The days are dwindling down, both towards the 2019 NFL Draft as well as the sun setting on my time here with the Locked On Jaguars brand that has reached heights beyond what I could have imagined when I began to build this outlet from the ground-up.
As both events are happening in unison, let’s go out having some fun.
Almost every player expected to be drafted in the top ten picks of the 2019 NFL Draft has been linked to the Jacksonville Jaguars, in some way, shape, or form. Up until the Nick Foles signing, quarterbacks Dwayne Haskins and Kyler Murray (and even Drew Lock every now and then) where the frequent selection in mock drafts everywhere.
Post-Foles signing, the mocks have been all over the place. Florida Gators right tackle Jawaan Taylor has been a popular candidate for anyone who believes JAX will go offensive line at 7th overall – however, Alabama OL Jonah Williams has been a late riser. Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson has a corner of the fanbase to himself, considering Foles’ vast success with tight ends in the past. Oh, and the strength of the defensive line class has had plenty of folks believe the Jaguars could enter this draft with a “best player available” approach, and perhaps targeting Mississippi State defensive end Montez Sweat, Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, even Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams if he were to fall down the board.
I guess what I’m saying is no one knows anything with 100% certainty about who Jacksonville is going to pick, until that draft card gets read.
In that case, I’ve put together my own personal top-10 big board for the Jaguars, based on how I would approach the 7th overall pick. This was all put together from a mix of my own scouting, opinion of the Jaguars’ needs, what role each player would serve, and things of that nature.
Let’s get down to it.
1. Quinnen Williams, defensive lineman, Alabama
6-3, 303, 33 1/4″ arms, testing scores
Is it a hot take to view Quinnen Williams as the superior prospect to Nick Bosa? Yes? No? Maybe so? Hear me out.
Yes, Williams only has one year of production – dominant production, but I digress – heading into the draft. He served as depth at Alabama previous to 2018 with Da’Ron Payne, D’Shawn Hand, and Joshua Frazier ahead of him on the defensive line rotation – all three players were drafted in 2018.
But the presence Williams had on the field for the Crimson Tide in 2018 went unmatched compared to any defensive lineman in the country. Eight sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss, and ranking No. 1 in both run-stop % and pass rush productivity among defensive line prospects according to PFF is hard to match.
It’s hard to find any weakness in Williams’ game other than his lack of playing time before 2018, but that doesn’t scare me. He’s going to dominate NFL offensive lines, and he’s going to start doing that very early in his career. While he may be best suited to play 3-technique, I believe he can plug-and-play-and-produce anywhere on the defensive line. Williams is the most sure-thing in this draft, and considering how important interior pressure is in today’s NFL, gimme gimme gimme.
Prospects like Williams are rare to come by, and if he somehow falls to the 7th overall pick, Jacksonville would be silly to pass in him even with their needs on offense. I just can’t envision Williams falling that far at all.
— NFL (@NFL) April 19, 2019
2. Nick Bosa, defensive end, Ohio State
6-3 3/4, 266, 33″ arms, testing scores
Rushing the passer is in Nick Bosa’s blood. His brother, Joey Bosa, has recorded 28.5 sacks and 35 tackles for loss in 35 career games with the Los Angeles Chargers. And his father, John Bosa, recorded seven sacks in three seasons with the Miami Dolphins in the late 1980s.
In three seasons at Ohio State, Bosa recorded 17.5 sacks and 29 tackles for loss, as well as two forced fumbles and two batted passes. Pro Football Focus has Bosa down for 77 QB hurries on 581 pass rush snaps over the past three seasons. Bosa is incredibly disruptive off of the edge in both the pass and run game, and will become a team’s premier edge rusher for years to come so long as he stays healthy.
However, Bosa missed most of the 2018 season due to a bilateral core muscle injury, which required a complete groin surgery. That’s a little more than a minor injury and is part of what separates Williams from Bosa on my board. All signs point to a full recovery but needing groin surgery as a premier draft prospect is something to keep in mind.
