Jacksonville Jaguars: Justin Houston

What the Jaguars can expect in the draft

April, 8, 2014
Apr 8
4:00
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars have 11 picks in the 2014 NFL draft, which begins a month from today. It’ll be the second go-around for general manager David Caldwell, who seems to have put together a solid first draft class.

What kind of talent can Caldwell expect to find when he makes his selections (Nos. 3, 39, 70, 105, 114, 144, 150, 159, 179, 205 and 222)? Here’s a look at the player selected at each of those spots the past five years.

Some have turned out pretty good. Some haven’t worked out at all. But it’s fun to look back and see some recognizable and not-so-recognizable names.

Round 1 (No. 3 overall)

2013: DE Dion Jordan (Oregon) by Miami.

2012: RB Trent Richardson (Alabama) by Cleveland.

2011: DT Marcell Dareus (Alabama) by Buffalo.

2010: DT Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma) by Tampa Bay.

2009: DE Tyson Jackson (LSU) by Kansas City.

Round 2 (No. 39 overall)

2013: QB Geno Smith (West Virginia) by the New York Jets.

2012: CB Janoris Jenkins (North Alabama) by St. Louis.

2011: LB Akeem Ayers (UCLA) by Tennessee.

2010: WR Arrelious Benn (Illinois) by Tampa Bay.

2009: OT Eben Britton (Arizona) by Jacksonville.

Round 3 (No. 70 overall)

2013: CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson (Connecticut) by Tennessee.

2012: P Bryan Anger (California) by Jacksonville.

2011: LB Justin Houston (Georgia) by Tennessee.

2010: TE Ed Dickson (Oregon) by Baltimore.

2009: DE Michael Johnson (Georgia Tech) by Cincinnati.

Round 4 (No. 105 overall)

2013: FS Duke Williams (Nevada) by Buffalo.

2012: LB Nigel Bradham (FSU) by Buffalo.

2011: RB Roy Helu (Nebraska) by Washington.

2010: DB Trevard Lindley (Kentucky) by Philadelphia.

2009: DE Henry Melton (Texas) by Chicago.

Round 4 (No. 114 overall)

2013: CB B.W. Webb (William & Mary) by Dallas.

2012: DT Jaye Howard (Florida) by Seattle.

2011: WR Cecil Shorts (Mount Union) by Jacksonville.

2010: TE Dennis Pitta (Brigham Young) by Baltimore.

2009: DB David Bruton (Notre Dame) by Denver.

Round 5 (No. 144 overall)

2013: WR Kenny Stills (Oklahoma) by New Orleans.

2012: OT Zebrie Sanders (FSU) by Buffalo.

2011: DB Shiloh Keo (Idaho) by Houston.

2010: DB Sherrick McManis (Northwestern) by Houston.

2009: WR Jarrett Dillard (Rice) by Jacksonville.

Round 5 (No. 150 overall)

2013: CB Terry Hawthorne (Illinois) by Pittsburgh.

2012: G Rokevious Watkins (South Carolina) by St. Louis.

2011: OT Jason Pinkston (Pittsburgh) by Cleveland.

2010: P Zoltan Mesko (Michigan) by New England.

2009: LB Jasper Brinkley (South Carolina) by Minnesota.

Round 5 (No. 159 overall)

2013: CB Micah Hyde (Iowa) by Green Bay.

2012: RB Chris Rainey (Florida) by Pittsburgh.

2011: TE Lee Smith (Marshall) by New England.

2010: WR Riley Cooper (Florida) by Philadelphia.

2009: OT Fenuki Tupou (Oregon) by Philadelphia.

Round 6 (No. 179 overall)

2013: LB Tourek Williams (FIU) by San Diego.

2012: G Andrew Tiller (Syracuse) by New Orleans.

2011: G Caleb Schlauderaff (Utah) by Green Bay.

2010: OT Sam Young (Notre Dame) by Dallas.

2009: DB Morgan Trent (Michigan) by Cincinnati.

