#PoachingSzn is officially upon us.
Tis the season for NFL teams to slide players onto IR and poach from Practice Squads.— Dan Hatman (@Dan_Hatman) December 19, 2018
The Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers declared war on the Jacksonville Jaguars by sniping running back Bo Scarbrough and wide receiver Allen Lazard respectively off the practice squad yesterday.
Okay, maybe it’s not that serious.
The Jaguars should similarly start looking at few guys to sign off of other team’s rosters to obtain some young, promising players and bolster the roster heading into 2019 mini camp. Doing so doesn’t cost them anything outside of a guaranteed roster spot for the final two weeks of the season, and there are a handful of players with no future here that could easily be sacrificed in doing so.
Here are five moves the Jaguars should consider making in the next two weeks:
QB Alex McGough, Seahawks
If you’ve followed me on Twitter, you’ll know about my obsession with former Florida International quarterback Alex McGough. A cavalier, athletic quarterback with a huge arm, McGough was one of “my guys” heading into last year’s draft and was exceptional in the preseason with the Seahawks. They’ve been trying to hide him on the practice squad all year and make him Russell Wilson’s back up of the future (Brett Hundley is a free agent in 2019), but I’m down for some revenge after the Seahawks pillaged the Jaguars for Bo Scarbrough. I’m not calling McGough a future franchise NFL quarterback, but his physical tools, mobility, and skill set would make him an outstanding NFL back up that would be able to step into the middle of a game in the event of injury and bring it home. McGough would be a huge upgrade over Cody Kessler or Tanner Lee heading into 2019.
Corresponding Move: Cut WR Rashad Greene Sr.
Seattle drafts the highest graded FIU Panther from 2017, QB Alex McGough pic.twitter.com/OkUI6BCoWk— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 28, 2018
RB Roc Thomas, Vikings
Carlos Hyde doesn’t want to be here, and it’s painfully obvious that something was said this week in addition to his lackluster play that forced him to be inactive this week. At 29 years old with a $4.75 million cap hit next year, it’s a pretty safe bet that he won’t be in the Jaguars 2019 plans.
My primary practice squad running back choice was Boston Scott, but the Eagles claimed him off the Saints last week. Jacksonville State running back Roc Thomas wasn’t too far off in my pre-draft evaluations from Scott, and he brings a terrific balance of being an adept receiver out of the back field in addition to a good runner with great vision. Thomas was a wrecking ball in the preseason for the Vikings and could be a nice grab as a potential 2019 T.J. Yeldon replacement.
Corresponding Move: Cut RB Carlos Hyde
Roc Thomas was impressive in the opening week of preseason. pic.twitter.com/AZYjA8oX1V— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 16, 2018
WR Cam Phillips, Bills
It was surprising when Phillips didn’t hear his name called during the draft, as he was one of the most difficult wide receivers to cover in the ACC at Virginia Tech. Phillips has spent time on the Bills active roster in 2018, but I will concede that it is a little concerning that they haven’t brought him back for a sequel as they are in full WR evaluation mode after releasing Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes.
Phillips would likely have a difficult time making the 2019 Jaguars roster, but I’d rather have him in the fold and see what happens than forcing a gimpy D.J. Chark to play and make a quad strain worse into the offseason.
Corresponding Move: Place WR D.J. Chark on IR
DE Joe Ostman, Eagles
This isn’t a move that needs to happen immediately and they can wait until Josh Lambo is healthy enough from his groin injury to kick again and use Kai Forbath’s roster spot. Ostman was slightly undersized coming out of Central Michigan, but he had impressive production for the Chippewas paired with an 8.28 RAS (relative athletic score).
Ostman is a gifted athlete who the Eagles are hoping to hide into 2019, and in the event the Jaguars go the Mike Pettine route and sprinkle in some more 3-4 looks in the 2019 defense, Ostman would be a useful player to have.
Corresponding Move: Cut K Kai Forbath (once Lambo is healthy)
Joe Ostman could stick with the defending Super Bowl Champions after signing as an undrafted free agent. pic.twitter.com/JdVe3XO242— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 5, 2018
LB Matthew Thomas, Steelers
Many Jaguars fans will remember Thomas from his time at Florida State. Thomas actually spent some time on the Steelers active roster this year and I was surprised they were able to sneak him onto the practice squad after waiving him, as he flashed when he was on the field. Thomas was never an ideal fit in the Steelers’ 3-4 system and would be a great developmental middle linebacker in Jacksonville with added special teams value. Thomas was one of the better athletes from the LB class this year and his 9.57 RAS was remarkable for his size and production with the Seminoles. With lots of questions whether Myles Jack should be the full-time middle linebacker going forward or whether he should eventually slide to the weak side, a move like this is a no-brainer to give the Jaguars some flexibility moving forward.
Corresponding Move: Cut Martrell Spaight
Are there any players on this list you would want? Is there anyone that is missing from a team’s practice squad you’d like to see them take a stab at?
Let us know in the comments below.