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2016 Team Report: Jacksonville Jaguars

Quarterbacks

Starter: Blake Bortles
Backup(s): Chad Henne, Brandon Allen [R]

Starting QB: Blake Bortles took a step forward in 2015 posting some big numbers with 4,428 passing yards, 35 passing touchdowns, 18 Interceptions and 310 rushing yards with two rushing touchdowns. Bortles definitely found Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns throughout the season as the pair of WRs caught 24 of Bortles 35 touchdown passes. The emergence of both Robinson and Hurns surely benefited Bortles stepping up in year two and the pressure will be on once again in 2016 as the Jaguars finally try to get rid of the rebuilding name tag. The Jaguars offense as a whole is very young and with Bortles leading the way over the past two years, connections are being made and the offense should be ready to take it to a whole new level in his third season. If the team's defense is greatly improved by the return of Sen'Derrick Marks and introduction of 2015 first-round pick Dante Fowler Jr., 2016 picks Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack, and free agents DL Malik Jackson and S Tashaun Gipson, the games could be more low-scoring because of fewer catchup situations for the Jaguars.

Backup QB: Chad Henne continues to be a career backup type of quarterback in the league and if Bortles were to miss anytime he would be a decent short term answer as he is familiar with the offense as this is his 4th season on the Jaguars. Henne only appeared in 3 partial games in 2015 as he completed 42 out of 78 passes for 492 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Jaguars also used a 6th round draft pick on Brandon Allen out of Arkansas. Allen will hold down the third string duties in his rookie season and could overtake Henne for the backup role after this season. Allen threw for 30 touchdowns in his Senior season at Arkansas.

Running Backs

Starter: T.J. Yeldon, Chris Ivory
Backup(s): Denard Robinson, Jonas Gray, Corey Grant, Joe Banyard
Fullback(s):

Starting RB: T.J. Yeldon showed some promise in 12 games as a rookie in 2015. He finished the season rushing for 740 yards, 4.1 yards per carry average, a pair of touchdown runs and 36 receptions for 279 receiving yards and another touchdown. He is in line to make a big push offensively entering into his second season. The Jaguars added Chris Ivory in the offseason as well so that will help take the lone back pressure off of Yeldon and the two should work very well together as a one-two RB punch. Yeldon battled some late season injuries missing the teams final 3 games with a sprained MCL. Head Coach Gus Bradley said that Chris Ivory was signed in part to help keep T.J. Yeldon healthy. "It's a long season and to have two or three backs that you can count on, that'd be an asset for our team." The Jaguars signed Chris Ivory to a five-year, $32 million deal so there is a very good chance that he will see a big role on offense and will be the perfect compliment to T.J. Yeldon in the running game. Ivory is coming off his best offensive season to date as he ran for 1,070 yards and 7 touchdowns for the Jets a season ago. Ivory also caught 30 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown which helped him to finish as the 7th best fantasy running back in 2015.

Backup RBs: Behind Yeldon and Ivory the Jaguars will have some decent depth from one or more of Denard Robinson, Jonas Gray, and Joe Banyard. Robinson is very familiar with the Jaguars offense and in 26 games over the past two seasons has rushed for a combined 848 yards and 5 touchdowns with 44 receptions for 288 receiving yards.

Fullback:

Wide Receivers

Starters: Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee
Backups: Bryan Walters, Arrellous Benn, Shaq Evans, Rashad Greene, Jamal Robinson [R], Neal Sterling, Tony Washington, Rashad Lawrence

Starting WRs: Allen Robinson broke out in a big way in 2015 as he put up an enormous statline of 80/1400/14 and became an instant WR superstar. QB Blake Bortles had eyes for Robinson in every phase of the game as he targeted the 2nd-year WR 151 times during the season. Robinson also did the most with his catches as well as he averaged 17.5 yards per catch and had 3 multi touchdown games on the season. Robinson's fellow WR teammate Allen Hurns was just as impressive in his second season as he caught 64 of his 105 targets for 1,031 yards and 10 touchdowns. Hurns also had a knack for making big plays as he averaged 16.1 yards per catch. The duo of Robinson and Hurns is one of the best in the NFL and Jaguars have a right to be excited for this young, explosive offense moving forward. Marqise Lee is another 3rd year WR on the team and although he regressed somewhat in his second season he has all the tools to be a valuable 3rd WR on a team and with the coverage that both Robinson and Hurns will be getting going forward there is some big potential for targets for the third WR on the team.

Backup WRs: Rashad Greene was a rookie last season and managed to catch 19 of his 35 targets for 93 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He only appeared in 9 games on the season but heading into year two with the Jaguars he is probably going to be asked to do more on offense and will likely be the teams 4th or 5th WR. Bryan Walters is another name that impressed last offseason and his hard work paid off as he found playing time and appeared in 11 games for the Jaguars. He ended the season with a 32/368/1 statline but showed he could be a reliable target when called upon. The Jaguars have a very nice group of young wide receivers who will likely push each other to succeed and to gain playing time. Arrellous Benn and Shaq Evans are a couple of other names to look out for to crack the roster but they will have an up field battle competing with all the solid depth in front of them.