Round 6 (No. 205 overall)

2013: DT Stacy McGee (Oklahoma) by Oakland.

2012: DT Billy Winn (Boise State) by Cleveland.

2011: DE Lazarius Levingston (LSU) by Seattle.

2010: G Ted Larsen (N.C. State) by new England.

2009: DT Ra’Shon Harris (Oregon) by Pittsburgh.

Round 7 (No. 222 overall)

2013: TE Chris Gragg (Arkansas) by Buffalo.

2012: LB Caleb McSurdy (Montana) by Dallas.

2011: DB Anthony Gaitor (FIU) by Tampa Bay.

2010: WR Marc Mariani (Montana) by Tennessee.

2009: P Pat McAfee (West Virginia) by Indianapolis.

Jaguars' poor OL play a surprise

September, 8, 2013
9/08/13
7:20
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - For a while, it looked like the Jacksonville Jaguars were headed for a record amount of offensive ineptitude. They had 49 yards in the first half and just 96 with fewer than three minutes remaining. They finished with 178.

They had only one trip past their own 36-yard line until their final drive.

Quarterback Blaine Gabbert completed just 16-of-35 passes for 121 yards and threw two interceptions -- one of which was returned for a touchdown.

Running back Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 45 yards on 10 carries and had only one run longer than 9 yards.

It was a horrible performance in the season opener and Gabbert will get much of the blame, but a good portion also should fall on the offensive line. That’s a surprise because the starting unit -- which includes 14-year veteran center Brad Meester and No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel -- was supposed to be a solid group. It’s the same group of starters (minus Joeckel) that paved the way for Jones-Drew's NFL-leading 1,606 rushing yards in 2011.

But the group struggled to open holes and gave up six sacks, limiting the offense to just 2.5 yards per play. Granted, the Chiefs do have four Pro Bowlers on defense, including linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, who combined for 19 sacks last season, but Sunday’s performance was unacceptable.

"We’ve just got to better up front," Meester said. "I’m going to say that. We’ve got to do a better job of creating holes and we’ve just got to do a better job of protecting for Blaine and give him enough time back there. When we don’t create holes or give him the time we just aren’t able to get first downs.

"If we’re not able to run the ball, if we’re not able to create some holes, we’re getting ourselves in third-and-long and it gets tough. We’ve just got to do a better job up front. There’s no question about it."

It was a pretty rough debut for Joeckel, who twice got beat around the edge by Houston (three sacks). Head coach Gus Bradley said Joeckel may have gotten caught up in trying to do too much and missed assignments because of that. But Joeckel wasn’t the only one who struggled. Meester had some trouble with defensive tackle Dontari Poe (1.5 sacks) as well. In addition, guard Will Rackley sprained the same knee that he had injured during the Aug. 24 preseason game against Philadelphia.

Gabbert certainly didn’t play well. He threw short when Cecil Shorts was running a fly pattern on his first interception and the second came when he failed to get the ball over Hali, who picked it off and returned it 10 yards for the final touchdown.

He didn’t get much help from his receivers, either, who had five drops. The Chiefs also were able to take Shorts -- the team’s second-leading receiver last season and the No. 1 option now that Justin Blackmon is suspended for the first month -- out of the game until midway through the fourth quarter.

But the surprisingly uneven play up front was the biggest issue for the Jaguars, who had eight three-and-outs out of 15 possessions.

"I just never felt like we could get in a rhythm," Bradley said. "A lot of that credit goes to Kansas City. They have a good defense. We still have to find a way to execute. We had a couple of mishaps, a couple of dropped balls. Run game wasn’t as existent as we thought or hoped that it would be, so we just have to create a rhythm. We never really got in the flow of things."

Jaguars fantasy breakdown: Week 1

September, 6, 2013
9/06/13
5:15
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Looking for some help with your fantasy football lineup? Every Friday I'll give you my opinions on which Jacksonville Jaguars players to play and sit as well as which of the opposing players might be a good play against the Jags. For more fantasy football advice, check out ESPN.com's fantasy football page.

