Jacksonville Jaguars: Sam Young

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There apparently is a magic number in the NFL: 27.

ESPN Stats & Information studied all the Pro Bowl selections since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 and determined that 27-year-old players made the Pro Bowl rosters more than any other age. The 27-year-olds comprised 11.6 percent of the rosters.

So if 27 is the prime age for NFL players, the Jaguars are in luck. They’ve got 14 players on the roster who will be 27 years old when the Pro Bowl selections are announced, including several of the team’s top players.

Running back Toby Gerhart and defensive tackles Ziggy Hood, Sen'Derrick Marks and Roy Miller have already turned 27. The Jaguars added Gerhart to become their featured back. Marks is coming off a career season, while Miller fought through a shoulder injury throughout 2013 and had offseason surgery to repair the injury. Hood was another free agent signing added to rotate with Marks and provide interior pass rush.

In addition, defensive end Tyson Alualu, tight end Clay Harbor, safety Chris Prosinski and offensive tackle Sam Young also have turned 27 this year. Alualu, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, now backs up free agent signee Red Bryant. Harbor is the team’s top flex tight end, Prosinski is a key special teams contributor and Young is battling for a reserve spot.

Receiver Cecil Shorts and linebacker Geno Hayes are among the players who will turn 27 this season. Shorts, who led the team in receptions last season, is returning from sports hernia surgery. Hayes played much of the 2013 season with a knee injury, had surgery to correct the problem, and remains the starter at weakside linebacker.

Offensive tackle Cameron Bradfield, guard Jacques McClendon and quarterback Ricky Stanzi also will turn 27. McClendon is competing for the starting spot at right guard. Bradfield appears to be set as the top reserve at tackle.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars begin offseason conditioning on Wednesday. There is minimal on-field work allowed and only strength and conditioning coaches are allowed on the field, so there's not much football coaching going on.

But this is the first look at the 2014 Jaguars. They'll look a lot different after next month’s draft, but here’s an early look at the offensive depth chart. The defensive depth chart will appear Tuesday:

Henne
Quarterback

Starter: Chad Henne.
Reserves: Ricky Stanzi, Matt Scott.

The Jaguars are going to draft at least one quarterback, but the job belongs to Henne. GM David Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley have said they don’t want a rookie quarterback to play right away. They want him to take the time to learn the game while not having to worry about winning games each week. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Stanzi the second active quarterback for the first part of the season.

Gerhart
Running back

Starter: Toby Gerhart.
Reserves: Jordan Todman, Denard Robinson, Delone Carter.

Gerhart was signed to replace Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jaguars believe he can be an every-down back. He’s never done it at the NFL level, though he was a beast at Stanford, so there’s an element of uncertainty. The plan is 15-20 touches per game. The player everyone is watching is Robinson, who struggled holding onto the ball last season. This will certainly be a make-or-break offseason for him. Expect the Jaguars to draft a back as well.

Fullback

Starter: Will Ta’ufo’ou.
Reserves: Shaun Chapas, Bradie Ewing.

The Jaguars claimed Ewing in late March. He was a fifth-round pick of Atlanta in 2012 but missed all of his rookie season with a torn ACL. He played in two games last season before being placed on IR with a shoulder injury. The fullback wasn’t really involved in the offense in 2013. That may change if the talent level improves.

Lewis
Tight end

Starter: Marcedes Lewis.
Reserves: Danny Noble, Clay Harbor, Brandon Barden.

Lewis really came on in the last third of the 2013 season and should be a 50-catch guy in 2014. Harbor is a flex tight end and is better used off the line of scrimmage. Noble had the big catch-and-run against Arizona but otherwise was a blocker. This position needs another weapon, but it’s probably not going to be that high of a priority in the draft.

Wide receiver

Starters: Cecil Shorts, Ace Sanders.
Reserves: Mike Brown, Kerry Taylor, Chad Bumphis, Stephen Burton, Tandon Doss, Jeremy Ebert, Lamaar Thomas, Stephen Williams.

This is a position the Jaguars are sure to address in the draft as well. Outside of Shorts, Sanders and Brown, the Jaguars have little experience and not much production. Justin Blackmon is still suspended and the Jaguars aren't counting on anything from him. Doss had more success as a kick returner than receiver in Baltimore and that's likely to continue in Jacksonville. The Jaguars need a big, physical receiver as well as someone who can demand double teams and free up other receivers to make plays. They could find all of that in Sammy Watkins at No. 3.

Offensive line

Starters: LT Luke Joeckel, LG Zane Beadles, C Mike Brewster, RG Will Rackley, RT Austin Pasztor.
Reserves: OT/G Cameron Bradfield, OT Sam Young, C Matt Stankiewitch, G Jacques McClendon, G Stephane Milhim, G Drew Nowak, OT DeMarcus Love.