Bosa is most likely not falling past the San Francisco 49ers at the 2nd overall pick, but if he does, he’d be a perfect heir to Calais Campbell at defensive end opposite of Yannick Ngakoue to extend the life of Jacksonville’s premier pass rushing tandem… so long as Ngakoue receives the contract extension he deserves.
2. #49ers select
DE Nick Bosa
40 Yard Dash: 4.79
Bench Press: 29
Vertical Jump: 33.5
Broad Jump: 116.0
3 Cone Drill: 7.1
20 Yd Shuttle: 4.14
Video Credit-Harris Highlights (YouTube) pic.twitter.com/L1dt8GrwFN
— Branch Huddle (@BranchHuddle) April 20, 2019
3. Dwayne Haskins, quarterback, Ohio State
It’s unpopular at this point to wish for the Jaguars to select a quarterback in the first round, only a month removed from the free agency signing of quarterback Nick Foles, but this is an idea I’ve been an advocate of for a while, even though I understand it is not likely.
The Jaguars have had a ton of interest in Haskins for quite some time. The team, including a high-ranking executive on numerous occasions, live-scouted him at least five times in 2018, per sources. The team met with Haskins at the NFL Combine as well. If Nick Foles didn’t sign with Jacksonville in free agency, I would have bet a lot of money on Haskins wearing black and teal.
But considering Foles has yet to start and finish 16 games in any of his seven career seasons, and has shown some inconsistencies as a starter in the same time frame, you have to wonder if Jacksonville would be best served with a Brett Favre/Aaron Rodgers approach to their quarterback position. Especially when you understand their significant interest in Haskins previously. Haskins sat and learned behind J.T. Barrett – a QB that Haskins is far superior to in hindsight – and you never heard a peep from him. He understood his time would come, and rather than creating drama, he was patient and awaited that opportunity as he grew as a QB. In fact, he’s even said he’d do it again at the NFL level:
Former Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins says he'd be fine sitting on an NFL bench at the beginning of his career pic.twitter.com/C7Evto0bkX
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 23, 2019
If Jacksonville were to double-dip at QB with Haskins, he’d face the same situation here with Nick Foles. Both are considered “team-first” guys, so it’s safe to assume Foles would take on a mentoring role for Haskins to eventually take his spot a couple of seasons down the line. And as previously noted, Haskins has lived that story before.
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) April 19, 2019
4. T.J. Hockenson, tight end, Iowa
T.J. Hockenson is the best tight end prospect I’ve ever evaluated. It’s that simple.
Nick Foles targeted tight ends on 33% of his passing attempts over the past two seasons, one of them being Zach Ertz who is in the top tier of tight ends in the NFL. It’s that simple.
Hockenson is essentially a sixth offensive lineman when lining up to block, he’s that effective and polished and can create extra lanes in the run game for a Jaguars team that loves to run the football. On top of his polished blocking skills, Hockenson is an incredibly athletic receiver for his size, testing in the 68th percentile and higher among NFL TEs on every athletic test other than the bench press at the NFL Combine.
He wins vertically with contested catch skills and an impressive catch radius, and is a smooth route runner across the middle of the field and releasing vertically. Hockenson is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses that will require specific game-planning in order to shut him down as he grows into a prominent NFL role.
T.J. Hockenson's passer rating of 139.1 led the B1G this season. He caught 49 passes, averaged 7.3 yards after the catch per reception and forced 8 missed tackles. pic.twitter.com/k4x29kiMnI
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 21, 2019
5. Jonah Williams, offensive lineman, Alabama
While the near-consensus mock candidate has been Jawaan Taylor should the Jaguars go offensive line at 7th overall, Jonah Williams is a much more polished prospect, with a ton of college honors to back up his on-field product and the versatility to be a chess-piece on a Jaguars offensive line that was severely banged up in 2018.
Whether he moves back to right tackle to once again bookend a line with former Alabama teammate Cam Robinson, sticks at left tackle and move Robinson to right, or move inside to right guard, there’s a starting position somewhere in Jacksonville for Williams. And if a player goes down with an injury at any position, Williams is versatile enough to move into their spot with, say, Will Richardson filling in where Williams previously played – most likely right tackle.
