The Jaguars appear to be at an impasse when it comes to the offensive side of the football. With a variety of directions to choose from, narrowing down the actual needs of the team will be difficult heading into the 2020 NFL Draft.
The quarterback position is far from completely solidified, however, the Jaguars are confident in Gardner Minshew II’s abilities. That much can be corroborated by the trade the Jaguars made official yesterday in sending quarterback Nick Foles to the Chicago Bears for a fourth-round pick in the upcoming draft.
In speaking to the local media yesterday via video conference, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone made it clear the team still needs weapons, something to surround the quarterback position with.
“I think offensively we’re expecting our offensive line to take a big jump from what they did last year,” Marrone said when asked about his vision of the team heading into net season.
“But again, how many weapons, how many playmakers do we have surrounding the quarterback position? Do we have enough of those guys that can make plays? That’s really the key when you look at it, explosive plays are coming from playmakers.”
The Jaguars do have a few key offensive playmakers returning next season. Namely, Pro Bowl wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. and running back Leonard Fournette. Both players were very important to the team’s success on offense last year.
Stache ➡ Flash#TouchdownTuesday@GardnerMinshew5 | @DJChark82 pic.twitter.com/10083dsiLB— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) April 1, 2020
The fourth-year running back finished the year with 1071 yards on the ground and three touchdowns, while adding a team-high 76 receptions for 522 yards — the most successful receiving season of Fournette’s career.
Chark Jr. finished the year with 73 receptions, 1008 yards, and eight touchdowns. The former LSU Tiger made the jump the team is hoping 2019 third-round pick tight end Josh Oliver to make. Oliver finished the year on injured reserve (back), playing in only four games on the year.
While the Jaguars certainly do have some pieces on offense with Chark and Fournette, along with key depth pieces in wide receivers Chris Conley, Keelan Cole, and Dede Westbrook, the team can afford to add more.
Marrone has continuously mentioned depth at those key positions on offense as reasoning for adding more talent. When asked plainly if the team had enough weapons currently on the roster, Marrone answered with a simple, “no”, adding “We’re always trying to find more weapons.”
In this year’s draft, there are an abundance of offensive weapons — particularly at wide receiver. Players such as Henry Ruggs III, Ceedee Lamb, and Jerry Jeudy headline this generational talent of receivers, and the Jaguars could be in play for any one of the three with their ninth-overall selection.
“Like we had in the past with a real speed back that might be able to run routes or an outside receiver, maybe a 4.2 guy or an outside receiver who is 6-4 to all those things. The one thing about offense is you always want playmakers and you’re always looking.”
If the Jaguars are to go into 2020 with Minshew at quarterback, the team will want to put him in the best position possible to succeed.
“He’s not going to change the way he is,” Marrone said of Minshew’s development during this time period. “He’s a hard-working kid and he’s got a lot of potential, and we have to make sure that everyone around him is doing their job and doing it at a high level.”
Absent that, the Jaguars will not be able to truly evaluate his play moving forward. In order to build upon the success of “Minshew Mania” from last season, the Jaguars will need to heavily consider adding playmakers to the offense, it it appears Marrone agrees.
“It’s like chocolate chip cookies. There’s never enough in the house for me.”