The Jacksonville Jaguars officially wrapped up their first full week in pads on Friday night, and as we now enter the preseason portion of camp where evaluations will begin from a live-game basis and begin to depart from the practice fields, let’s look at what has been good, bad, and downright awful through a little more than a full week of Jaguars practices.
- We start with the rookie class of Dave Caldwell and Tom Coughlin’s second draft heading the front office as a duo. Thus far, first-round pick Taven Bryan has flashed in one on ones since pads have come on and hasn’t looked out of place in team drills; Second round pick DJ Chark is the talk of camp, looking like a fourth-year veteran who may push for a starting role much sooner than anticipated; The same can be said for seventh round picks Leon Jacobs and Logan Cooke, who appear headed for starting spots already, at the SAM linebacker and punter positions respectively. Third round pick Ronnie Harrison has been all over the field more often than not when in, and I am excited to see what happens when live hitting begins, as this guy clearly wants to lay into someone when watching him on the field. It is very, very early of course, but so far it appears Caldwell and Coughlin have had yet another successful draft.
- Blake Bortles has cemented himself as the starting quarterback for the foreseeable future. I mentioned in previous articles that his “stat line” in practice is generally deceiving, and if you’ve been out to camp, you’ll have seen why. Bortles has thrown with confidence, poise, and an increased accuracy and tightness on his spirals, particularly on short to intermediate passes, that he has not displayed in previous camps since being drafted. While Cody Kessler has made some nice plays in practices, particularly with Chark, there is a distinguishable difference in watching Bortles operate, versus the back ups. The days of total meltdowns in practice and five-interception sessions are over.
- The money the Jaguars have spent on the offensive and defensive lines is paying off huge dividends. Both front lines have been dominant at different portions of the first week, and that is a good sign for a team whose calling card is playing “bully ball” on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
- I’ve seen every kicker in Jaguars history come through, Josh Lambo may go down as the best of all of them.
- Outside of Andrew Norwell, and some nice plays from Cody Davis, the free agent group brought in has been very underwhelming. Donte Moncrief has yet to participate in a full team padded drill as of the time of this article and nickel cornerback D.J. Hayden had done little to nothing before Friday night’s scrimmage. The Jaguars tied up a combined $18.5 million in guaranteed money between the two this past March, and thus far haven’t seen much in return.
- The lack of any real competition for starting roles. There was thought pre-camp that right guard, SAM linebacker, and perhaps the back up quarterback spot would offer the few glimpses of a true roster battle in camp, but thus far those appear to have been all but locked up by A.J. Cann, Leon Jacobs, and Kessler,
- I hate to continue to diminish the play of a guy who is in his first NFL camp, but Tanner Lee may be as bad a pick in the draft as they’ve ever had. I wish him the best, but the Jaguars really should’ve brought in stiffer competition for Kessler because Lee isn’t it.
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