2020 Jacksonville Jaguars Outlook
Doug Marrone returns for his fourth season as head coach. In his career in the NFL, Marrone has a 37-45 record with two playoff wins in three games with the Jacksonville Jaguars. In 2013 and 2014, he went 15-17 for the Bills. Marrone has 15 years of experience in the NFL. His team looks to be fading on both sides of the ball, which invites job loss.
Jay Gruden takes over as the offensive coordinator after struggling to save the Redskins franchise over six seasons (35-49-1 with one playoff appearance). He helped Tampa win a Super Bowl in 2002 as an assistant coach. Gruden worked as the offensive coordinator for the Bengals for three seasons while having 16 years of experience in the NFL.
Last year the Jaguars climbed from 31st in points scored (245) to 26th in 2019 (300). They finished 20th in offensive yards.
Todd Wash returns for his fifth season as the defensive coordinator after spending the previous three years as the Jaguars' defensive line coach and running game coordinator. He has 14 years of NFL experience.
His defense ranked 6th, 2nd, and 5th in yards allowed heading into 2019. The change in personnel on the defensive side of the ball led to a massive regression in yards allowed (24th) and points allowed (397 – 21st). Since 2017, Jacksonville has allowed 129 more points on defense.
The top player signed by the Jaguars in the offseason was LB Joe Schobert. He had risk vs. the run while regressing in the pass rush. Jacksonville signed him to a five-year deal for almost $54 million with $21.5 million in guarantees.
The Jaguars added CB Rashaan Melvin, DE Cassius Marsh, DT Al Woods, and DT Rodney Gunter to their defense. Only Marsh and Woods project to earn regular snaps as rotational players.
Jacksonville didn't re-sign DT Marcell Dareus, LB Jake Ryan, LB Preston Brown, LB Najee Goode, and DT Akeem Spence while S Cody Davis found a new home in New England.
They invested in Tyler Eifert to hopefully add a pulse to their tight end position.
All other moves were minor.
Henderson gives the Jaguars the elite cornerback they lacked last year after trading CB Jalen Ramsey midseason in 2019 to the Rams. He plays with vision and explosiveness with the foundation skill set to excel in coverage. His next step is improving in press coverage while locking into his moving target in free space.
Chaisson looks to be on the verge of unlocking the keys to be an explosive pass rusher. He plays with fire and explosiveness off the snaps with the moves to finish his targets. His next step is adding the power to win in the trenches. Chaisson needs to develop his game vs. the run while having the thought process to improve his game. He does have a history of injuries.
The Jaguars added WR Laviska Shenault in the second round. Shenault has the physical look of a Larry Fitzgerald or DeAndre Hopkins while owning similar hands. He can't match the two elite wide receivers in his route running or resume. His speed (4.58 forty) works for his build while owning an edge in strength. Shenault plays with plenty of heart and fight, but his need for punishing contact does invite injury risk.
His next step is developing his release while working on his timing and motions within the route tree.
With four of their five picks, Jacksonville shifted back to the defensive side of the ball – DT Davon Hamilton, CB Josiah Scott, LB Shaquille Quarterman, and S Daniel Thomas.
Hamilton needs to add patience to his game while also developing his range of pass-rushing moves. His explosiveness grades well, earning him a disrupter feel. Hamilton should hold his own vs. the run as long as he doesn't overcommit on his first move after the snap.
Scott has the talent to be a straight cover option, but his game takes a hit when asked to play the physical side of the ball. Run support will be an issue. Scott should develop into a nickel corner with playmaking ability. His speed and quickness should be his ticket to playing time.
Quarterman has an attacking feel that offers the best value when attacking the line of the scrimmage. His range is limited while needing to develop his vision to help create more space in traffic. The Jaguars should have the best value in early downs.
Thomas will have questionable value in coverage. He projects well vs. the run. Thomas struggles when asked to change direction while being too much of a gamble at times.
