|By Shawn Childs, Tuesday, August 24, 2021|
Jacksonville Jaguars Outlook
After finishing last in the AFC South for three straight seasons under Doug Marrone, the Jaguars bottom out with a 1-15 record in 2020. The offseason house cleaning led to Jacksonville landing a top college head coach – Urban Meyer.
Over 17 seasons coaching four different college teams, Meyer went 187-32 with three BCS National Championship (2006 and 2008 with Florida and 2014 with Ohio State). He won at every stop (Bowling Green 17-6, Utah – 22-2, and Florida – 65-15), highlighted by his seven-year run at Ohio State (83-9).
An off-the-field issue led to Ohio State dismissing Meyer after the 2018 season. The Jaguars only have one postseason appearance and winning record over their past 14 years.
Darrell Bevell takes over as the offensive coordinator after holding the same position for the past 14 seasons for the Vikings, Seahawks, and Lions. His offense helped Seattle win the Super Bowl in 2013. Detroit named him their interim head coach for five games (1-4) in 2020.
Last year the Jacksonville finished 28th in yards gained and 30th in scoring (306 points). Opponents outscored them by 186 points.
The defensive coordinator job landed in the hands of Joe Cullen. His pro career started in 2010 as the defensive line coach for the Jaguars. He held the same position for 11 seasons, with the last five coming with the Ravens.
In 2017 and 2018, Jacksonville had a top-five defense in the league. They plummeted to 26th in yards allowed in 2020, with offenses scoring 496 points (31st).
Despite having the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Jaguars signed a pair of quarterbacks (Mike Glennon and C.J. Beathard) in the offseason. Both players will compete for a backup job this year.
Jacksonville added Marvin Jones for wide receiver depth. His game improved after moving to the Lions in 2016. He has WR2 experience with the talent to make big plays and score touchdowns. WR Keelan Cole left town to play for the Jets, and WR Chris Conley has a new home in Houston.
The top defensive addition was CB Shaquill Griffin. He has three seasons of experience in the NFL after getting drafted in the third round in 2017. Griffin has been up and down in coverage in his career, but the Jaguars saw enough in him to pay $29 million in guaranteed money over three years.
Jacksonville also signed S Rayshawn Jenkins and DI Roy Robertson-Harris. Both players have a chance to be league-average players. Jenkins will help in coverage while Robertson-Harris improves the run defense.
The Jaguars were all about improving their offense with their two selections (QB Trevor Lawrence and RB Travis Etienne) in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Lawrence will have smaller passing windows in the pros and a drop-down in receiving talent (at least early in his career) while seeing more pressure. He played almost exclusively out of the shotgun with an edge in size and speed at wide receiver. His ball fakes and rhythm on his release grade well. Lawrence offers the arm to drive the ball in tight areas, and he will let his receiver make plays on jump balls.
When given a chance to run, Lawrence will extend drives while being a dual-scoring threat at the goal line. His movements in the pocket will help his ability to find an open man downfield.
Etienne played in a high-scoring offense that allowed him to make big plays up the middle or outside. His vision and feel for play development helped him find the needed space to beat weaker defenses for long touchdowns. Etienne offered a drop step in the open field that led to catching some defenders flat-footed, creating the space to finish runs on the outside with touchdowns. Defenders had a tough time bringing him down with arm and half body tackles. When turning upfield, his speed is almost deceiving, letting Etienne blow by tacklers who take poor ankles.
His next step in his development will be proving his worth in pass protection and showing the ability to make the proper reads on blitzes. Last year Etienne had a four-game stretch with a fumble (three lost), but he only had four fumbles over his previous three seasons in college. His speed projects to be close to 4.40 in the forty-yard dash.
In the second round, Jacksonville drafted CB Tyson Campbell and T Walker Little.
Campbell has the tools and foundation skill set to play at a high level in man coverage with a good feel for pass routes over the first 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. His reads are tentative at times, leading to missed steps and lag in his positioning. Campbell has the wheels to make up for mistakes with his speed and quickness. Covering the long field shouldn't be an issue. His next step is getting stronger to help in run support and lock up his receiver in press coverage.
Walker barely played over the past two seasons due to a knee injury in 2019 while opting out last year. His top question mark comes with his ability to power defenders. Walker projects well in run blocking with the range to handle himself well in pass protection at left tackle. To reach an elite level, he needs to win with aggressive play rather than reacting to defenders. With almost two years off, his body and skill set should be much improved.
