In less than two weeks, the Jaguars will begin their regular season against the Carolina Panthers. Throughout this preseason leading up to the regular season kickoff, several Jaguars have made positive impressions, while others have failed to impress.
And thankfully, a big part of those players who have impressed were free agent signings just a few months ago.
The Jaguars had themselves a busy offseason, especially during free agency, spending a total of $177,445,000 in total contract value on tight end Julius Thomas. right tackle Jermey Parnell, defensive lineman Jared Odrick, cornerback Davon House, linebacker Dan Skuta, free safety Sergio Brown, wide receiver Bryan Walters, and center Stefen Wisniewski.
So, through three preseason games, how have these new Jaguars looked? Who has stood out, who has looked average, and who hasn't lived up to expectations?
Julius Thomas: The Jaguars signed Thomas to be the team's red zone threat and offensive weapon after he scored 24 touchdowns in two years with the Denver Broncos. Throughout training camp, Thomas showed the talent and leadership that he can bring to the team, but after two snaps in the preseason, Thomas injured his hand and was ruled out for the preseason. Once Thomas recovers from his injury, look for him to be a serious threat to opposing defenses.
Jermey Parnell: Parnell was signed from the Dallas Cowboys to anchor the offensive line and solidify the Jaguars run game, as well as help slow down the pass rush. So far, he has looked incredible. Parnell is constantly moving his feet and eats up defenders as they come. On certain plays, Parnell has taken on two defenders at once and made it look easy. With Parnell holding down the right side of the offensive line (along with Brandon Linder at right guard) we can be confident that our offensive line should be solid.
Bryan Walters: It looked like Bryan Walters wasn't going to make the Jaguars 53-man roster before the second preseason game. But when Arrelious Benn went down with a broken collarbone, Walters took a step up the depth chart and is now looking to be the No. 5 receiver. Walters has shown throughout the preseason that he has good hands and can make moves once he has the catch.
Stefen Wisniewski: Signed to a one year "prove-it" deal after coming off of a shoulder injury, Wisniewski was brought in to compete for the starting center job. After a solid competition with Luke Bowanko, several good performances during the preseason, and a potential conspiracy in ButtGate, Wisniewski was named the starting center.
Jared Odrick: Odrick was brought in to solidify the side opposite from the LEO on the defensive line. After missing the first game of the preseason due to a sore knee, he bounced back and has played well in the run game, as well as creating some pressure and batting a pass down against the Detroit Lions. He can get off his blocks well and has overall looked good this preseason, and I look forward to seeing if he continues to do so once the regular season kicks off.
Davon House: The Jaguars' secondary looked promising near the end of last year, and House was added in free agency to help the secondary take the next step. However, in three games, everyone except Sergio Brown has looked far from promising. House has made good plays on the ball here or there, but his inconsistency will be a problem if it continues into the regular season. He's been beaten on routes a couple of times and has been slow to get to the ball. He needs to pick up his game if he wants to be the No. 1 cornerback the Jaguars are paying him to be.
Dan Skuta: While starting in all three preseason games, we haven't really heard Skuta's name get called much. That's not a bad thing, however, as Skuta has been consistently finding the ball and hustling to make plays on the field. He has filled the role of the OTTO linebacker position nicely, creating pressure in the pass rush and filling holes in the run game.
Sergio Brown: Appearing to be the hidden gem of the Jaguars free agency class, Brown has cemented himself into the starting free safety position. In all three preseason games, Brown has been able to find the ball and make plays in the secondary. In the second preseason game, Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. even believed that Brown was targeting him, to which Brown replied, "No. That's just football." Was Brown actually targeting Beckham? We don't know, but you could tell that Brown was on his game and got into his opponent's head, as Beckham had zero catches on five targets. After a strong couple performances, Brown is looking to be a key part of the Jaguars secondary.
So, all in all, the Jaguars 2015 free agency class has looked pretty good to me. There have been some bumps in the road that need to be fixed for the Jaguars to find success, but it's definitely something the team can build on.