Jaguars

RB Maurice Jones-Drew: He says he’s healthy and ready for whatever workload Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch throws his way. He had just 10 carries during the preseason because the team was trying to ease him back. If he is healthy, he’s capable of a 1,300-yard season. The only question is his TD production, which has fallen off from a high of 15 in 2009. Verdict: Play him as a flex option this week until a clearer picture emerges of his workload.

WR Cecil Shorts: With Justin Blackmon serving a four-game suspension, Shorts is the Jaguars’ top receiver. He’s coming off a year in which he caught 55 passes for 979 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged 17.8 yards per catch -- better than Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, and DeSean Jackson. Verdict: Only play him as your No. 3 WR because of the uncertainty at quarterback.

TE Marcedes Lewis: He has been ruled out with a calf injury.

K Josh Scobee: He’s been a consistent performer and has made at least 22 field goals the past three seasons. However, after making five field goals of 50 or more yards in 2011, he only made one last season. Verdict: Because of the uncertainty of the offense, you’d be better off keeping him on the bench.

Jaguars defense/special teams: The special teams were pretty poor during training camp and the first half of the preseason schedule but an influx of players claimed off waiver claims has helped improved the units. Still, there aren’t any game breakers. The defense is starting two rookies in the secondary and is trying to improve a pass rush that produced NFL-worst 20 sacks last season. Verdict: Bench ‘em.

Kansas City

QB Alex Smith: Smith has been an efficient quarterback over the past three seasons. He has thrown only 20 interceptions in that span, the fewest in the NFL. However, he’s not regularly ripping off 300-yard games and with the Chiefs’ running game, his role will be as more of a game manager, even in Andy Reid’s West Coast offense. Make a few key throws here and there, but most importantly take care of the ball. Verdict: Keep him on your bench.

RB Jamaal Charles: He ran for 1,509 yards last season and there’s no reason to think he’s not going to threaten that number again in 2013. He’s the key to the Chiefs’ offense. He can be a grinder as well as a big-play runner -- he had three TD runs of at least 80 yards last season. Verdict: No question he’s a starter.

WR Dwayne Bowe: Bowe is one of the most talented receivers in the NFL, but he has been hurt by poor quarterback play. Smith is an upgrade from Matt Cassel in terms of efficiency and not turning the ball over, but the problem is that teams can double Bowe because of a lack of complementary playmakers at receiver. However, Bowe has caught 11 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns in three games against the Jaguars. Verdict: Play him as your No. 2/3 receiver.

WR Donnie Avery: He is the starter opposite Bowe. He caught 62 passes for 781 yards last season but is more of a deep threat. Since Reid’s West Coast offense stresses shorter passes, he may not have as many opportunities for big plays. Verdict: Sit him.

TE Anthony Fasano: He is entering his eighth season and coming off a career year in which he caught 41 passes for 332 yards and five touchdowns. The Jaguars struggled to cover tight ends in the preseason, so he could have a big day. Verdict: Play him.

K Ryan Succop: He makes 81.5 percent of his field goals and the Chiefs’ offense should be improved. Verdict: Start him.

Chiefs defense/special teams: Rookie Knile Davis returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in the preseason and he’ll get some work on Sunday. The defense is loaded with playmakers -- linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston and safety Eric Berry -- and the Jaguars are starting a rookie right tackle in Luke Joeckel. Verdict: Start the Chiefs against a Jaguars offense with few experienced pass catchers and either a QB with a fractured right thumb or his back up.

Get to know the Kansas City Chiefs

September, 3, 2013
9/03/13
11:00
AM ET
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jaguars’ 2013 season -- and with it the Gus Bradley/Dave Caldwell era -- finally begins on Sunday when they play host to Kansas City. The Jaguars and Chiefs were two of the worst teams in the NFL last season, but there’s optimism in both cities that 2013 will be better.

