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ROUNDTABLE: Which Jaguars Player Could Push For A Starting Job?

Zach Goodall

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May 22, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars safety Ronnie Harrison (36) runs on the field during organized team activities at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve decided to roll out a new segment here at LockedOnJaguars.com, where we accept one question from Twitter every week and turn it into a “roundtable” discussion regarding the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The entire Locked On Jaguars staff will give a short, yet detailed, answer to the weekly question to offer analysis regarding the team. Be sure to send your questions in on Twitter to @LockedOnJaguars.

With that being said, let’s get this thing rolling!

From @_boog1: Who’s one current backup player that could push for a starter for their job during training camp?

Zach GoodallWhile it isn’t a specific player that first comes to mind, I believe right guard A.J. Cann’s starting gig is the least secure across the depth chart. He hasn’t ever reached the potential the team had hoped for after selecting him in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft, and is the weak-link on a very strong offensive line.

Will Richardson, offensive tackle out of NC State that the Jaguars drafted in the fourth round, could compete at the right guard position during training camp, but I believe the team sees him as a long-term right tackle, and he could end up being the swing tackle this year instead. Look for guys like Josh Walker, Tyler Shatley, and William Poehls to compete with Cann for the right guard job.

Chris Thornton : (Editor’s note: Chris wrote this before Colin Holba was released, so he got it right I guess? The Jaguars brought in competition for Carson Tinker after Holba’s release in Andrew East.)

A guy I feel who could be in jeopardy to losing their starting job is long snapper Colin Holba. Holba joined the Jaguars in 2017 after replacement long snapper Matt Overton was placed on IR following a shoulder injury. Holba was signed and played for the Jaguars to finish the 2017 season and postseason. However, with almost a year passing since Carson Tinker’s ACL injury, Tinker could be in line to retake the starting long snapping job and push Colin Holba (and now Andrew East) out.

Demetrius HarveyA couple of young players who could push a potential starter this offseason come from the linebacker and right guard positions in Donald Payne and Josh Walker, respectively. Walker, who the team signed at the start of the 2017 season and played in two games last year, has been taking first team reps in place of an injured A.J. Cann during OTAs and mini-camp, over players such as rookie Will Richardson and interior backup Tyler Shatley.

Donald Payne is another up-and-coming player at the linebacker position who could push someone else such as Blair Brown who is competing at the SAM LB position this season. Payne has performed well in his role at middle linebacker, recording a couple of pass breakups and two interceptions with the first team during OTAs and training camp (per Mike Kaye of First Coast News) and could push for a starting job this summer.

Ruairi SongerD.J. Hayden is the Jaguars current starting nickel cornerback, but could be at risk for losing his starting position at nickel corner based on the talent behind him. Jalen Myrick fits better as an outside corner with his long speed, but could impress enough to win starting reps at slot with the boundary positions being locked up by Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. Tyler Patmon played well in the Bills playoff game and was the star of last year’s training camp, where he recorded eight interceptions. Quenton Meeks is a high-floor rookie CB who could get some looks at the position if he makes the roster.

I expect Hayden to be the starter if can take advantage of his opportunities in training camp. If he doesn’t, it’s a toss-up between Myrick and Patmon as to who would get the starting job.

Zak DewittWe’re all aware that strong safety Barry Church is probably gone next year and replaced by 2018 3rd round pick Ronnie Harrison. However, I think there’s a strong possibility that happens this year – perhaps not in training camp but as the season wears on. Defensive coordinator Todd Wash has already come out and said that Harrison has been better than they expected when they drafted him.

Church is on the wrong side of 30 and his role is not complicated or hard to replace. He’s primarily a box safety, which Harrison can easily do. The safeties’ jobs in our defense are also made a lot easier with Ramsey and Bouye on the outside. The only thing you’d lose by playing Harrison is the veteran presence and maybe the processing speed. Harrison brings more range, more athleticism and more versatility to even play both safety spots. It may be an unpopular opinion but I would love to see Harrison in place of Church this year.

Zach Goodall covers the Jacksonville Jaguars on the Locked On Jaguars Podcast and on BigCatCountry.com. Follow him on Twitter @zach_goodall.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars agree to terms with 2018 first round pick Taven Bryan

Ruairi Songer

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Jun 14, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Taven Bryan (90) walks to the field during mini camp at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars have come to terms on a contract with first round pick defensive tackle Taven Bryan, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Bryan’s rookie deal is worth $10.2 million over 4 years, and includes a $5.5 million signing bonus.