S Andre Cisco came to the Jaguars via the first pick in the third round. His game revolves around attacking the line of scrimmage in run support, with the feel and vision to slow down ball carriers. His timing and path can lead to some missed tackles. When asked to cover receivers, his confidence doesn't project as high.
Jacksonville shifted back to the defense in the fourth round with DT Jay Tufele and DE Jordan Smith.
Tufele is an undersized banger who wins with power plus the ability to expand his range. His next step is adding anticipation to his tracking of ball carriers. His game should lead to snaps and possibly starts in his rookie season. Tufele shows up for every play.
Smith brings intriguing talents to the pass rush, which will reach a much higher ceiling when he gets stronger. His lack of power and finish through big bodies will keep him on the sidelines early in his career. Smith looks to be a steal if his body and strength catch up to his play skills.
With their final two picks, the Jaguars added TE Luke Farrell and WR Jalen Camp.
Farrell has a blocking slant while having a limited catch area and separation skills. His best value in the passing game will come in late releases.
Camp gives Jacksonville a third-level big man with the size (6'5" and 220 lbs.) to win on fades and jump balls at the goal line. His route running barely has a pulse while lacking the acceleration to win over the short areas of the field. Camp needs to work hard, and some of his shortfalls will improve with coaching.
Jacksonville fell to 29th in rushing yards (1,519) with only nine rushing touchdowns. They averaged 21.1 carries per game with six runs over 20 yards.
The Jaguars worked their way to 19th in passing yards (3,995) with 25 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. They gained 6.4 yards per pass attempt while their offensive line allowed 44 sacks.
LT Cam Robinson
Over his first four years in the NFL, Robinson has yet to make an impact. His run blocking remains a liability. He continues to allow a ton of pressure on the quarterback. Robinson missed most of 2018 with a torn ACL while getting drafted in the second round in 2017.
LG Andrew Norwell
Nowell has been an asset for his whole career in pass protection. His game regressed over the last four seasons in the run game while missing three games in 2020 with an arm injury. The Panthers signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2014. Norwell is closer to a league-average player at this point of his career.
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, but he missed seven games last year due to knee, back, and ankle issues. He's been an edge as well in 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
Cann saw a rebound in his overall play last season. His run blocking trails the league average while regaining a bounce in his step in pass protection. The Jaguars drafted Cann in the third round in 2015.
RT Jawaan Taylor
Jacksonville added Taylor in the second round in the 2019 draft. He 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.
Over his first two seasons, he allowed too many sacks and pressure to the quarterback while falling short of expectation in his run blocking. Taylor has a lot to prove in his third year with the Jaguars.
There is something to be said for chemistry with a team having the same five players on the offensive line. The Jaguars need both of their tackles to step up their games, especially in pass blocking, to become a much better offense. Jacksonville upgraded their quarterback and added another explosive option at running back, which brings the chicken or egg theory with offensive lines.
A losing season (1-15) led to Jacksonville abandoning the run game in the second half in multiple contests. They ran the ball 35.4 percent of the time, with about league average success running the ball in the second half.
QB Trevor Lawrence - Quality Backup
Lawrence had a sensational three-year career at Clemson. He went 34-2, with his two losses coming in the national championship playoffs. Lawrence won the MVP and national championship in his freshman season in 2018.
He finished his college career with 10,098 passing yards with 90 passing touchdowns and 17 interceptions. His completion rate came in at 66.6 percent while improving each year (69.2 in 2020). Over his last two seasons, Lawrence scored 17 rushing touchdowns while gaining 766 yards on 171 carries. His value as a runner peaked in 2019 (103/563/9 – 5.5 yards per rush).
His challenge in the NFL will be moving the deep safety to create enough separation to make plays over the long field. Lawrence had success in college with pre-snap reads, but he'll need to work through more progressions to succeed in the pros.Fantasy Outlook: Lawrence should win the starting job in training camp, giving him 17 starts in his rookie season. The Jaguars have a good foundation at wide receiver with offering enticing pass-catching talent at running back. The tight end position will only be an afterthought in the passing game. His early ADP in 12-teams ranks him as the 15th quarterback off the board. At a minimum, I expect 4,500 combined yards with 30 combined touchdowns.
QB Gardner Minshew - Not Draft Worthy
Over his first two seasons, Minshew went 7-13 as the starting quarterback for Jacksonville. His touchdown to interception ratio (37:11) grades well while averaging 240 passing yards per game. A thumb issue led to him losing his starting job over the second half of 2020.
Fantasy Outlook: A change at head coach puts Minshew on the hot seat to win the backup job for the Jaguars. His experience and path to the NFL give him a chance to surprise if asked to start over the short term.
