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Jacksonville Jaguars rookies hit with injury bug this preseason

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars-Training Camp Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars had incredible injury luck in 2017, which was a big reason why the team found success. In 2018, that quickly changed as the Jaguars fielded a revolving door of players at various positions due to the injury bug. Now, leading up to the 2019 season, it’s been Jacksonville’s rookies — and draft picks in particular — that have been struggling with injuries thus far throughout training camp and preseason.

During yesterday’s preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, three of the Jaguars’ seven draft picks were held out for injury — right tackle Jawaan Taylor (second-round section), tight end Josh Oliver (third-round selection) and linebacker Quincy Williams (third-round selection). Neither Oliver or Williams traveled to Baltimore this week.

Taylor, a player I was hoping to see get some reps in, banged his knee on the ground at Tuesday during joint practice with Baltimore. It sounds like he was held out more for precautionary than any serious concerns, which was the right move. Williams slightly tore his meniscus at practice in early August. Williams, who by all accounts seemed to be thriving at the WILL position as Telvin Smith’s replacement, is expected to be back by Week 1 of the regular season, but it is an unfortunate detour toward his development. Oliver was also injured at an early August practice, and according to head coach Doug Marrone, suffered a “significant” hamstring injury. His status for the first game of the season is in doubt, which really leaves the Jags shorthanded with an underwhelming tight end group.

Meanwhile, running back Ryquell Armstead, a fifth-round pick in April, was forced to exit his first ever preseason game, as he was evaluated for a concussion. Armstead carried the ball eight times for just 22 yards (which led the team), but looked strong doing so. If it was deemed a concussion, then Armstead will have to miss some practice time and enter the league’s concussion protocol. We are still waiting for an update on his status.

Armstead also missed time during the offseason program with a hamstring issue. He technically started training camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list, but was activated immediately after camp opened.

Presumed backup quarterback, sixth-round pick Gardner Minshew II, started Thursday night’s game in place of Nick Foles, who was held out of the meaningless game. He struggled to move the offense, and took several big shots. He showed his toughness, and as far as I know did not suffer any sort of major injury, but he was likely banged up after hits like this:

Rookie wide receiver Marcus Simms, whom the Jaguars signed following the supplemental draft, did not travel to Baltimore, as he is also dealing with the effects of a concussion.

All in all, the Jaguars held out an unprecedented 32 players in the preseason opener. The majority of which were for precautionary reasons, which was the right call given the amount of injuries we saw amongst the various NFL games last night, but let’s hope the injuries — especially to the rookie class — do not continue into the regular season.

Outside of linebacker James Onwualu, who will miss the season after suffering a non-contact knee injury the team’s current injuries are not considered too serious (knock on wood). The Oliver injury may extend into the regular season, but shouldn’t keep him out too long. A healthy roster heading into the regular season is an obvious key to success.