Williams’ position coach at Alabama, Brent Key, is very close with Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone, and is on record for influencing the team’s selection of Cam Robinson in the past. Could Key do the same with Williams, who he has labeled as a “special” player?
Williams vs Ferrell again. He knows a +length move is coming and his hand technique gets Ferrell off of his plan before it even really starts. Then gets inside the rip move and Ferrell is out of the play.
People are overthinking Jonah Williams' arm length disadvantage. pic.twitter.com/MXdTHq2UeI
— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) April 17, 2019
6. Montez Sweat, defensive end, Mississippi State
6-5 3/4, 260, 35 3/4″ arms, testing scores
If there is one word to define Montez Sweat, it’s “freak”.
Sweat ran a 4.41 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine, which ranks in the 99th percentile among NFL DEs. Add to that a 92nd percentile broad jump at 125″, an 83rd percentile 3-cone drill of 7 seconds flat, an 81st percentile vertical jump of 36″… Montez Sweat is a rare specimen. His height ranks in the 88th percentile, and arm length in the 97th, as well.
Sweat has been diagnosed with an “enlarged heart” that is pushing him down or off team draft boards entirely, but there’s a history of players with similar conditions – Mo Hurst, Star Loutlelei, and Nick Fairley to name a few – who weren’t affected by their heart condition and have gone on to play in the NFL. Considering he has been cleared to fully participate and play in the NFL, Sweat’s condition does not scare me away.
The former Mississippi State standout recorded 22.5 sacks and 30.5 tackles for loss in two seasons there. Sweat would immediately serve as a third down pass rushing specialist and eventually replace Calais Campbell at 5-technique defensive end opposite of Ngakoue.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) April 14, 2019
7. Jawaan Taylor, right tackle, Florida
Jawaan Taylor has won this draft process more than almost any prospect out there. Following two okay seasons at Florida, Taylor was much improved as a player in 2018 under a new coaching staff and has ascended into top-10 pick talks.
But I’m not as big a fan of him as others. Do I think he’s going to be a good NFL right tackle? Yes, absolutely. Do I think he will be great? That I’m not certain of, as I believe he still has some technical deficiencies that need grooming and to fix his serious penalty issues.
However, his size profile does match perfectly with what the Jaguars generally look for in an offensive tackle, he took a top-30 visit to Jacksonville immediately following his Pro Day, and the Jaguars have some work to do on the right side of their offensive line as Will Richardson is an unknown at this point. He wouldn’t be my favorite pick, but at the end of the day I’d understand the idea behind the Jaguars selecting Taylor if that’s what ends up happening. I just vastly prefer Jonah Williams.
We’re talking a lot about Jawaan Taylor on the pod tonight and why all the experts have him mocked as the #1 OL in the draft.
#65 for UF pic.twitter.com/24jMTOepdX
— Another Jags Podcast (@AnotherJagsPod) April 8, 2019
8. Ed Oliver, defensive tackle, Houston
6-1 7/8, 287, 31 3/4″ arms, testing scores
Oliver falls out of my top seven on the big board, just outside of the Jaguars pick, because while I believe Oliver will be a stud at the next level with elite explosive traits, I also believe he’s best served as a strict 3-technique. And Jacksonville invested a first round pick in 2018 on the 3-technique position in Taven Bryan – who proved in 2018 that he, too, is strictly a 3-tech.
Even though Oliver is undoubtedly a better prospect than Bryan was coming out,I’m not a fan of burning first round picks on the same type of player in back to back years. That makes the previous pick totally redundant and becomes a waste of an asset. If I was more confident in Oliver as a “big-end” 5-technique, I’d have ranked Oliver higher. But his lack of length makes me believe he wouldn’t be a good fit there, whereas I’m 100% confident in his ability to be a stud defensive tackle.
If Jacksonville wants to give up on the Taven Bryan experiment in favor of Oliver, so be it, and Oliver would certainly be an upgrade. Oliver recorded 13.5 sacks and 53 tackles for loss in three years at Houston. I just don’t love that logic.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) April 19, 2019
9. Noah Fant, tight end, Iowa
6-4 1/8, 249, 33 1/3″ arms, testing scores
Noah Fant, like his teammate T.J. Hockenson who is listed above, has the potential to be a game-changing NFL tight end. Just, in a different way than Hockenson.