The question marks are Brewster and Rackley because they’re going to have to hold off challenges from guys already on the roster, as well as any rookies. The Jaguars nearly landed Alex Mack in free agency but when the Cleveland Browns matched the Jaguars’ offer sheet, Brewster inherited the starting job. Caldwell and Bradley publicly said they have confidence in Brewster, a third-year player from Ohio State who suffered a fractured ankle in Week 15, but that was before they signed Mack to an offer sheet. Rackley struggled last season, but he deserves credit for playing much of the season with a knee injury. Expect the Jaguars to draft a center and a guard and bring in several undrafted free agents to compete at those spots. Bradfield started 25 games at right and left tackle but also can play guard, which makes him a valuable reserve.

What the Jaguars can expect in the draft

April, 8, 2014
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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.
Got questions about the Jaguars? I'll try to answer a representative selection of them every Saturday. Submit your questions via Twitter to @ESPNdirocco.

 

RTC: OL rebuild begins

March, 7, 2014
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The Jaguars made three moves on the offensive line this week, cutting Uche Nwaneri and signing Cameron Bradfield and Sam Young. That's just the start of the rebuild, writes the Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran.

When free agency begins next week, the Jaguars will be trying to find a center and two guards to fill the starting spots along the interior of the offensive line. There are plenty of players available, with eight centers and 15 guards under 30 years of age who played at least 100 snaps last season.

The Jaguars may opt to sign two guards and draft a center or give one of several players already on the roster a chance to win the job. Or they may sign a center and one guard and draft at least one interior offensive lineman.

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:

The Jaguars draft quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with the No. 3 pick in Todd McShay's latest mock draft. Blake Bortles and Jadeveon Clowney are the top two picks. (Insider content)

Mel Kiper Jr.'s updated Big Board has only one quarterback in the top 10. (Insider content)

NFL.com media insider Ian Rapoport reported that Michael Vick could land with the Jaguars, Bills or Raiders.

NFL.com media analyst Bucky Brooks writes that the Jaguars are one of five teams that would be a good fit for Khalil Mack.

Jaguars sign three players

March, 6, 2014
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jaguars signed a trio of impending free agents on Thursday, including restricted free agent offensive tackle Cameron Bradfield, who started 11 games at left tackle last season.

The team also signed reserve offensive tackle Sam Young and reserve tight end Clay Harbor, both unrestricted free agents. Terms of the three contracts were not announced.

The 6-foot-4, 308-pound Bradfield played in a career-high 15 games last season and became the starter after Luke Joeckel suffered a fractured ankle in Week 5 against St. Louis. He’s an experienced player (38 games, 25 starts) who can play both right and left tackle so he provides good depth.

The 6-foot-8, 316-pound Young played in four games for Buffalo before being released on Oct. 7. The Jaguars claimed him the next day and he played in 11 games, mainly on special teams.

Harbor caught 24 passes for 292 yards for two touchdowns and has 71 catches for 713 yards and six touchdowns in four seasons in the NFL (first three with Philadelphia). The Jaguars need at least another pass-catcher at the position and he can also line up as a receiver in a pinch.

Jaguars free agents: Sam Young

February, 28, 2014
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Sam Young

Position: Offensive tackle

Type: Unrestricted

Summary: He played in four games for Buffalo before being released Oct. 7. The Jaguars claimed him the next day and he played in 11 games, mainly on special teams.

Why keep him: He's huge (6-foot-8, 316 pounds) and strong and reasonably athletic and can also be used on special teams.

Why let him go: He has already played four years and is unlikely to develop much further. The Jaguars should find someone with more upside.

Best guess: He's allowed to walk after his contract expires as the Jaguars try to upgrade the offensive line.

Free-agency series: Offensive line

February, 28, 2014
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Here is the fifth of a 10-part series breaking down the Jacksonville Jaguars' free-agency needs, position by position:

Offensive line

Who is on the roster: OT Cameron Bradfield, G/C Mike Brewster, OT Luke Joeckel, C Patrick Lewis, OT DeMarcus Love, G Jacques McClendon, G Stephane Milhim, G Drew Nowak, G Uche Nwaneri, OT Austin Pasztor, G Will Rackley, and OT Sam Young.

