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Jacksonville Jaguars

Who will fill in for the Jaguars at each cap-casualty position?

Zach Goodall

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Nov 25, 2018; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Taven Bryan (90) warms up prior to a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

If you slept in today, then you probably missed that the Jacksonville Jaguars released five players in order to create necessary cap space.

This afternoon, the Jaguars released defensive tackle Malik Jackson (clearing $11 million in cap space), free safety Tashaun Gipson ($7.45m), right tackle Jermey Parnell ($6m), running back Carlos Hyde ($4.7m), and long snapper Carson Tinker ($860,000). All in all, the Jaguars were able to shed their way to $30,639,572 in 2019 cap space.

While the Jaguars have successfully manipulated the cap table and can comfortably chase a free agent or two – most likely former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles – the question that remains is who will fill in at each position that received a cap cut?

Honestly, the Jaguars aren’t in bad shape. They didn’t get marginally worse from releasing these players, and clearly have a plan at most of the positions. Let’s break each position down and project who will start in 2019.

Defensive tackle: Taven Bryan

Malik Jackson is arguably the most talented player that the Jaguars released today, but his release saves the team the most money, and Jacksonville already has a plan in place for his replacement.

The Jaguars spent their first round pick in 2018 on former Florida Gators defensive tackle Taven Bryan, who shot up draft boards as a developmental defensive lineman with rare explosion and speed off of the line. Early on, the Jaguars attempted to play Bryan outside at defensive end, but realized he was a better fit at 3-technique, Jackson’s position. Once realizing that, Jackson saw his snaps reduced, Bryan started to play better, and the writing was on the wall.

Bryan still has a ton of room to grow, and he won’t provide the same caliber of play that Jackson did out of the gate. But over time, Bryan will be expected to handle Jackson’s duties and develop into a quality starting defensive tackle.

Free safety: Jarrod Wilson

Tashaun Gipson was a better player than some Jaguars fans want to give him credit for, hauling in six interceptions and 16 defended passes in his three seasons in black and teal. However, over the past two seasons he was never more than the third best defensive back on the roster. That isn’t a slight at Gipson, but Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye were the clear-cut strengths of the secondary.

Considering that, it’s hard to imagine moving on from Gipson will dramatically hurt the Jaguars secondary. Especially with the emergence of strong safety Ronnie Harrison (before he went on injured reserve with a minor bruise near the end of the season) and nickel cornerback D.J. Hayden, there’s enough talent in the secondary to cover for merely an average free safety.

Jarrod Wilson, who signed with Jacksonville as an undrafted free agent, has been a special teams ace and spot-starter/reserve at safety in his three years with the Jaguars. He’s made some nice pass breakups when on the field at safety, and the team rewarded him with a three year, $9 million extension this past January. It’s safe to assume he will be the team’s free safety in 2019 and that Jacksonville will readdress the position in the future after solving their needs on the offensive side of the ball. The only way a free agent signing could make sense would be if the Jaguars don’t spend a ton of money on a free agent quarterback next week, and rather dip into the deep safety market.

Right tackle: Will Richardson

The Jaguars utilized their fourth round pick in 2018 on Will Richardson, a three year starter from North Carolina State. While a fourth round pick isn’t necessarily something to hang your hat on, it isn’t a throwaway pick either. The Jaguars drafted Richardson with a plan.

Jermey Parnell hung around in 2018 as the starter, with Richardson developing behind him. With injury issues popping up around the team and an injury to his own knee in practice, Richardson went on injured reserve before ever playing a snap in his rookie season. However, players on the injured reserve are allowed to be with the team at all times, so while Richardson may not have practice physical reps on IR, he was still being developed mentally.

The Jaguars could go two ways at right tackle this offseason. They could choose to ride with Richardson as the starter, or if they sign Nick Foles in free agency rather than draft a quarterback in the first round, they could utilize their 7th overall pick on Florida Gators right tackle Jawaan Taylor. Until pen meets paper on any Foles deal, though, it’s safe to assume the former will happen.

Backup running back: ???

This is where things get a little harder to predict, but luckily, the Jaguars have a starter at running back in Leonard Fournette, and Hyde was never more than the No. 2/3 running back. His role won’t be difficult to fill.

It’d be surprising to see the Jaguars spend more money at the RB position, after using the fourth overall pick on Fournette two years ago (making him the highest-paid [in guarantees] running back in the NFL at that time), and giving Chris Ivory a five year, $32 million contract the year before that. Rather, they’d be smart to use a Day 3 pick on a chang-of-pace running back in the draft to replace Hyde and T.J. Yeldon. The Jaguars also signed Thomas Rawls to a futures deal, and have David Williams on the roster, who they signed off of the Denver Broncos’ practice squad last year. Both would be solid backups in 2019, but a true receiving and speed back in the draft would be optimal.

Long snapper: Matt Overton

Carson Tinker’s release should be of little surprise. He signed a four year extension with the Jaguars in 2015, but went on IR the past two seasons with multiple knee injuries. At a relatively easy position to replace, Jacksonville simply wanted to get more durable.

In Tinker’s absence, Matt Overton has filled in with no struggle. The Jaguars signed him in 2017 after Tinker’s first injury, and brought him back again under the same circumstances last year. The team rewarded Overton with a contract extension last week, foreshadowing Tinker’s release.

Zach Goodall covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for the Locked On Jaguars podcast and website. Follow him on Twitter @zach_goodall.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars to open seven training camp practices to fans in 2019

Demetrius Harvey

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Jul 26, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver D.J. Chark (17) signs autographs during training camp at the Dream Finder Homes practice facility outside of TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced today they will be opening seven practices during training camp to the public. The first four training camp practices will be open to the public. Practice on Saturday, July 27, is open exclusively to Jags365 Season Ticket Members and is scheduled for 8:45 a.m.

The team’s first practice in full pads will also be open to fans on Sunday, July 28 at 8:45 a.m. All seven of the Jaguars’ Florida Blue open practices are scheduled to take place at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex on the northwest corner of TIAA Bank Field.

2019 JAGUARS OPEN TRAINING CAMP PRACTICES

Thursday, July 25 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Friday, July 26 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Saturday, July 27 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m. Open exclusively to Jags 365 Season Ticket Members
Sunday, July 28 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Tuesday, July 30 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Wednesday, July 31 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Thursday, August 1 8:45 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.

Fans are required to register here for each training camp session and tickets will be given on a first-come, first-serve basis. Gates will open to fans at 8:15 a.m., 30 minutes prior to the start of practice.

Parking is available in Lots M and N, and concessions and merchandise will be available for purchase on-site Limited player autograph availability will occur following each practice.

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53 Man Roster

Jaguars 2019 position group breakdown: Running Backs

Brandon Carroll

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Dec 23, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) runs down the field during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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. 

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Jacksonville Jaguars

REPORT: Jaguars to sign former WVU WR Marcus Simms

Demetrius Harvey

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Oct 13, 2018; Ames, IA, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Marcus Simms (8) runs the football against the Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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.

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