Fant is a dynamic receiver with insane athleticism and route-running ability for a player of his stature. While Hockenson is a polished route runner himself, Fant is more of an explosive playmaker at each level of the playing field than Hockenson.
The downside with Fant is that he isn’t nearly the blocker that Hockenson is. He does well in space against receivers but struggles when playing in-line or as a lead blocker vs. defensive linemen and linebackers, which is going to push him down Jacksonville’s draft board with their emphasis on blocking ability. Fant has also suffered from his share of drops with 13 in three seasons, which is something that hurt Jacksonville a good bit in 2018. This is likely coachable, however.
Regardless, Fant would provide the Jaguars with a huge mismatch playing “big slot” and outside as a receiver in the pass game. He recorded 1083 yards and 19 touchdowns on 78 receptions dating back to 2016.
10. Josh Allen, defensive end/outside linebacker, Kentucky
6-4 7/8, 262, 33 1/2″ arms, testing scores
Unlike Montez Sweat, I don’t see Allen fitting as well at 5-technique as an eventual replacement for Calais Campbell, which knocks him down my board despite being generally viewed as a top-five talent in this class. If the Jaguars were to select Allen, I’d be skeptical as to whether or not they plan on giving Yannick Ngakoue a contract extension, as Allen is better suited as a wide-pass rusher and working in space.
That is, unless they change their philosophy on defense. And the hiring of Dom Capers, former defensive coordinator who ran a 3-4 defense, could mean just that. Jacksonville could choose to get more versatile in their defensive looks beyond their typical four man front. Should Jacksonville elect to mix things up and include a standing pass rusher in some of their packages, Allen becomes a lot more appealing. Although Leon Jacobs played well at SAM in his rookie year, Allen would also fit the Jaguars 4-3 under-SAM role in base where he can drop into coverage on occasion.
Allen recorded 31.5 sacks and 42 tackles for loss for Kentucky in four seasons. He also forced 11 fumbles, intercepted a pass, and defended eight passes.
No. 5 on our top 250 players for the draft – Josh Allen.
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 22, 2019
Jaguars 2019 position group breakdown: Running Backs
Similar to their quarterback situation, the Jacksonville Jaguars have attempted to answer some questions in terms of the run game in this year’s offseason. Jacksonville went through a full remodel in an attempt to add veteran presence that can sustain the ground attack if injury strikes the team yet again in 2019.
Two years ago, the Jaguars were a team that led the NFL in rushing at 527 attempts throughout the regular season. Nearly 50 carries ahead of any other team in the league. On those 527 attempted the Jaguars saw heights in production not seen since the Maurice Jones-Drew.
That production staggered in yardage and overall sustainability of the offense with their lackluster quarterback play last season. This was all due to the injuries of star running back Leonard Fournette and the majority of the offensive line. Without Fournette, the Jaguars only accumulated half the yardage in 2018 Fournette produced in 2017 with T.J. Yeldon and Carlos Hyde leading the affair.
Being a strong part of the offensive system, the Jaguars win total saw a sharp decrease and the team swagger that carried them to the 2017 AFC playoffs had vanished.
Jacksonville looked to replenish their running back room and get back to the strong, effective run game they saw in 2017 that made them so successful.
Adding Alfred Blue, Benny Cunningham, Thomas Rawls and more through free agency, as well as, drafting former Temple running back, Ryquell Armstead the Jaguars made a good move in adding reliable to back up Fournette in the backfield.
Projected Running Back Depth Chart:
*italicized indicates starter, underline indicates picked up via draft/free agency
Leonard Fournette, Alfred Blue, Benny Cunningham, Ryquell Armstead.
Leading the pack coming into 2019 is Leonard Fournette. Fournette is a player that has all the major attributes to be a star player in the NFL if he could just stay healthy. Fournette missed eight games last season and seven due to injury which caused the Jaguars offense to stall in his absence.