Tight Ends

Starters: Julius Thomas
Backups: Marcedes Lewis, Nic Jacobs, Ben Koyack, Braedon Bowman [R]

Julius Thomas was the Jaguars big splash in free agency a year ago and played well in the 12 games for his new team last year. Thomas missed four games on the year as he recovered from hand surgery. He was an excellent red zone threat for the Jaguars, scoring 5 touchdowns in those 12 games while picking up 46 receptions for 455 yards. If Thomas can remain healthy for the entire 2016 season the Jaguars offense will have one more target to keep defenses on their heels. Mercedes Lewis is also a great depth piece on offense as well as he has been the face of the Jaguars team over the past 10 seasons. Lewis is coming off a season where he caught 16 passes for 226 yards and failed to catch a touchdown pass for only the second season in his 10 year career. Both Nic Jacobs and Ben Koyack are added depth pieces at the position and if called upon they would be ready to contribute in the blocking or passing game.

Place Kicker

Jason Myers: Myers was a solid pickup as a UDFA last year, giving the Jaguars a viable option after they traded Josh Scobee to the Steelers. He made 26 of his 30 field goal attempts, but his 32-for-39 conversion rate on extra points was the worst in the league among kickers that played all 16 games. Myers has no competition at the moment, but the Jaguars have been a desert for kicker scoring for a long time, so the kicker inexperience here is made even more unattractive for fantasy.

Kick and Punt Returners

Kick Returners: Corey Grant, Nick Marshall, Denard Robinson

Jacksonville used a rotating cast of kickoff returners in 2015, most of whom return for 2016. Nick Marshall, Corey Grant, and Denard Robinson will vie to earn the role this year, but don't be surprised if all of them receive a share of the action again.

Punt Returners: Rashad Greene, Nick Marshall

In 2015, Rashad Greene was Jacksonville's top punt returner when healthy, and Nick Marshall was when Greene was out. Both men return for 2016, and the dynamic could very well be similar.

Offensive Line

Projected Starters: LT Luke Joeckel, LG Mackenzie Bernadeau, C Brandon Linder, RG A.J. Cann, RT Jermey Parnell
Key Backups: Kelvin Beachum, Jeff Linkenbach, Luke Bowanko

For now, Luke Joeckel is the starting left tackle for the Jaguars. In the offseason, he was denied a 5th year option, which is often a sign that a player is on the trade block. The team signed Kelvin Beachum from Pittsburgh to start at left tackle, and Beachum's contract is not commensurate for a backup player. Still, Beachum is recovering from a knee injury and can use the extra time to strengthen during rehab. Joeckel will be given the first half of season to either lock down the job or audition for the rest of the league. Center Brandon Linder is considered a rising young player at the position. Right tackle Jermey Parnell was the line's most consistent performer last season. But the guard positions are below average. The team signed unexciting journeyman Mackenzie Bernadeau to start at left guard, and hopefully he will be pushed by Tyler Shatley. Right guard A.J. Cann can make plays in run blocking but is below average in pass protection. The team signed Jeff Linkenbach, who has been a useful utility veteran in his career. Overall it's an interesting group but lacking any Pro Bowl or All-Pro type of performers. The best lineup probably has Beachum at left tackle and Joeckel at guard but that might be unsustainable in the long term. Tier Ranking: Low Tier.

Team Defense

The Jaguars defense was a dud in fantasy leagues in 2015 outside of random thrashings of the Bills and Colts, but that could be changing in 2016. 2015 first-round pick DE Dante Fowler will be recovered from his ACL tear, and the first two picks of 2016, DB Jalen Ramsey, and LB Myles Jack, are instant impact players (although Ramsey will miss most of the offseason if not more with a meniscus injury). DL Malik Jackson and DB Tashaun Gipson should add interior pass rush pressure and a solid centerfielder. The Jaguars aren't quite draftable, but they could and should be one of the most improved units in 2016, and there are multiple stretches of mediocre to subpar opponents to take advantage of if this team gets hot.

Defensive Line

Starters: Jared Odrick, Malik Jackson, Sen'Derrick Marks, Dante Fowler
Backups: Tyson Alualu, Roy Miller, Mike Bennett, Bjoern Werner, Ryan Davis, Chris Smith, Sheldon Day [R], Yannick Ngakoue [R], Jonathan Woodard [R]

Starting DL: Dante Fowler will essentially be a rookie in 2016 after missing all of his 2015 season with a torn ACL. Fowler has high expectations in Jacksonville but his pass-rushing skill set could limit his overall production. The Jaguars won't be looking for Fowler to be dominant because of Malik Jackson's presence. Jackson and Fowler will be expected to be consistently disruptive while being quality run defenders also. Jared Odrick should play a huge percentage of snaps while moving around the line but Sen'Derrick Marks is more of a question mark. If Marks is fully healthy, he should play a lot and be very productive but nobody is certain of his health as he continues to work back from a torn ACL he suffered at the end of the 2014 season.