In the fourth round, Jacksonville drafted T Ben Bartch. He made the jump from tight end to tackle in his college career. His game is raw while needing to get stronger. Bartch's best asset is his athletic ability and expected upside in pass protection.
With their last pick in the fifth round and two choices in the sixth, the Jaguars tried to improve their offensive depth – WR Collin Johnson, QB Jake Luton, and TE Tyler Davis.
Johnson has TE size (6'6"), but with a big wide receiver frame (222 lbs.). His hands create his edge when he is in catch mode and fights to win in space vs. his defender. Johnson blocks well with minimal over the short areas of the field other than in fade routes. Possible seam player out of the slot.
Luton likes to make pre-snap reads and get the ball out quickly, but this plan takes a step back in value in the NFL as teams are better at disguising their coverage. His next step is his growth in lengthening his progressions to help move the deep safety in what will be tightly contested deep passes. He'll climb the pocket if needed with some success when asked to make rollout type plays.
Davis doesn't have a trait that projects well at the next level. His route running isn't ideal while having the speed to win in the deep passing game—more of a project than a winning piece to the puzzle.
With their 12th pick in this year's draft, Jacksonville went with CB Chris Claybrooks. He's trying to transition from wide receiver to cornerback, but he missed some development time in 2019 with a foot issue. His speed looks elite while being undersized (5'9" and 177 lbs.). His foundation skill set needs plenty of work while needing to get stronger.
Jacksonville finished 17th (1,708 yards) with only three rushing touchdowns. They averaged 24.3 carries per game with ten runs over 20 yards.
The Jaguars worked their way to 17th in passing yards (4,023) with 24 TDs and eight Ints. They gained 6.8 yards per pass attempt while their offensive line allowed 42 sacks and 84 QB hits.
LT Cam Robinson
Over his first three years in the NFL, Robinson has yet to make an impact. His run blocking remains a liability. He needs to clean up his game in pass protection.
Coming into the NFL after getting drafted in the second round in 2017, add value to a power run game with his edge coming when he reaches the second level of the defense. His biggest weakness comes from his movements on certain plays. Robinson needs to fire more at the point of contact in pass sets plus not overcommit in the run game. Walks a fine line between aggressiveness and being passive, leading to his body being out of position at the point of contact. His losing battles result with him on the mat.
LG Andrew Norwell
Nowell has been an asset for his whole career in pass protection. His game regressed over the last three seasons in the run game. The Panthers signed an undrafted free agent in 2014. Norwell should be an asset at his position.
C Brandon Linder
Linder continues to be an anchor in the middle of the Jaguars' offensive line thanks to his plus value in pass protection. He's been an edge as well each year in the league in the run game. The Jaguars selected him in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
RG A.J. Cann
The excitement of Cann left the building after the 2016 season. His game is trending downward in pass protection, which invites job loss. Over the last three years, he struggled to make an impact in the run game.
RT Jawaan Taylor
The next building block came in the second round in the 2019 draft with Taylor. He is the future right tackle who projects as a power run blocker with the foot speed to handle his responsibility in pass protection. His biggest challenge will be his motor and focus while learning to control his weight.
In his rookie season, he allowed too many sacks and pressure to the quarterback while falling short of expectation in his run blocking. Taylor should be much better in his sophomore season in the league.
Offensive Line Outlook
This offensive line has talent at four positions with the key to their growth coming at left tackle. Jacksonville should improve on the ground, and their sack total did make progress in 2019. Overall, I expect the Jaguars to have a top 12 offensive line in 2020.
QB Gardner Minshew, PHI - Deep-league Only
The Jaguars are in a tricky situation with Minshew. He outplayed Nick Foles in 2019, creating a starting opportunity this year. His buzz came over his first three games (73.9 percent completion rate) while surprising off the bench in Week 1 (275/2).
Over his final 11 games, he worked well as a game manager (16 TDs and 5 INTs), but Minshew gained only 6.8 yards per pass attempt with regression in his completion rate (57.6).