He is a player that combines strong downhill running with game-breaking speed. Abilities not many can combine nevertheless replace. He is a generational talent who looks to return to his rookie form in 2019.
Fournette looks to be getting back on track this season and “refocused on football.” Him being able to stay on the field will be a huge plus for a Jaguars team that has struggled offensively for many years.
The next two players on the depth chart are veteran backs Alfred Blue and Benny Cunningham.
Blue being a signee from the Houston Texans roster and an experienced back who knows how to get yardage necessary to sustain drives. While receiving very little touches in the Houston offense he played the backup role well and was a reliable source of receiving out of the backfield.
Blue will be used more as a third-down back in the Jaguars offense.
The same goes for Cunningham. Coming over from the Bears, which last season saw two top-caliber running backs in Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen sharing carries, Cunningham got lost in the shuffle. Cunningham is a great receiving threat out of the backfield and can play solid minutes in his role on his new team.
Having two players that can play roles, and play them well is vital for any team in the NFL. Taking fatigue and potential injury into account getting Cunningham and Blue was one of the more important moves the Jaguars made this offseason. The Jaguars acquired two reliable backs for new quarterback Nick Foles to work with on downs where Fournette is not in the game.
Next on the team’s depth chart is the Jaguars 2019 fifth-round pick out of Temple, Ryquell Armstead. In his senior year, Armstead scored 13 touchdowns and averaged nearly 6.5 yards per carry. Armstead’s progression through his college career was a sight to see. After starting his career as a bulkier strong runner, Armstead slimmed down to become a more complete back and utilized his opportunity at Temple to make it to the NFL.
Posting 2,987 yards and 34 touchdowns over his career, Armstead looks to carry on those impressive numbers at the next level. Armstead is a runner with great field vision and patience behind the line of scrimmage. He bursts through the open hole and is willing to lower the shoulder to gain extra yardage. Armstead says that he models his game after former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs.
He describes himself as an angry runner. “I run angry, I run violent. I look for contact— that’s something that makes me unique.” Armstead stated in an interview with CBS sports.
The type of physical running Armstead brings to the table is something the Jaguars have had success within recent memory. That willingness to create contact and run hard for his team to succeed is an attribute any team would love to have with their running back.
A player that very strongly resembles Leonard Fournette in terms of running style was a guy the Jaguars looked at as a potential steal in the fifth round. An aggressive, one-cut runner who can run over opponents or bounce it to the outside and take off down the sideline.
Armstead had the second-fastest time in the 40-yard dash among eligible running backs at the 2019 NFL combine at 4.49 seconds. Being a player with blazing speed mixed with a downhill running style, Armstead could see minutes directly behind Fournette later in the season. Armstead is an intriguing prospect but his development as a pass-catcher out of the backfield will need to improve for him to solidify the playing time this season.
While the Jaguars have many running backs on the roster, all of them cannot stay. Unless there is a huge jump of progression when training camp starts later in the month, Thomas Rawls and Taj McGowan have very little shot of making the team.
After last season, the Jaguars have done whatever it takes to assure they have depth at this position. Being able to provide multiple sources of production is important for any team. By providing this depth, the Jaguars hope it can get the job done and they can return to the success seen in the running game just two seasons ago.
REPORT: Jaguars to sign former WVU WR Marcus Simms
The Jacksonville Jaguars have made a roster move signing former West Virginia WR Marcus Simms according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Simms was slated to participate in the supplemental draft after filing the paperwork on June 20th.
Source: The #Jaguars are signing former West Virginia WR Marcus Simms, pending a physical tomorrow. Had several offers after today's supplemental draft ended. One to watch in camp.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 10, 2019
Simms will make for interesting competition for the Jaguars as we inch closer to training camp. Simms accumulated 87 receptions for 1457 yards and eight touchdowns in his three-year career at West Virginia. Simms has also made his name known in the return game totaling 992 yards as a kick returner. According to reports, Simms ran the 40-yard dash in 4.4-4.49 seconds, with a vertical jump of 36″, a broad jump of 10-2 and three-cone time of 6.91 seconds. After his physical tomorrow, the Jaguars will have to make a corresponding move.
