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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars have great options at four including trading pick

Jamil King

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Photo by Icon Sportswire

The Jacksonville Jaguars have an intriguing roster. A year removed from very disappointing season they come into this draft with the same potential but new leader. The first draft under new Coach Doug Marrone. We saw him take a QB in his first draft as Bills Head coach in EJ Manuel. This time around things could be different.

With up and down QB Blake Bortles the Jags could attempt to build through him and hope to see his 2015 version. If they can reclaim that then they could have a special team on their hands accompanied by a young and hungry defense. At pick 4 we could see the Jags go in a couple different directions:

 

First the Jags can stay at 4 and address 1 of 2 possible holes on offense running back or tight end. In Bortles defense the Jags rushing attack hasn’t been special ranking 27th in 2015 and 22nd last season. The tandem of  T.J. Yeldon (465 rushing yards) and Chris Ivory (439) didn’t spark as many yards as expected. With pick 4 the Jags can choose from the roll call of prominent running backs: Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffery, and Dalvin Cook. With the ability to add the best back in the class in Fournette, it’s looking like a match made for both sides, and the Jags can give Bortles a much-needed stress reliever and true work horse back.

 

Second, The Jags can address the other need on the offensive end with top tight end prospect O.J. Howard. Howard can do it all block, run, and catch and has the ability to line up on the outside. Howard, Allen Hurns, and Allen Robinson on the field together sure sounds like a problem for AFC South opponents. Julius Thomas last year’s tight end was ranked the 36th best tight end by football outsiders. In 2014 Marrone’s best year in Buffalo, his tight end Scott Chandler, ranked 26h.

Chandler had 497 yards which was 8 more yards than Thomas had in his break out campaign with Denver. The addition of Howard could prompt a spike in the Tight end usage in Jacksonville and lead to the offense getting over the hump and strike for gold in the AFC South.
Finally, everyone’s least favorite: the trade down. While many feel that Bortles may not be the guy, for this scenario, we will say he is, and he will turn back to his 2015 self and lead this team.

So, we will draft around him and trade down.

With the new selection, the Jags can go after an offensive lineman without over drafting and still help Bortles and the offense. With the addition of Branden Albert to go along with Brandon Linder (5th ranked center pro football focus) and LG Patrick Omameh ( No. 19), a good choice will be Forrest Lamp. Lamp, out of Western Kentucky, is regarded as one of the best lineman in this class and can instantly improve the Jags offense. Though not a “sexy” pick this will help stabilize an offense line that ranked as the 22nd best O-Line.

All in all, The Jags have the ability at four or any other pick in this draft to start putting this franchise in the right direction and put their darker yesterdays into brighter tomorrows.

Jamil King is a young draft pick working his way up the depth chart on the F.F.I. roster, who enjoys watching and writing about all of Florida’s football teams.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars “cornerstone” player for 2018?

Florida Football Insiders

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The third installment of our “cornerstone” players series takes us to North Florida. And, as the Jaguars get ready to start up 2018, we wondered which impact player would be the one to build around.

You could make arguments for last year’s top free agent acquisition defensive tackle Calais Campbell, or lock down corner Jalen Ramsey, as being that player. However, it’s a player on the offensive side of the ball that appears to be everything that Jacksonville could have hoped for in a running back. That running back is Leonard Fournette.

Fournette, whom the Jags took fourth overall in the draft, is fantastic physical talent at 6’0 230lbs. with a blend of speed and power. And in his debut season, repeatedly showed why you would want to have your offense centered on his ability pound on a defense.

He made a tremendous impact from the beginning of the Jags breakout 2017 with a 100 yard game in the opening win at Houston, and three more 100 yard games in the first nine.

There was lull in Fournette’s productivity due an ankle injury and he also missed a game in Indianapolis due disciplinary reasons, but eventually, Fournette got back on track. He ran for 109 yards and 3 TDs in Jacksonville’s statement win over Seattle in December that clinched the first playoff spot for Jacksonville in 11 seasons.