In December, he battled a right shoulder injury. His job to lose with a gamer feel. His resume may not be strong enough to keep the starting gig if he struggles early, and the Jaguars don't win games.
I like what he brings to the table. Only a low-end backup fantasy QB even with rookie WR Laviska Shenault expected to add scoring value. I have him projected for 3,902 combined yards with 19 TDs and 12 Ints.
QB Jake Luton, --- - Dynasty Only
Before 2019, Luton didn't have much of a resume between Idaho and Oregon State. He passed for 2,913 yards with 17 TDs and 12 Ints over this span. Last year his game looked much improved, leading to career highs in passing yards (2,714) and touchdowns (28). His best stat was his low number of interceptions (3) over 358 pass attempts.
He ran a play-action type offense that had success running the ball (408/1884/21). Luton threw the ball with velocity while having the extra zip if needed to drive the ball in tight coverage. His mechanics played up with showcasing vision and the ability to get the ball where his receivers could gain extra yards after the catch. Luton trusted his wideouts enough to give them 50/50 chances downfield.
RB Leonard Fournette, TB - Stud (low risk)
Fournette stayed healthy for most of 2019, which led to a career-high in rushing yards (1,152), catches (76), receiving yards (522), and targets(100). He finished seventh in RB scoring (260.4) in PPR leagues despite failure in TDs (3).
Fournette posted two impact games (245 combined yards and two catches and 159 combined yards with TDs and nine catches). On the downside, he rushed for fewer than 75 yards in ten of his 15 games.
Overall, Fournette had 341 touches while falling short in yards gains per catch (6.9). He tied Christian McCaffrey and Nick Chubb for runs over 40 yards (40).
Workhorse back with a grinder feel while owning injury risk. Top-ten opportunity with an RB2 price point in the early draft season. In his initial projections, I have him down for 1,472 combined yards with six TDs and 60 catches. The addition of Chris Thompson does lower the ceiling and opportunity in the passing game for Fournette.
He does have some injury risk (12 missed games over his first three years in the league), which invites some missed playing time. Fournette will be a free agent next year after the Jaguars failed to pick up the fifth-year option on his contract.
RB Ryquell Armstead, JAX - Fantasy Handcuff
Armstead brings a physical presence to the RB position. He is a north/south runner who shows the ability to make quick cuts in tight quarters with the power to finish in the open field. Armstead projects well on pass protection. He needs to add patience to his running style while offering minimal upside in catches. His vision isn't ideal, but his subtle movements give him a chance to work his way to the top backup role for the Jaguars.
Armstead struggled to rush the ball (3.1 yards per carry) in his rookie season while being more productive than expected in the passing game (14/144/2). The top early-down handcuff for RB Leonard Fournette.
RB Chris Thompson, --- - Bye Week Fill-in
Over the last three seasons, Thompson missed 17 games while failing to develop into a playable week-to-week player in PPR leagues. He shined over ten contests (804 combined yards with six TDs and 39 catches) in 2017, which showcased his big-play ability (nine catches over 20 yards). His yards per rush declined in the past four years (6.2, 5.2, 4.6, 4.1, and 3.7). Thompson averaged 3.4 catches for 49 yards and 0.23 TDs over his last 60 games.
Change-of-pace back that will have the most value in a chaser game. Thompson has bye week cover upside while also working a low-value handcuff.
WR D.J. Chark, DET - Solid/Safe Pick
Coming out of college, Chark had a minimal resume (66/1351/6) in the receiving game over three seasons.
In 2019, he proved to be a value on draft day or a quick waiver wire pickup after his fast start to the year over five games (27/485/5 on 37 targets). Chark flashed in Week 1 (4/146/1) while offering two other impact games (8/164/2 and 8/104/2).
Over his final five starts, he only caught 22 passes for 212 yards with no touchdowns. Chark brings to the table scoring and big-play ability, which sets his bar at a WR2 in PPR leagues in 2020. His progression can only soar as high as the Jaguars' passing game improves. His initial projections came to 75 catches for 1,040 yards and six TDs.