maragos/Vinnie Sunseri
K: Josh Scobee
P: Bryan Anger
KR/PR: Ace Sanders, Jordan Todman, Denard Robinson
LS: Carson Tinker
This looks like a young, quality team much better than a Top 5 overall draft pick team!