The contract, relatively low compared to the NFL’s most expensive defensive line, could help relieve the Jaguars cap space within the next few years when Bryan inevitably takes on a bigger role.

 

 

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Blake Bortles Must Take Control, Limit Mistakes in Training Camp

Zach Goodall

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Jan 21, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) reacts against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles signed a three year, $54 million extension with the team in February after leading Jacksonville to their first AFC Championship since 1999.

Now, the signal-caller must prove he was worth the deal.

Bortles has had an up-and-down career so far in Jacksonville, but showed significant improvement during the 2017 season compared to the year before. The QB completed 60.2% of his passes — a career high — for 3687 yards, 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions — a career low — and led the Jaguars to a 10-6, AFC South Champion season.

However, when training camp came around prior to the 2017 season, the wheels were falling off the wagon. Bortles’ had a disappointing camp, throwing five interceptions during the annual season-ticket owner exclusive practice, and during the preseason was benched in favor of Chad Henne to add some fuel to a quarterback competition between the two.

Bortles did win the job back before the regular season kicked off, and all was forgotten about as the team started winning. But, with a shiny new contract in his hands and a team to lead back to the playoffs this year, Bortles can not repeat his 2017 training camp performance this time around.

This will be Bortles’ second full offseason in offensive coordinator Nate Hackett’s system, and he needs to play like a poised veteran of the system. Hackett wasn’t a perfect playcaller in 2017, but he seemed to find a way to mesh the team’s run-first philosophy with Bortles’ strength’s and limit his faults with controlling the football.

All eyes are on running back Leonard Fournette’s growth as a bell-cow back entering his second professional season, and that should continue to take pressure off of Bortles. He doesn’t need to force passes or rush into decisions, as the run game will be the focal point of the offense.

In the passing game, things might start off a little shaky. The receiving corps was shaken up during the offseason, and it will naturally take time for Bortles’ to form chemistry with his new weapons.

This is the perfect opportunity for Bortles to take charge of the passing game, though. Taking the new guys under his wing and showing them the ropes will establish a sense of leadership that Bortles’ hasn’t been been able to establish in years’ past when his job security was in question.

On the field during camp, Bortles must display consistency. Despite his lows during last year’s camp, there were also moments where one was left thinking “Wow, now THAT was a good pass. Why can’t Bortles do that on every throw?”

It’s hard to ask the quarterback to be perfect on every throw, but with pressure being lifted by the presence of a true run game, Bortles’ has the ability to be a little more relaxed when dropping back. Opposing defenses must respect Jacksonville’s rushing attack, and with that, there will be more options to utilize in the passing game that Bortles must trust.

Bortles doesn’t need to “wow” anyone during camp. That isn’t what the team is going to ask of him during the season. As a quarterback, Bortles must display growth in terms of his consistency as a passer, limiting mistakes and learning to take what the defense gives him. As a Jaguar, Bortles must take the reigns and lead the team en route to an AFC South-winning season for the second year in a row.

After getting paid like the man, Blake Bortles needs to be the man.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus accused of sexual assault

Zach Goodall

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Jan 21, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (99) against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus has been accused of sexual assault and exposing a sexually transmitted disease to an anonymous Texas woman, per News4Jax.

The report states that Dareus had unconsensual sex with the woman when she was unconcious in a hotel in Houston this past April, also failing to disclose he was carrying herpes. The woman plans to sue Dareus for at least $15,000, per the report.

This isn’t the first sexual assault accusation against Dareus. A Las Vegas woman recently accused Dareus of a similar act from back in January, according to FloridaPolitics.com. Dareus reportedly brought the woman back to a party at his rental mansion in Lutz, near Tampa, where she claims he groped, drugged, and assaulted her after she blacked out.

Dareus was acquired by the Jaguars in the middle of the 2017 season via trade with the Buffalo Bills. The Jaguars sent Buffalo their fifth round pick in the 2018 Draft and hoped Daerus would shore up their run defense, which he did: The team went from ranking last in the NFL to 21st by season’s end after Dareus’ acquisition (9 games).

We will update this story as more details emerge.

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