Other Options: C.J. Beathard, Jake Luton
RB Travis Etienne - Solid/Safe Pick
Over the past three seasons, the Jaguars' running backs gained over 1,949 combined yards or more with a floor of 90 catches. Their backs gained 4.5 yards per rush in 2020, but they found minimal room receiving (6.6 yards per catch).
After dominating in the run game for Clemson in 2018 (204/1,658/24) and 2019 (207/1,614/19) while averaging almost eight yards per carry, Etienne had a more challenging time finding open space at the second level of the defense last year (168/914/14 – 5.4 yards per rush). He compensated for this shortfall by upping his value in the passing game (48/588/2). Over the last two years, he proved to be more than worthy as a pass-catcher (85/1,020/6).
Etienne should hit the ground running in his first season in the NFL. His three-down style will be a home run, and he has plenty of experience with Trevor Lawrence.
Fantasy Outlook: Even with James Robinson having a great rookie season (1,414 combined yards with 10 touchdowns and 49 catches) after signing as an undrafted free agent in 2020, Etienne will move into the number one position at running back for Jacksonville. The Jaguars will give him at least 15 touches per game, leading to 1,150 combined yards with five to seven touchdowns and a run at 50 catches.
UPDATE: Etienne suffered a foot injury in New Orleans and will be sidelined indefinitely. These types of injuries have a long history of reoccuring, so this makes Etienne a very risky proposition for the early part of the season.
The news isn't good, as it appears that Etienne will require surgery and the rehab is thought to be up to 12 weeks. While the rookie could still suit up this season, it makes little sense for Jacksonville's new regime to risk his long-term health. Etienne should be avoided in all buy dynasty formats this summer.
RB James Robinson - Quality Backup
Robinson made the most of his opportunity in his rookie season, leading to a 7th place ranking running back scoring (251.40 fantasy points) in PPR leagues. Even with success, he left some stats on the table after missing the final two games with an ankle injury. Robinson scored over 20.00 fantasy points in four matchups (30.90, 31.70, 26.90, and 22.80) with a floor of 10.00 fantasy points in every game.
From Week 7 to Week 15, he averaged 22.6 touches per game. Robinson gained an impressive 4.5 yards per rush while gaining over 100 combined yards in seven matchups.
Over his final two years in college, Robinson finished with 3,451 combined yards with 31 touchdowns and 37 catches on 606 touches.
Fantasy Outlook: His success in his rookie should warm him up to the new coaching staff, but Robinson should slip to the RB2 role in the Jaguars' offense. He struggled in pass protection, which points to a sharp decline in catches. His ADP (32) in the early draft season in late May ranks him slightly ahead of Travis Etienne, which looks like a mistake. I expect Jacksonville to give him 10 to 12 touches per game, pointing to about 200 chances with 800 combined yards with some value in scores and 30 catches.
UPDATE: Robinson looks like a screaming value in drafts after Etienne's foot injury. The sophomore standout could match or exceed last season's numbers in Urban Meyer's offense. Look for an increase in targets and receptions as Robinson now looks like an excellent RB2 to target in 2021.
RB Carlos Hyde - Bye Week Fill-in
With the loss of first-round rookie Travis Etienne, Carlos Hyde now looks poised to receive a handull of carries in relief of James Robinson. Hyde is two years removed from a 1,000-yard campaign and has averaged a nifty 4.4 yards per carry figure in each of his past two seasons. Hyde isn't much of a pass-catcher but could see his most targets since 2017 and now is on the radar as a decent hand-cuff pick to Robinson. View Hyde as quality depth pick with your final pick or two, particularly for ZERORB drafters.
Other Options: Dare Ogunbowale, Devine Ozigbo, Nathan Cottrell
WR Collin Johnson - Dynasty Only
Johnson has tight end size (6'6") but with a big wide receiver frame (222 lbs.). His hands create his edge when in catch mode, and he fights to win in space vs. his defender. Johnson blocks well with minimal value over the short areas of the field other than in fade routes. Possible seam player out of the slot.
In his rookie season, Johnson caught 18 of his 31 targets for 272 yards and two scores. Five of his catches gained over 20 yards. His only flash came in Week 12 (4/96/1).
Other Options: Phillip Dorsett, Jamal Agnew, Jalen Camp, Terry Godwin
Injury Status: Out - Coach's Decision
WR D.J. Chark - Gamble (high risk)
The Jaguars looked to their wideouts for about 70 percent of their passing yards over the last two seasons with almost the same opportunity (356 and 360 targets) and touchdown production (19 and 18). Their catch rate came in at 63.3 percent in 2020, with fade in their yards per catch (12..0).