Simms will look to compete for a bottom-of-the-roster position with players such as Terrelle Pryor and Keelan Cole. If the Jaguars intend on retaining six receivers Simms will have a good shot at making the roster. By all accounts, Simms was a draftable player.
2019 Jacksonville Jaguars Fantasy Football: Nick Foles Preview
Quarterback Nick Foles signed a four-year, $88 million dollar contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars this offseason. Foles is a much-needed upgrade behind center and may be the best signal-caller the franchise has had in the past decade. Jaguars fans have high expectations for how he’ll do on his new team. Here’s what you should expect how he’ll do on your fantasy team.
Poor Fantasy History
Throughout the entirety of Foles’ career, his fantasy football production has been underwhelming. Foles has only finished as a top-25 fantasy quarterback once in his seven years in the league.
Part of the reason Foles never produced solid fantasy numbers due to the fact he has never played a full 16-game season — the most games he’s played is 13 back in 2013 when he was fantasy’s QB9. Foles played more than eight games just one other season. To remove the effect of the number of games played, we can look at fantasy points per game (PPG), but those statistics are also disappointing:
-Foles averaged 20.46 PPG in 2013, his best fantasy season. His second-best fantasy season was last year when he scored 15.00 fantasy PPG, which was tied for 24th — with Eli Manning. His career mark is 13.04 fantasy PPG.
-For comparison, Blake Bortles’ best fantasy season was in 2015, when he finished with 20.25 fantasy PPG. In 2018, he scored 13.31 fantasy PPG, which was 28th. His career mark is 15.88 fantasy PPG.
Bortles has been a viable fantasy option partly because of garbage-time opportunities in his first couple years and increased rushing production in the last couple years, but it’s still a tough look for Foles to have worse career fantasy numbers than Bortles by over two points. Long story short, Foles has frankly been a bad fantasy quarterback throughout his career save for one good season.
Fewer Passing Attempts
Another warning sign for Foles is a likely decrease in passing attempts after playing for the Philadelphia Eagles the past two seasons.
-In five regular-season starts last season, Foles had 39.0 attempts per game and averaged 15.04 fantasy points per game.
-In 12 regular-season starts last season, Bortles had 33.0 attempts per game and averaged 13.32 fantasy points per game.
-Foles and Bortles each averaged 0.35 fantasy points per dropback, per Player Profiler.
Foles finished with more fantasy points per game than Bortles, which was partly due to Foles simply throwing the ball more often. Foles’ higher passing rate can essentially be boiled down to two factors: team defense and rushing rate. Jacksonville’s 8thranked defense last season allowed the Jaguars the freedom to run more often and Philadelphia’s 18thranked defense sometimes forced the Eagles to pass more often (weighted defensive efficiency rankings via Football Outsiders). Additionally, Jacksonville (49%) ran at a higher rate than Philadelphia (43%) in game-script positive situations (rushing rates via Sharp Football Stats). To summarize, due to differences in defensive production and offensive play calling, the Eagles pass a lot more than the Jaguars.
Despite the new additions of Foles and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, the Jaguars will likely continue to rely on running and defense. As a result of transitioning from Philadelphia to Jacksonville, Foles will almost certainly throw fewer passes, and therefore is unlikely to produce numbers like he did last season- which already weren’t exceptional.
Fewer Red Zone Opportunities
Foles also isn’t likely to have as many opportunities to score in the red zone as he did with the Eagles, which is another fantasy red flag.
-In the past two seasons, 36.1% of Foles’ fantasy points have come from in the red zone, while 32.5% of Bortles’ fantasy points have come from in the red zone, per fantasy data.
-In the past two seasons, the Eagles passed on 53% of red-zone plays, while the Jaguars passed on 47% of red-zone plays. The Eagles passed on 57% of red-zone plays in games Foles started, and the Jaguars passed on 42% of red-zone plays in games Leonard Fournette started.
-In the past two seasons, the Eagles averaged 3.4 red zone attempts per game, while the Jaguars averaged 2.6 red zone attempts per game, per Team Rankings.