In Jacksonville, it’s because of the energy and enthusiasm of Bradley, who spent the past four seasons as the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive coordinator, and the presence of Caldwell, who spent his formative years in the NFL under two of the league’s top executives in Bill Polian and Thomas Dimitroff. In Kansas City, it’s because of the addition of Andy Reid, who led Philadelphia to nine postseason appearances in 14 seasons, and quarterback Alex Smith, who seemed to turn a corner and become a consistent player for San Francisco before being injured and eventually replaced by Colin Kaepernick.

The Chiefs also have a new general manager in John Dorsey, who spent the past 12 seasons as the director of college scouting for the Green Bay Packers.

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. EST and the game will be televised on CBS with a broadcast team of Spero Dedes (play-by-play), Steve Beurlein (color) and Steve Tasker (sideline).

Here’s a look at the Chiefs:

2012 Record: 2-14.

Coach: Andy Reid, first season; 14th season overall (130-93-1).

Offensive coordinator: Doug Pederson.

Defensive coordinator: Bob Sutton.

Series record: Jaguars lead 6-3.

THREE PLAYERS TO KNOW ON OFFENSE

RB Jamal Charles: The Chiefs were fifth in the NFL (and tops in the AFC) in rushing last season and were paced by Charles’ 1,509 yards. His 4,536 career rushing yards is fourth on the Chiefs’ all-time rushing list and he’s 361 yards shy of third place (Christian Okoye, 4,897 yards) and 1,536 yards shy of tying all-time leader Priest Holmes (6,070). The 5-foot-11, 199-pound Charles is a capable between-the-tackles runner, but he’s also a big-play threat, having recorded four touchdown runs of 80 or more yards in his career.

QB Alex Smith: He may not be a dynamic passer, but he has been careful with the football. Since 2010, Smith has thrown the fewest interceptions (20) among quarterbacks who have thrown at least 1,000 passes. That’s four fewer than Tom Brady, five fewer than Aaron Rodgers, and seven fewer than Ben Roethlisberger. One of the Chiefs’ biggest issues last season was turnovers. Kansas City turned the ball over 37 times, including 20 interceptions by Chiefs quarterbacks.

WR Dwayne Bowe: Bowe is one of the league’s most dangerous receivers but was hurt last season by inconsistent quarterback play. He caught 59 passes for 801 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games, which were his lowest numbers since he caught 47 passes for 589 yards in 11 games in 2009. He’ll be a tough player for the Jaguars’ secondary to handle, especially considering the Jaguars will be starting a pair of rookies in cornerback Dwayne Gratz and safety Johnathan Cyprien.

THREE PLAYERS TO KNOW ON DEFENSE

OLB Justin Houston: The third-year player from Georgia had a team-high 10 sacks to go along with 66 tackles last season. He emerged as one of the league’s top young defenders and was voted to the Pro Bowl. The Chiefs want to pressure the quarterback more this season and Houston is a big part of that plan, but he’s also athletic enough to drop into pass coverage. He’ll likely be matched up against Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis.

S Eric Berry: Berry is a Pro Bowler who will sometimes be used as a linebacker in Sutton’s defensive scheme. He bounced back last season with 86 tackles and 10 passes defensed after missing all but one game of the 2011 season with a torn ACL. Expect Berry to be all over the place as the Chiefs try to take advantage of the athleticism and playmaking ability of one of the league’s top young defenders.

OLB Tamba Hali: Nobody has been more reliable and consistent for the Chiefs than Hali, who has missed just one game in eight seasons. Although his sack production has slipped the past two seasons (12.0 in 2011 and 9.0 last season) from 14.5 in 2010, he is still a solid pass rusher off the edge and he was voted to the Pro Bowl last season. He’ll be matched up against Jaguars left tackle Eugene Monroe, who is coming into his own as one of the league’s better tackles.

ETC.

Kansas City has lost six of its last seven season openers. … The Chiefs’ special teams were impressive during the preseason. They blocked two kicks and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. Kicker Ryan Succop made all nine of his field goal attempts. … The Chiefs have 30 new players on the 53-man roster, but among the 23 returning players are six Pro Bowlers from 2012. … Punter Dustin Colquitt put 45 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line last season.

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