After his breakout season (73/1,008/8), Chark struggled to make an impact in seven starts (3/16, 1/26, 4/56, 4/41, 2/41, 2/16, and 4/53) while also missing three contests with chest, ankle, and ribs issues. His best play came in two matchups (8/95/2 and 7/146/1). Chark saw a regression in his catch rate (57.0 – 61.9 in 2019).
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.
Fantasy Outlook: Chark gained over 20 yards on 27 of his 126 catches (21.4 percent) over the last two seasons while scoring 13 times in 28 games. His ADP (79) prices him as a 30th wide receiver drafted in late May. The upgrade at quarterback and new offensive bodes well for Chark to regain momentum this season. With 17 games played, he looks to be on a path for 80-plus catches for 1,100 yards and a chance at double-digit scores.
WR Laviska Shenault - Quality Backup
In his rookie season, Shenault worked as a possession-type receiver (58/600/5 on 79 targets) with some chances on the ground (18/91). His catch rate (73.4) commands more targets. He left Week 9 with a hamstring issue, leading to two missed games. Shenault gained over 50 yards in just three games, with his best output coming in Week 17 (6/68/2).
He played at the highest level in 2018 (1,126 combined yards with 11 touchdowns and 86 catches) in college over nine games while missing time with toe and shoulder injuries that both required surgery. In 2019, his production in the passing game (56/764/4) had a sharp drop off while maintaining some value as a runner (23/161/2), which came on direct snaps.
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.
Fantasy Outlook: Trevor Lawrence should gravitate toward Shenault in 2021. He'll help move the chains, score in close, and do the dirty work after the catch. His next step should be 80-plus catches for 1,000 and help in scoring. Shenault has an early ADP of 103, making him an upside WR4 in PPR leagues.
WR Marvin Jones - Sleeper (undervalued)
Over the last four seasons, Jones scored 32 touchdowns over 54 games while gaining over 20 yards 56 times. His game has developed where he can be trusted to work closer to the line of scrimmage plus test a defense deep. Last year, Jones frustrated fantasy owners over his first five games (14 catches for 146 and one touchdown over 24 targets. An injury to Kenny Golladay led to him playing at a high level over his final eight games (51/670/5 on 74 targets), highlighted by four matchups (8/96/1, 8/116/1, 10/112/1, and 8/180/2). Jones finished as the 18th highest scoring wide receiver (227.80 fantasy points) in PPR leagues.
Fantasy Outlook: Jones will start the year at age 31, coming off a career-high in overall production (76/978/9). The Jaguars should line him up as their WR2, but Laviska Shenault has the talent to emerge as the better option. I'm lowering my expectations to 65 catches for 900 yards and about five scores but definitely need to keep an eye on during the preseason to see if chemistry with Lawrence develops. If it does, there's room for a lot of upside. His ADP (142) ranks 51st at wide receiver in the early draft season.
TE Tim Tebow - Not Draft Worthy
The Jaguars took an inspirational flier on Tebow in the offseason. His last appearance in the NFL came in 2012. Tebow tried to reinvent his career playing baseball in the Mets system from 2016 to 2019. At the very least, he should make plays with the ball in his hands. The pass-catching talent on Jacksonville isn't very high, giving this 34-year-old a faint chance to catch one pass in the league.
TE Tyler Davis - Not Draft Worthy
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. He looks to be more of a project than a winning piece to the puzzle. Over 34 games at Georgia Tech, Davis caught 64 passes for 648 yards and eight touchdowns.
TE Luke Farrell - Not Draft Worthy
Farrell played in 19 games over the past three seasons at Ohio State, which led to 32 catches for 361 yards and four touchdowns. He has no fantasy upside early in his career while expecting to see most of his action as a blocking tight end
TE James O'Shaughnessy - Not Draft Worthy
The tight end position was more active in 2020, leading 68 catches for 637 yards and one touchdown on 108 targets. Their catch rate (63.0) percent fell in line with the quarterback play in Jacksonville.
In his six seasons, O'Shaughnessy set career highs in catches (28) and receiver yards (262), but he failed to score a touchdown. The Jaguars gave him about one-third of their receiving opportunity (38 of 108 targets). O'Shaughnessy has no chance of offering any starting fantasy value in 2021.
PK Josh Lambo - Bye Week Fill-in
Lambo has been exceptional in making field goals over his previous three-plus seasons (76-for-80 – 95.0 percent), but he missed 21 combined games between 2017 and 2020. A hip injury cost him 12 starts last year.
