- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
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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.
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, suffered a severely sprained ankle and is out for the foreseeable future. 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. Thomas has passed Taylor, who has had trouble with drops, for the final spot.
TIGHT ENDS (3)
Jensen flashed potential during OTAs and gets the edge over three other players. He's a big kid (6-6, 270) who is a raw version of Lewis, one of the league's best blocking tight ends. Jensen will need a year or two to develop and likely will be used as an extra blocker more than a pass-catcher. If Harbor's calf injury keeps him out of camp, he could start the season on the PUP list. That would open a spot for Brandon Barden.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)
Some of the battles for starting jobs along the line are going to be intriguing during camp. Joeckel and Beadles are safe, but every other spot is up for grabs. Pasztor, who started 12 games last season, shows no sign of being bothered by his surgically repaired shoulder. McClendon and Linder are battling for the right guard spot, and Brewster is going to have to hold off McClendon to be the starter at center. Bradfield has value because he can play both tackle spots.
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.