The Jacksonville Jaguars hit quite a few of their needs in the 2014 NFL Draft, especially in revamping the offensive side of the football. The team picked their hopeful quarterback of the future in Blake Bortles, as well as giving him some weapons in wide receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson. The team also added another offensive lineman and running back Storm Johnson in the seventh round.
The team also added depth at cornerback, linebacker and LEO end but there are still some needs the team has going into training camp and OTA practices that they didn't necessarily address in the draft or free agency.
The Jaguars picked two interior offensive lineman in the 2014 NFL Draft, but only one was early in the draft. The Jaguars traded up in the third round for Brandon Linder and he's projected to start at right guard right now, but the only other lineman they picked was sixth-round pick Luke Bowanko, which was somewhat of a surprise. There is still a big question on the center position going forward, but it would appear that Mike Brewster is in the driver's seat to start there.
“There’s no doubt in my mind I’ll get it done,” Brewster told John Oehser of Jaguars.com back in April, prior to the NFL Draft. “There’s no doubt in my mind as far as, ‘Can I do this?’ It’s exciting. I think a lot of people will be surprised when they get a chance to see me play full-time center.”
The Jaguars tried to sign All-Pro center Alex Mack while he was transition tagged and failed, making it seem like center was a priority going into the draft, but it appears Brewster has made strides in the offseason that make the Jaguars feel comfortable in what they have at the center spot going forward.
For now however, center is still a need until someone emerges as an effective starter, which we likely won't know until Week 1 of the season.
The Jaguars hit the defensive line pretty hard in free agency, picking up Chris Clemons, Red Bryant and Ziggy Hood. The team also brought back Jason Babin, giving them a little bit of depth (albeit older) at the LEO end position. While it was projected the Jaguars would pick a pass rusher high in the draft, it's not a big shocker that they didn't. While they need younger bodies at the position, the team should be able to get by with Clemons and Babin as their heavy LEO rotation for the season. The team also has Andre Branch, Ryan Davis and fifth-round pick Chris Smith at the position.
The biggest area of need the Jaguars didn't really address in the draft was at the nose tackle position, as outside of Roy Miller and undrafted rookie DeAndre Coleman, the position is pretty bare. Miller had a disappointing season in 2013, but after the season he revealed he'd essentially been playing on a bum shoulder the whole season.
Most of the defensive line has good depth after free agency and draft, but the nose tackle position at this moment still appears to be a need. It's possible Miller has a huge bounce-back season simply because he's healthy, however.
Projected starters: Cecil Shorts III, Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson
The Jacksonville Jaguars ignored the wide receiver position largely in free agency, outside of signing Tandon Doss and brining in Emmanuel Sanders for a visit, but the team hit it hard in the 2014 NFL Draft. The team picked Marqise Lee at No. 39 overall when he fell into their lap and then traded up shortly after for Allen Robinson in the second-round. The Jaguars initially planned to pick one of the two in the second round, but once Robinson started to slide they got aggressive to address a position that was a massive need.
The Jaguars are going forward without Justin Blackmon and all but said his career in Jacksonville is done. The team had only Cecil Shorts III and Ace Sanders at the position, then a bunch of guys who are OK as fifth-receiver options.
Receiver was a big need heading into the draft, but the team addressed it pretty heavily with picks and even with some talented undrafted free agents.