Joeckel
Analysis: Injuries hurt the unit early in the season and really impacted it late. The group struggled in the transition to a zone-blocking scheme early in the season as well, which is why the Jaguars finished the first eight games last in the NFL in rushing. Joeckel, whom the Jaguars took with the No. 2 overall pick, spent the first four weeks of the season at right tackle before moving to his natural spot at left tackle following the trade of Eugene Monroe. He played less than a quarter against St. Louis before suffering a fractured ankle, but he was handling Robert Quinn (who finished with 19.0 sacks) pretty well before he got hurt. His injury forced Bradfield and Pasztor into the lineup, and Pasztor played surprisingly well. The team is encouraged by his potential. The biggest issue is the interior of the line. Brad Meester retired, so the Jaguars need a center. Nwaneri was solid at right guard, but left guard was an issue because Rackley played hurt all season and the Jaguars could never generate much push in the middle of the line.

NFL free agents of interest: C Alex Mack, C Ryan Wendell, C Brian De La Puenta, G Jon Asamoah, G Geoff Schwartz, and G Rich Ohrnberger.

Need meter: 9. After quarterback and leo, the interior of the offensive line is the Jaguars’ biggest need. GM David Caldwell has said the team would like to address that in free agency, and it would be a surprise if the Jaguars didn’t sign at least two starters, including a center, within the first few weeks of free agency. It’s unlikely the Jaguars would target the big names that are available, mainly because of cost, but if those players linger on the market and the price drops, the Jaguars would get involved. Even though Joeckel is talented and seemed to thrive in the very limited time he spent at left tackle, there are still questions about him, so the Jaguars might opt to add some experienced depth at tackle. Competition for roster spots on the line will be among the more interesting training camp battles.

Five things to watch: Jaguars-Colts

December, 28, 2013
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Here are five things to watch in Sunday’s Jacksonville Jaguars-Indianapolis Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind.:

MoJo’s finale? Could this be the final game in a Jaguars uniform for running back Maurice Jones-Drew? His contract expires next week and there’s no certainty that he’s going to re-sign with the Jaguars. He’s likely going to test the free-agency market but has said he wants to be back in Jacksonville. However, he also said he has a number in mind regarding salary and contract length, which may not be in tune with what the Jaguars are willing to offer. Jones-Drew could leave an impressive final impression, though, because he has averaged 100.9 yards per game against the Colts in his career.

And Chad Henne, too? Henne also will be an unrestricted free agent next week and he’s a player the Jaguars will likely want to re-sign. The question will be whether Henne wants to go somewhere else to compete for a starting job or whether he’d be willing to return to Jacksonville to be a mentor to whichever young quarterback the team drafts in May. Henne has played his best football over the past month, throwing eight touchdown passes in the four games, and has shown he’s capable of running the offense and not putting the team in bad situations. He’d be a valuable player to have around in 2014, especially if the young quarterback isn’t ready to start at the beginning of the season.

Stopping the run: Injuries along the defensive line have really hurt the Jaguars against the run the past two weeks. Buffalo and Tennessee rushed for 198 and 182 yards, respectively, in victories in Jacksonville. The Jaguars have had to rely on inexperienced players like Abry Jones and Jordan Miller and this week added two defensive tackles that will see time against the Colts: Kevin Love, who was with the team in training camp until the final cuts, and Drake Nevis. The Colts are averaging 110.9 yards per game rushing.

Tight end trouble: Tight ends have given the Jaguars trouble all season and Indy’s Coby Fleener caught five passes for 77 yards and a touchdown in the previous meeting, which the Colts won 37-3. That was rookie safety Johnathan Cyprien’s fourth game and he’s a much better player now. He has been bothered by a thigh injury and has practiced on a limited basis but is expected to play. This will be a good gauge on how much he – as well as fellow rookie safety Josh Evans and second-year safety Winston Guy – has improved.

Handling Mathis: Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis is second in the NFL with 17.5 sacks (St. Louis’ Robert Quinn has 18.0). He’s not a good matchup under normal circumstances but the Jaguars’ situation at offensive tackle is uncertain. Starting left tackle Cameron Bradfield did not practice until Friday because of a high ankle sprain and is questionable for Sunday. If he can’t go, the Jaguars will move right tackle Austin Pasztor to left tackle and start Sam Young, who has played mainly on special teams this season, at right tackle. Expect the Colts to target Young all afternoon if he’s in the game.

Handicapping Jaguars free agents

December, 26, 2013
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks might be putting on his Jacksonville Jaguars jersey for the final time on Sunday.

He’s not the only one.

Numerous players could be playing their final game with the Jaguars on Sunday in Indianapolis. Some will be unrestricted free agents, others restricted free agents, and still others have at least one more year remaining on their contract but, might be cut because of salary issues.

Marks
Some might be back, either signed to new deals or agreeing to restructure their current contracts. Marks could be one of those players. He signed a one-year deal for $1.5 million with a $920,000 signing bonus in April, and will become an unrestricted free agent when the season ends.