Backup DL: Tyson Alualu should play the same amount of snaps regardless of whether he is in the starting lineup or just a part of the rotation. The more interesting battle on the interior will be between second-year player Michael Bennett and rookie Sheldon Day. Both are talented penetrating tackles who will push Marks for his snaps if he isn't fully healthy. On the outside, Bjoern Werner stands out as the former first-round pick but he only signed a prove-it deal this offseason. Werner will have to beat out Ryan Davis and Yannick Ngakoue for playing time. Davis flashed potential two years ago but struggled to repeat his performances last year while playing a significant role in the team's rotation. Ngakoue is a rookie and was a high third-round pick who should be the favorite to be the first defensive end off the bench. Ngakoue and Davis should be assured of their roster spots so long as they are healthy, leaving Smith, Werner and Woodard to compete for a final spot on the roster.

Linebackers

Starters: Telvin Smith, Paul Posluszny, Myles Jack[R]
Backups: Dan Skuta, Jordan Tripp, Tyrone Holmes[R], Hayes Pullard

Starting LBs: Myles Jack was arguably the most talented prospect in the 2015 draft, but he is a greater unknown than anyone else entering the league this year. Nobody knows whether Jack's knee can hold up or how long it will hold up for. He could be a rookie of the year contender and an integral part of the Jaguars defense, he could have surgery before the season even begins. If fully healthy, Jack should allow the Jaguars to cut Posluszny's snaps significantly. While Posluszny will stay the starter at middle linebacker, Jack and Telvin Smith would be the better fits in nickel defense. Smith and Jack will be racing each other to the football to stockpile tackles.

Backup LBs: If Jack's knee doesn't hold up, Dan Skuta should return to the role that he played in last year. Skuta started eight games and racked up 40 tackles with 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble. Hayes Pullard and Jordan Tripp are unlikely to see the field as much as they did last season because of the arrival of Jack and the presence of Skuta, so they will instead be fighting for their roster spots with arriving rookie Tyrone Holmes. Holmes was a sixth-round pick in 2016.

Defensive Backs

Starters: Jalen Ramsey[R], Davon House, Tashaun Gipson, Jonathan Cyprien
Backups: Aaron Colvin, Dwayne Gratz, James Sample, Prince Amukamara, Josh Evans, Nick Marshall, Earl Wolff

Starting DBs: The Jaguars quickly answered the question about where Jalen Ramsey would play in the NFL. The cornerback/safety will be a cornerback for the Jaguars. With Myles Jack and Telvin Smith available in nickel packages, it's unlikely that Ramsey is moved around the field on third downs. As a safety, Ramsey would have more value than as a cornerback because of his range and ability to diagnose plays as they develop in front of him. He should find the football a lot as a cornerback, racking up tackles and pass deflections, but there are major questions about his hands so don't expect a Marcus Peters type of rookie season. At this point, it's unclear how much Ramsey's torn meniscus will impact his season, but his surgery was performed in late May and they expect him back for training camp. Davon House had an outstanding first season for the Jaguars in 2015. House understands how to play physical, tight coverage and can consistently find the football. He is unlikely to replicate his 23 pass deflections from 2015 again in 2016, but he has the kind of skill set that suggests it's possible. Gipson is an established player at this stage. He has at least 50 tackles in each of the past three seasons despite dealing with injuries and has 13 interceptions over that time too. The only real question mark for the Jaguars secondary is Jonathan Cyprien. Cyprien has been a more valuable fantasy player than football player over the years, which is fine unless his play costs him his starting spot. Even if Cyprien holds onto his starting spot, Jack and the continued development of Telvin Smith should take tackles away from him.

Backup DBs: Prince Amukamara could be the Jaguars best cornerback. He has always been a very talented player but has dealt with durability issues throughout his career. Amukamara is on a prove-it deal in Jacksonville. If he's healthy, he will be the third cornerback on the depth chart at the very least. Dwayne Gratz and Aaron Colvin will compete for the fourth spot, but Nick Marshall remains an interesting prospect as he continues to convert to cornerback after playing quarterback in college. Second-year safety James Sample is a complete unknown at this point. The fourth-round pick from 2015 missed most of his rookie season through injury, but should have a chance to unseat Cyprien as the team's starting strong safety. Sample doesn't need to be a star to get on the field, if he can show consistency and play to his skill set in the box then he could assume a lot of Cyprien's production.

Last modified: 2016-08-29 11:40:02