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Jaguars’ restocked 2023 roster should get Jacksonville right back into the postseason mix

Doug Pederson and the Jaguars are looking to build on last season’s success.

With training camp around the corner, here’s a brief look back at changes the Jacksonville Jaguars made to its roster during the 2023 offseason.

Key departures

  • TE Dan Arnold (Eagles)
  • CB Shaquill Griffin (Texans)
  • RB Darrell Henderson (FA)
  • WR Willie Johnson (FA)
  • WR Marvin Jones Jr. (Lions)
  • DE Arden Key (Titans)
  • TE Chris Manhertz (Broncos)
  • K Riley Patterson (Lions)
  • DT Corey Peters (FA)
  • RT Jawaan Taylor (Chiefs)

Key additions

  • OG Chandler Brewer (Rams)
  • DT Michael Dogbe (Cardinals)
  • OT Anton Harrison (Sooners) -- and a dozen other 2023 draft picks
  • RB D’Ernest Johnson (Browns)
  • K Brandon McManus (Broncos)
  • DT Henry Mondeaux (Giants)
  • TE Josh Pederson (USFL)
  • WR Calvin Ridley (Falcons) -- was reinstated in March following a trade last November
  • OT Josh Wells (Buccaneers)

New player fits

Jacksonville’s two biggest departures (Jawaan Taylor and Marvin Jones Jr.) are offset by its two biggest additions (Anton Harrison and Calvin Ridley).

Taylor developed into one of the league’s best right tackles in his fifth NFL season and first under coach Phil Rauscher. Harrison, the 27th overall pick of the 2023 draft, will slide right in and start immediately at right tackle. He allowed one sack on 447 pass pro snaps in his final year at Oklahoma, per Pro Football Focus.

Jones Jr. was a dependable possession receiver -- fans may remember his clutch goal line touchdown against Baltimore last year -- but Ridley offers an entirely new level of playmaking. Though he hasn’t played an NFL game since October 2021, Ridley’s impact on Jacksonville’s offense should be felt by halftime of the season opener. He led the league in games with 100-plus receiving yards (8) during his 2020 All-Pro campaign in Atlanta.

Two under-the-radar pickups are Brandon McManus and Josh Wells. The kicking upgrade from Riley Patterson to McManus will be noticeable during long field goal attempts as well as kickoffs; Wells will be relied upon as the swing tackle during Cam Robinson’s four-game suspension.

Other than Harrison, Auburn running back Tank Bigsby has the best chance to make a rookie impact. The Jaguars are looking for more physicality up front, and short-yardage situations is one of few areas where the offense could improve in 2023. Most importantly, Bigsby will join JaMycal Hasty as another backfield option to help keep Travis Etienne fresh.

The Jaguars notably lost 475 snaps from Arden Key’s departure and did not add an impact player to a defense that ranked 26th in DVOA in 2022.

The following exchange is from April.

Media member: There’s been a lot of talk obviously the last two months about if there’s an area to get better in. I know there are a lot of them. But pass rush, you lose Smoot and Key, almost double-digit sacks. Obviously you draft a couple guys. But how much are you leaning on Travon [Walker] taking a step, some of these other guys taking a step — Josh [Allen] finishing, Doug, to really make up for some of the production and make your pass rush better?

Doug Pederson: I think we are leaning on that. We are expecting Josh Allen to take the lead and of course Travon’s there and K’Lavon Chaisson to take a step. They’re all guys that have been here, the second year in the defense. Jordan Smith is coming back off injury. He has another opportunity there. So, yeah, we expect greater results starting in training camp and then obviously carrying over to the regular season. Looking forward to it. Looking forward to working with these guys, developing their skill set even more.

The Jaguars’ futures odds from DraftKings Sportsbook have shifted since the line opened at -120 for Jacksonville to win the AFC South. Jacksonville is still the favorite in the division, and the odds now sit at -150.

Overall, Jacksonville’s roster is remarkably similar to last year’s version. They’ll mostly be relying on jumps in production from ‘21 and ‘22 offseason additions. Immediate production from offensive newcomers Harrison and Ridley, though, could take this team to the top in 2023.