The Jaguars certainly got a bargain, because Marks set career highs in sacks (four), passes defensed (eight), forced fumbles (two) and fumble recoveries (three) in 2013. He had three sacks, eight passes defensed, three forced fumbles and no fumble recoveries in his first four seasons with Tennessee.

Strangely, Marks isn’t happy with what he’s done this season.

"On paper it’s shown that [he’s had a career year] but me, personally, no," he said. "You’re always hard on yourself. You’re never comfortable with where you’re at."

The sides have already had some tentative talks about Marks signing a longer deal, but Marks said he’s going to wait until after Sunday to worry about whether he’ll return to Jacksonville or not.

"I haven’t even thought about it, and if I do and start screwing up, it won’t help me," Marks said.

Below is a breakdown of the players that will be free agents at the end of the season. On Friday I’ll break down the list of notable players under contract for 2014 and beyond who might not be back.

UNRESTRICED FREE AGENTS

Henne
QB Chad Henne

Why he might be back: The Jaguars will need an older quarterback to help mentor whichever young player(s) the Jaguars draft, and possibly start games early in the season. He’s familiar with the system and has played well the second half of the season.

Why he might not: Henne might want to sign with a team where he can compete for the starting job.

My guess: He’s back.

Jones-Drew
RB Maurice Jones-Drew

Why he might be back: There might not be much of a market for a 29-year-old running back who has battled numerous injuries the past two seasons. The best offer he gets might be from Jaguars GM David Caldwell.

Why he might not: All it takes is one team to be interested. Jones-Drew also said he has a number in mind regarding salary. The Jaguars might offer him a deal loaded with performance incentives, and he might find that unreasonable.

My guess: I wasn’t so sure early in the season, but now I’m leaning toward him being back.

TE Clay Harbor

Why he might be back: He won’t cost much money, he’s familiar with the system, and he has shown some potential as a flex tight end.

Why he might not: His blocking has improved, but it still needs work.

My guess: I don’t see him being back.

OT Sam Young

Why he might be back: He certainly won’t cost a lot of money. He also seems to be pretty athletic for a 6-foot-8, 316-pounder, so his potential is intriguing.

Why he might not: He will be in his fifth year next season, so maybe he has hit his ceiling. The Jaguars also like Austin Pasztor and Cameron Bradfield.

My guess: He won’t be back.

DT Sen'Derrick Marks

Why he might be back: He has been the team’s best defensive lineman and has had a career year. At one point the sides were having some tentative talks, so it appears the Jaguars do want him to return. He’ll be 27 in February, so he’s still young enough to be a core building block on defense.

Why he might not: His season will certainly draw interest from other teams, and he might get an offer that’s larger than the Jaguars would like to pay.

My guess: He is clearly one of the leaders on defense, and I get the feeling he wants to stay in Jacksonville.

DT Brandon Deaderick

Why he might be back: He’s another young (he’ll be 27 in August) defensive lineman who could provide decent depth at a reasonable price.

Why he might not: The Jaguars are expected to revamp the defensive line in the offseason via free agency and the draft, so he might find himself in a numbers crunch.

My guess: I don’t think he returns.

Blackmon
CB Will Blackmon

Why he might be back: He signed as a free agent on Aug. 28 and has been a valuable member of the secondary, starting seven games and subbing as a punt returner early in the season. He’s a good depth guy and a great example for younger players. He’ll be 30 in October, so how many teams will be willing to invest in an older defensive back who has started just nine games in seven years?

Why he might not: Teams certainly will have taken notice of his contributions this season and, as is the case with Jones-Drew, it takes only one. The Jaguars aren’t going to offer a lot of money, either, so Blackmon could opt to go with a team that offers the best salary.

My guess: The Jaguars want to go young, but I think he’s back for one more year because of his leadership.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

TE Allen Reisner

Why he might be back: Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch likes to use multiple tight ends in his offense, and Reisner was the guy they used early in the season. He’s a better blocker than Harbor, but certainly not in the same category as Lewis.

Why he might not: He’s essentially the same player as Harbor, and doesn’t really give the Jaguars anything special.

My guess: He’s not back.

OT Cameron Bradfield

Why he might be back: He was forced into a starting job at left tackle when Luke Joeckel was hurt and has been solid. He has started 24 games in his three seasons, and can play both right and left tackle.

Why he might not: The coaching staff really likes Austin Pasztor at right tackle, and the team could opt to let Bradfield walk if he’s offered a contract from another team that is more than the Jaguars are willing to pay.

My guess: He’s back.

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