In 2019, Lambo made 33 of his 34 field goal chances, helping him to the sixth-highest scoring year at kicker (8.83 FPPG).
He missed six extra points over 74 attempts over the previous four seasons (138-for-152 in his career). Lambo is more than worthy when asked to kick from 50 yards or more (12-for-13 from 2017 to 2020).Fantasy Outlook: The Jaguars signed Aldrick Rosas in the offseason to compete with Lambo from the kicking job for the Jaguars. Lambo should have the inside track at the starting job if he has no setbacks with his hip issue.
Jacksonville - Low Potential
The Jaguars slipped another notch to 30th in rushing yards allowed (2,452), with opponents scoring 23 touchdowns for the second straight season. They allowed 23 runs of 20 yards or more, and four rushes hit the 40-yard mark. Ball carriers gained 4.7 yards per carry while averaging 32.3 attempts due to game score.
Jacksonville lost their swagger to their pass defense over the past two seasons, which led to a fade to 27th in passing yards (4,231). They allowed 34 passing touchdowns while intercepting 12 passes. The Jaguars ranked 31st in sacks (18), with quarterbacks gaining 8.1 yards per pass attempt.
With multiple first-round players on the Jaguars' defense, they should naturally improve over time. The pass rush was a significant problem last year. The health and growth of Josh Allen and K'Lavon Chaisson should go a long way in improving the pressure on the quarterback. I only see baby steps coming against the run. Jacksonville will have a bottom-tier defense again this season.
DE Roy Robertson-Harris
Over four seasons with the Bears, Robertson-Harris only had 75 combined tackles and 7.5 sacks. His best help will come in run support while heading to the sidelines on most passing downs.
DE Josh Allen
In his rookie season in 2019 (7th overall selection), Allen upgraded the Jaguars' pass rush (10.5 sacks) while recording 44 tackles. His run defense fell short of expectations. Injuries last season led to only eight games played with a sharp decline in his production (13 tackles and 2.5 sacks). Allen is a speed/power player than will improve with more experience.
DT Taven Bryan
Jacksonville drafted Bryan in the first round in 2018. Over his first three years in the league, his run defense is his best trait while losing momentum in this area in 2020. His sluggish start to the year led to Bryan coming off the bench in most of his final nine games. His pass-rushing barely had a pulse last year (a half of a sack – 3.5 sacks over 48 matchups). He projects as a rotational player unless the new coaching staff can unlock his expected talent coming into the league.
DT Malcom Brown
Brown shined in 2016 and 2017 for the Patriots against the run. After two down seasons, he played better for New Orleans in 2020. Brown missed three games with a calf issue while also seeing his snap diminish. His value in the pass rush has never been high.
LB Myles Jack
Jack set career-highs in tackles (118) for the second time in three seasons while also adding one sack, one interception, and five defended passes. When on top of his game, he adds value in run support with minimal pressure on the quarterback.
LB Joe Schobert
Over the last three seasons with the Browns, Schobert impact success in tackles (144, 103, and 133) which he repeated in 2020 with Jacksonville (141 tackles). His value in coverage regressed despite picking up three interceptions. Schobert chipped in with 2.5 sacks last year, which fell in line with his career path. Overall, his stats tell a better story than his actual impact value on the field.
LB K'Lavon Chaisson
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 get better. He does have a history of injuries.
In his rookie season, Chaisson saw the field every game (three starts), but he made only 19 tackles with one sack. Jacksonville had him on the field for about half of their plays in 2020. He failed to make an impact in any area of the game.
CB CJ Henderson
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. Jacksonville drafted him with 9th overall selection in 2020.
Last year he missed eight games with a shoulder injury and a groin issue. Henderson had 36 tackles with one interception and six defended passes, but receivers beat him for four scores. His game should improve in his second year.
CB Shaquill Griffin
Over his four seasons in Seattle, Griffin averaged 62 tackles and 12 defended passes while picking up a combined six interceptions. He will help in run support, but Griffin needs to improve his play in touchdowns allowed.
S Jarrod Wilson
After a minimal career in the NFL over his first four years in the league, Wilson picked 148 tackles over the last two seasons with starting snaps. He added three interceptions and seven defended passes over this span. Wilson doesn't have the foundation skill set to be a difference-maker in run support.
S Rayshawn Jenkins
In 2020 with the Chargers, Jenkins set a career-best in tackles (84) while chipping in with one sack, two interceptions, and four defended passes. He does have risk against the run due to some missed tackles. Jenkins tends to keep receivers in front of him, leading to short yards per catch.