Based on the 2017-18 seasons, Foles may not reach the red zone as much nor pass in the red zone as much as he was accustomed to in Philadelphia.
Offensive Talent Downgrade
One of the more talked about storylines regarding Foles’ signing with the Jaguars is his prior supporting cast in Philadelphia compared to his current one in Jacksonville. Foles must transition from a receiving core of Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, and Nelson Agholor to Dede Westbrook, Marquise Lee, and rookie tight end Josh Oliver. The difference in each group’s production is obvious:
-Ertz, Jeffery, Agholor, and Golden Tate (who played for Philadelphia in the second half of last season) all surpassed 100 fantasy points and 60 receptions last season. They have four combined career Pro-Bowl appearances.
-Westbrook was the only Jacksonville receiver to surpass 100 fantasy points and 60 receptions last season. In fact, he is the only player on the current roster who caught over 40 passes last season. The Jaguars receivers have zero combined career Pro-Bowl appearances.
The argument that Westbrook is as good as Agholor is feasible, but Agholor was Philadelphia’s third receiving option at best last season, and Jacksonville has no weapons who can come close to the skillset or production of Ertz and Jeffery. Additionally, Foles targeted Ertz a lot and he generated impressive numbers – which creates a lot of buzz for the imminent Foles-Oliver connection – but Ertz’s success was likely due more to his own talent than Foles’ supposed rapport with tight ends:
Per Sports Info Solutions, Foles targeted tight ends at the highest rate in the league (35%) last season. However, he posted a worse completion percentage, yards per attempt, touchdown percentage, interception percentage, and quarterback rating when throwing to a tight end than the wide receiver or running back last season. Foles also ranked 42ndamong all quarterbacks (min. 10 attempts) in passer rating when targeting tight ends. Ertz finished top-three in targets, receptions, yards, touchdowns, and total fantasy points among tight ends last season. However, he ranked only 20thin fantasy points per target and 18thin yards per target among tight ends (per Player Profiler), which suggests that his massive target volume was a big benefactor towards his production. That large target volume combined with Ertz’s individual talent masked Foles’ below-average efficiency when targeting tight ends.
Now Foles is in Jacksonville, and his top tight end has yet to play an NFL snap. 2019 third-round pick Josh Oliver has a lot of potential to succeed in John DeFilippo’s tight end-friendly offense, but it is unreasonable to expect him to approach Ertz’s skill level or production in his first season. It should also be noted that rookie tight ends historically don’t have a large impact– in the past 15 years, only two rookie tight ends have surpassed 600 receiving yards, and only two have finished as a top-five fantasy tight end. Consequently, Foles may have even worse ratings when targeting tight ends this year. Foles’ supposed strength of throwing to tight ends could be revealed to simply be a result of having an All-Pro tight end to throw to ten times a game in Philadelphia. Overall, Foles is leaving a group of proven/productive receivers and joining a group of young/inconsistent receivers.
One last personnel issue to consider is the strength of Foles’ offensive lines. According to Football Outsiders, the Eagles ranked 17thin pass protection last season and gave up 40 sacks. The Jaguars ranked 27thin pass protection and gave up 53 sacks. Jacksonville’s linemen couldn’t stay healthy as it seemed like backups of backups were starting late in the season. If rookie tackle Jawaan Taylor makes an impact and the starters stay healthy this season there shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but it is worth mentioning that Foles’ new offensive line is just one more variable that could hypothetically make 2019 harder on him and hinge his fantasy potential.
Foles Overall Outlook
Foles ranks 12thin career winning percentage (per Football Database) but 34thin career fantasy points per game among all active quarterbacks (minimum 10 starts). Foles can win games without having to put up lucrative passing numbers, which is exactly what the Jaguars are expecting of him. Based on his past fantasy performances and his new environment in Jacksonville, Foles doesn’t have much of a fantasy ceiling and should not be drafted in single quarterback leagues. He has value as a streaming option/cheap DFS play when he has favorable matchups against weak pass defenses, but for the most part, it’d be wise to look elsewhere when finding a fantasy quarterback.
Note: All fantasy numbers are in standard format (non-PPR). Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are via Pro Football Reference.
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