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Jaguars Daily: Should Travis Etienne be used like Deebo Samuel or Alvin Kamara?

Jacksonville Jaguars Training Camp Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

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Good morning, y’all. And Happy Monday. Knock back that third cup of coffee and let’s get to it.

Here’s all the Jacksonville Jaguars news that’s fit to print, or find from around the Internet.

Should Jacksonville Jaguars use dual threat Travis Etienne Jr. like Deebo Samuel or Alvin Kamara?

Being considered the next Deebo Samuel is the hot thing in the NFL right now.

When a player has the skill set to be a playmaker as a running back and a receiver, the default assumption seems to be that teams should use that dual threat just like the San Francisco 49ers have deployed Samuel by moving him all over the formation to get him the ball as a receiver who also takes handoffs.

That’s certainly the case with the Jacksonville Jaguars’ versatile pass-catching running back Travis Etienne Jr., who is completely healed from the Lisfranc injury that cost him his rookie season in 2021 and who looked smooth and fast during the team’s organized team activities this spring.

But that’s wrong, says ESPN’s Mike DiRocco.

5 Jaguars who have improved this offseason

With the Jaguars not in pads until nearly two months down the road, it can be hard at times to gauge exactly what kind of strides players have made. There are some cases where it just looks like things have clicked for a player, however.

With this in mind—here are five Jaguars who we think have taken strides this offseason based on what we have seen on the field and heard in the building.

ESPN’s Domonique Foxworth believes Jags could be 2022’s Cincinnati Bengals

The Jacksonville Jaguars have mostly been projected to finish third in the AFC South, with the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts finishing ahead of them in some order in most cases. Additionally, they’ve been projected to receive a top-10 draft pick again, which means most feel they will have more wins than losses.

ESPN’s Domonique Foxworth believes the Jaguars have a chance to be this year’s Cincinnati Bengals by going from a fourth-place team in 2021 to competing in the Super Bowl.

As many witnessed last season, the Bengals went to the Super Bowl after going 4-11 the year before and placing fourth in the AFC North. However, they quickly turned things around and stunned the football community with a 10-7 record and Super Bowl berth.

Bruce Smith: Tony Boselli’s Hall of Fame campaign undermined the integrity of the Hall

Former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August, and another Hall of Famer doesn’t seem too happy about that.

Bruce Smith, the Bills great who is the only player in NFL history with 200 sacks, wrote in a lengthy statement on Instagram that he doesn’t consider Boselli among the most accomplished left tackles in NFL history, and also took issue with the focus of Boselli’s Hall of Fame campaign on a particularly good playoff game that Boselli had against Smith.

NFL scout: Trevor Lawrence will have “true rookie year” after Urban Meyer exit

One benefit of the Jacksonville Jaguars moving on from Urban Meyer so quickly is it gives Trevor Lawrence an opportunity to work with a new, accomplished NFL head coach in 2022.

Speaking to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, one AFC scout said the upcoming season will be like Lawrence’s “true rookie year” while playing for Doug Pederson.

“Hopefully not too many permanent scars from last year,” the scout added.

There’s a strong argument to be made that the Jaguars damaged Lawrence’s rookie season long before he was taken with the No. 1 overall pick in 2021.

Rookie WR Kevin Austin Jr. hopes to make most of opportunity with Jaguars

It wasn’t long after the draft that Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Kevin Austin Jr. knew where he’d end up. He and his agent worked diligently to figure out the best spot, with Austin ultimately leaving it up to the latter to find the best spot, Jacksonville.

No, it wasn’t easy for the former Notre Dame receiver to see 262 names that weren’t his cross the ticker on the bottom of the television, but that’s ultimately what happened after his name wasn’t called and his phone didn’t ring during the three-day extravaganza.

Still, Austin has gotten over the fact that he wasn’t selected, knowing that he has a chance to compete for a spot on a roster that is in need of talent at the receiver position.

Click here to read more from Demetrius Harvey about the rookie’s journey to the NFL up to this point.

Doug Pederson nearly cracks top 10 in PFN’s ranking

While Doug Pederson isn’t a top 5 head coach in the NFL, his spot in a recent ranking raised a few eyebrows. After all, he’s already won a Super Bowl and made the playoffs three times during his five-year stint with the Philadelphia Eagles.

On the bright side, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coach landed in a more favorable spot in Pro Football Network’s ranking.

Mike Kaye of PFN was tasked with ranking all 32 head coaches in the NFL, and Pederson popped up at No. 11, one spot outside the top 10. Andy Reid and Bill Belichick once again got the top spots but Mike Tomlin finished third and Sean McVay earned the fourth spot. Regarding Pederson, Kaye believes Pederson is “the right leader” to get the Jags on the right path.

First look at No. 1 pick Travon Walker’s fit with Jaguars

The biggest challenge for NFL evaluators is determining whether a prospect is an ideal fit for the team’s scheme. For a media scout, the lack of information and insight from each organization can make it difficult to play the mock draft game when attempting to match top prospects with pro franchises.

In the 2022 NFL Draft, the surprising rise of Travon Walker to No. 1 overall created quite a stir in media circles, with many observers obsessing over the Georgia product’s sack production instead of focusing on his intriguing traits as a super-sized defensive playmaker with positional flexibility.

Click here to read more from NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks about the highly touted prospect who’s making waves in Duval.

4 Jaguars players who could get bumped down the depth chart

The Jaguars have a few OTA practices left before they take a rest and recharge batteries for training camp. During this period of time, there will be several players either competing for roster spots or trying to hold onto the jobs they had last season.

Several training camp battles will take place in the upcoming weeks, and these four Jaguars players could get bumped down the depth chart.

Jaguars look much improved on the defensive side of the ball

The Jaguars ranked 20th in the NFL in total defense (353.1 yards per game allowed), 17th against the pass (227.9 yards allowed per game), 24th against the run (125.1 yards allowed per game), and 28th in points allowed per game (26.9) last season.

Additionally, the Jaguars ranked 25th in the league in third-down defense (about 43 percent conversions allowed) and 30th in fourth-down defense (66.7 percent conversions allowed). Jacksonville also could not produce turnovers, as the Jaguars ranked dead last in the NFL with just nine takeaways (seven interceptions and two fumble recoveries).

Suffice to say, it wasn’t good.

With all of this in mind, the Jaguars have shown a clear plan to improve the defense this offseason. Newly-hired head coach Doug Pederson brought in Mike Caldwell from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to run the defense, and Pederson and Caldwell have greatly improved the personnel on that side of the ball — at least on paper.