The Jacksonville Jaguars play their fourth and final preseason game on Thursday night against the Atlanta Falcons. We all know what comes shortly following that contest — roster cuts to bring the team down to 53 players.
Roster cuts are especially hard for the players who have worked to chase their dream all summer long just to be ousted, but are tough on all who are involved with an NFL team, particularly the coaches.
No matter what happens, nearly 40 players will be cut from the Jaguars by Aug. 31. Some may be signed to the practice squad or to other teams, while others may never play again, but the best way for guys “on the bubble” to earn a roster spot would be with an impressive performance on Thursday night to cement a spot on their current team.
While it is not guaranteed that any of these players will make the 53-man squad, here are five bubble players for the Jaguars who have a decent chance of making the team:
Tre McBride, wide receiver
McBride, who stands at 6-feet-even and weights 210 pounds, has been very impressive so far through three preseason games. He has seen a team-high 16 targets, and turned those into 10 catches for 120 yards. He has an uphill climb in a crowded wide receivers room with veterans Terrelle Pryor and Keelan Cole, as well as C.J Board (who we will get to momentarily), competing with him for the final roster spots at the position, but he has a good shot to make the team.
McBride was originally drafted by the Tennessee Titans in 2015 and has bounced around various teams since. The Jaguars signed him in June and he has been turning heads all summer long.
C.J. Board, wide receiver
As mentioned, Board and McBride are competing against each other (and others) for a roster spot. I don’t believe both make the 53-man roster, but our very own Ryan Day thinks they both do. Board has caught 10 passes so far this preseason (on 13 targets) for 115 yards. In the last game against the Miami Dolphins, Board played 31 snaps while McBride played 29. If these two are truly battling for the final wide receiver spot, it is neck and neck.
After originally signing with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2017, Board is now on his fourth team and is yet to see game action in the NFL regular season.
Joe Giles-Harris, linebacker
The linebacker position is a big question mark behind Myles Jack for the Jaguars. With Telvin Smith taking a hiatus, rookie Quincy Williams dealing with a knee injury and veteran Jake Ryan possibly starting the year on the physically-unable-to-perform list, there is a golden opportunity for Giles-Harris to earn a spot. He’ll have to battle with D.J. Alexander, Ramik Wilson and others to cement his place on the team, but Giles-Harris has flashed his potential throughout the preseason and could be a surprise addition to the 53-man roster.
After not being selected in any of the seven rounds, the Jaguars signed Giles-Harris out Duke immediately following the NFL Draft. He has remained on the roster ever since.
Breon Borders, cornerback
Borders is a name we’ve heard praised all throughout training camp. He really struggled in the first preseason game against Baltimore, but performed better in the past two contests. Out of all the guys mentioned on this list, Borders likely has the best chance to make the team. He has a clear leg up on the bottom of the roster guys, so it will likely come down to Borders, Tre Herndon and Quenton Meeks to fight for the final spots on the cornerback depth chart.
Similarly to Giles-Harris, Borders joined the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Duke. The Raiders were the first to sign him in 2017, and he also spent time with the Buffalo Bills and Houston Texans prior to arriving in Jacksonville.
Devante Mays, running back
Mays is still a bit of a long shot to make the active roster, but I think the Jags learned their lesson after carrying just three running backs into the season in 2018. It’s unlikely the Jaguars take five running backs into 2019, but I would expect at least four. Mays will compete with veteran Thomas Rawls for the last tailback spot. Mays has not looked particularly impressive running the ball this preseason, netting 19 yards on 12 carries, but he has shown the ability to catch out of the backfield with six catches for 38 yards.
Mays was drafted in the seventh round by the Green Bay Packers in 2017. He spent time in Cleveland last season, and the Jags signed him in late July.
It will be interesting to see which players are surprise cuts, and which players who we didn’t think had much of a chance at the beginning of training camp, make the team.
Which “roster bubble” players are you hoping make the roster? Let us know in the comments section below.