Monday, August 18, 2014
Jacksonville Jaguars' projected roster
By Michael DiRocco
Examining the Jacksonville Jaguars' roster:
General manager David Caldwell has said he likes to keep three quarterbacks, but that could change if Bortles continues to progress in the preseason. Bortles is already the No. 2 but would the Jaguars go with him as the starter if Henne were to get injured early in the season? Or would Stanzi be a better choice in that scenario? Stephen Morris is a practice squad candidate. If the Jaguars opt to keep only two QBs, expect them to try and sign Stanzi to the practice squad. That would open an additional spot that could be used on an offensive lineman because of injuries.
RUNNING BACKS (5)
If the Jags elect to keep only four backs, Robinson and Johnson likely would battle for the final spot. Though he didn't have great stats in the presesaon opener against Tampa Bay (5 yards on five carries), Todman has had a good camp. Robinson showed off his speed on a 23-yard touchdown run and he can be a valuable option if the Jaguars use him on the edge instead of running him between the tackles. Johnson has to prove he can pass block and doesn't have problems with ball security.
With Ace Sanders taking a leave of absence for personal issues and then facing a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, an additional spot opens up. Tandon Doss, whom the team signed as a free agent in March, is rehabbing a sprained ankle and has begun doing work off to the side during practice. Doss missed most of the organized team activities and minicamp because of a calf injury, allowing Kerry Taylor, Chad Bumphis and Hurns to get valuable reps. Doss will make the final roster if he's healthy, which would leave Thomas the odd man out.
TIGHT ENDS (3)
Harbor has missed several weeks with a calf injury but has begun working on the side. If he's able to return in time for the final cuts he'll be the No. 2 tight end. If he has to start the season on the PUP list then I think that would clear a spot for D.J. Tialavea. Marcel Jensen flashed potential during OTAs but has been all but invisible during training camp and has fallen down the depth chart. I think the Jaguars would like to keep him on the practice squad and try and develop him into a potential contributor.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)
An injury to Pasztor has reshaped this unit for the final two weeks of camp. Pasztor will undergo surgery on Tuesday for a fractured right hand and will be out at least a month, but there are no plans to put him on the PUP list. Bradfield moves into his starting spot at right tackle. Pasztor's injury means there could be an opening for another tackle to stick on the 53-man roster. The team could gain the roster spot by only opting to keep two quarterbacks. The staff really likes Josh Wells, a rookie from James Madison, but a better option might be veteran Sam Young. Wells could end up on the practice squad. Brewster and McClendon are battling for the starting center spot. Linder appears to be the favorite to be the starter at right guard.
DEFENSIVE LINE (10)
This should be the biggest upgraded position on the roster thanks to the additions of Clemons, Bryant and Hood. Despite public perception, Alualu isn't on the bubble for two reasons: He played solidly last season, and there really isn't anyone else on the roster as talented as he is to back up Bryant. The Jags are excited about Smith, who could end up playing more than Davis as the No. 3 LEO (hybrid end/linebacker) by the time the season is over.
J.T. Thomas could stick if the Jaguars decide to keep an extra linebacker instead of five cornerbacks, or if Hayes' surgically repaired knee doesn't respond well. Stupar has had a solid camp and remains Posluszny's top backup. Reynolds did a solid job subbing for Watson (groin) during OTAs and minicamp at the new OTTO position (replaces strongside linebacker).
The Jags will have to decide whether to keep fourth-year player Mike Harris or Jeremy Harris, a seventh-round pick in 2013 who spent his rookie season on injured reserve with a back injury. The 6-2, 185-pound Jeremy Harris is a better fit for what coach Gus Bradley wants in his cornerbacks than the 5-10, 188-pound Mike Harris, who was a member of former GM Gene Smith's final draft class. Blackmon has been working inside as well, which also makes Mike Harris expendable. Fourth-round draft pick Aaron Colvin will begin the season on the PUP list and doesn't count against the roster limit.
Chris Prosinski has seemingly been a bubble player since he was drafted in the fourth round in 2011, but there is too much competition for him to survive this time. I thought Sherrod Martin would have an edge over Young and several other players because of his experience (he started 36 games for Carolina in his first five seasons) but Young has been working with the second unit ahead of Martin. Evans seems to be the name everyone mentions when talking about the first Caldwell draft pick to get cut, but though he might lose his starting job to Guy, he's likely to stick around at least another year.
These guys should have little or no competition to make the roster.