Then, in the post season Fournette was just okay against the Bills in the AFC Wildcard game with 57 yards on 21 carries. However the next week in Pittsburgh, Fournette set the tone early and often with two first quarter TDs. He finished with 109 yards and 3 rushing TDs, and Jacksonville stunned the Steelers to advance to the AFC Championship Game.

The Jags sledgehammer back scored another early TD and finished with 76 yards rushing as the Patriots rallied to win 24-20 scoring in the final three minutes to knock the Jaguars out of the Superbowl.

Of course there will be great scrutiny on the play of quarterback Blake Bortles, and rightfully so.

However, much of the Jaguars success offensively, the identity of what they want to do, will be centered around Leonard Fournette.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Why is Jalen Ramsey Twitter feuding with NFL Network analyst?

Florida Football Insiders

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

There is no mistaking that Jaguars defensive back Jalen Ramsey is talented, and in 2017 he was named as an All-Pro by his peers and most recenlty in the player polled “Top 100.” So, that’s a validation that doesn’t need a whole lot else.

Yet, an NFL Network analyst and a former NFL defensive back himself, is questioning part of his game.

And, Jalen Ramsey got annoyed. Like, really annoyed.

It all began when, Bucky Brooks, who hosts a successful podcast and appears regularly on the NFL Network questioned another player, DB Casey Hayward of the Chargers, and whether he was a “transcendent talent” in coverage.

The exchanges with Hayward on Twitter Thursday went on for a bit and then, Ramsey jumped in here:

 

And, when Brooks tweeted about Ramsey and why he was drafted two years ago in the top five by Jacksonville, things cranked up on social media:

Next, Ramsey questioned whether Brooks believes Ramsey is only a product of the Jaguars “defensive system” and not of his ability to shutdown the opposing team’s top wideout, one on one:

Brooks referenced former fellow Noles All American and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders as one of those rare “lock down” corners, and of course, that someone that Ramsey, two years removed from FSU, wants to be compared to with his own game.

Brooks then explained further about his own analysis and teams/GMs/personnel executives thinking:

In the end, Ramsey, who is not bashful about expressing his opinions on or off the field, finally gave some props to Brooks for having an informed opinion:

The bottom line is that analysts get paid to analyze. And the good ones are always soliciting the opinions of others, who are actually coaching and working in the NFL Front office.

And further, if Ramsey keeps “locking down” the likes of the Texans DeAndre Hopkins, and the Colts T.Y. Hilton, who he sees twice a year, then he will continue to get the respect he wants. And, he’ll get the second contract dollars that come with it, too.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL Network will show Jaguars preseason game at Minnesota nationally

Florida Football Insiders

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a tremendous surprise turnaround season that included a division win and two playoff victories, the Jaguars have everyone in North Florida buzzing for 2018. And the NFL Network is interested enough that it has announced it will be showing their second preseason game, at the Vikings, to the nation on Saturday August 18th.

This information was included in the NFL’s announcement that NFL Network will televise a total of 15 preseason games live, nationally:

The Jaguars will practice against the Vikings in Minnesota on Wednesday and Thursday (8/15-16) prior to playing the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Minnesota, who won the NFC North and made the NFC Championship Game last year, signed arguably the top free agent on the market last March. That’s when they inked former Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins to a massive three year fully guaranteed $84 million deal.

Jacksonville will open the preseason the previous week against the NFC South champion Saints at newly renamed TIAA Bank Field in North Florida.

The good news in addition to the practice time with the Vikes, most of the starters on both sides of the ball will see action into the second quarter, if not halftime of the second preseason game.

This will be good work for QB Blake Bortles and his new assortment of targets like WR Donte Moncrief and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who both signed with the Jags in March.

And for the stout Jaguars defense led by DT Calais Campbell, LB Telvin Smith and CB Jalen Ramsey (all of whom made the Pro Bowl last year) will get a good opening half challenge from Cousins, and receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. It will also be curious to see if second year former FSU star running back Dalvin will be fully recovered from his ACL tear. And, we’ll see if the Vikings want to give him some work or rest him completely in August.

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