On Thursday, Jaguars edge rushing number one pick Josh Allen was unable to participate in the team’s OTAs, however, he still had a great day. That’s because, Allen became the latest first-round pick from the 2019 draft to ink his contract for four years with a team option fifth season.
The Jags made the move official on their team website mid-afternoon:
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) May 23, 2019
Allen led the Southeastern Conference in sacks a year ago with 17 and was regarded as one of the top pass-rushing threats in a loaded draft class. He fell to Jacksonville at number seven, in large part because, the Oakland Raiders took Clemson defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell and in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose not to take a pass rusher, and instead drafted LSU linebacker Devin White.
In addition to the sacks, Allen had numerous other accolades with Kentucky. He won the Bednarik Award and the Nagurski Trophy for being one of the top defenders in college football.
He was a First-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-SEC selection led the Wildcats with 88 tackles in 13 games, tied for sixth nationally with 21.5 tackles for loss and ranked second in the FBS in both sacks and forced fumbles.
As we wrote last week, the top of the draft, picks 2-7, after number one overall pick Kyler Murray remain unsigned until Allen landed his deal. He is expected to receive close to $20 million overall in his contract including an estimated $12 million guaranteed.
Jaguars coach Doug Marrone describde Allen being held out of Thursday’s OTA workout as “no concern” with what was described as a deep bone bruise in his right leg. As of Allen’s signing, there were still 15 first-round picks, including White from the Buccaneers, that remained unsigned.
Allen is expected to compliment both Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell, as outside pass rushers in the Jags defense. He is expected to see significant playing time right away, as Jacksonville dealt away former #1 pick DE, Dante Fowler, to the Rams last October.
Jags WR Marqise Lee returns to practice
After losing veteran Alfred Blue in the first half of the 24–10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury, the Jaguars are looking for offensive depth. In some fortunate news, WR Marqise Lee is off of the PUP list and has begun practicing today, roughly one year after suffering from knee damage that sidelined him for the entire 2018 season.
Head coach Doug Marrone made the announcement before practice on Saturday.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 17, 2019
First Coast news reporter Ben Murphy got a video of Lee at practice receiving a pass from QB Nick Foles.
— Ben Murphy (@BenMurphyTV) August 17, 2019
Last year, Lee was injured in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Falcons. He was hit by reserve defensive back Damontae Kazee on this play after a reception.
— Kevin Boilard (@247KevinBoilard) August 25, 2018
Lee suffered a torn ACL and went on injured reserve missing the entire season.
Lee became more prominent in Jacksonville’s pass offense in 2017 with 56 catches for 702 yards and three TDs. The Jags are surely going to rely on him this season which could mean he’ll see the field a bit in their third preseason game to get him readjusted to competitive game play.
However, they might not want to risk another potential injury before the season begins. We could see it going either way. We do know that he’ll be a great weapon for Nick Foles to utilize this season.
The return of Lee is coming off the heels of some other good news for the Jags announced earlier this week. Starting left tackle Cam Robinson was also removed from the PUP list on Monday after suffering a torn ACL in Week 2 last season. He has since made enough progress participate in some individual drills and should be ready, along with Lee, for their season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.
In other injury-related news, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Leonard Fournette, backed up by Thomas Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.
Jaguars searching for RB depth after second preseason game
With preseason game number two in the books, it’s apparent the Jaguars have real issues with running back depth due to injury. This after veteran Alfred Blue left the first half of the 24 – 10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury and did not return.
Blue carried the ball four times for just five yards has Jacksonville offense once again sputtered behind a makeshift offensive line. Coach Doug Marrone was so concerned about that line situation and their ability to protect/block that starting quarterback Nick Foles and running back Leonard Fournette never saw the field for a single play during Thursday night.
That means that veteran at Thomas Rawls (above Thursday) was called upon to carry the ball a little more, and he did so, seven times for 19 yards including a long run of 11 playing in the first half.
Rawls is a 5th year veteran who had some modest success with the Seahawks, including rushing for 830 yards his rookie year in 2015 with a 5.6 yard per carry average. His numbers tapered off in 2016 – 17 with ankle and foot injuries, as he only played in 21 games in those two years. Rawls was later released and picked up by the Bengals, but injured again last season, and never carried the ball in Cincinnati.
Obviously, the Jaguars are wanting to implement Fournette, as the primary ball carrier, but they will need someone else to spell him on a series or two. Also, Fournette has had durability questions, as he missed parts or all of eight games last year with a hamstring injury.
The Jags were also hoping to bring along Temple rookie running back Ryquell Armstead, but after he carried eight times for 22 yards last week, he suffered a concussion in the preseason opening loss to the Ravens. Armstead hasn’t practiced since, and is still being evaluated with no further update Thursday.
Speaking of updates, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Fournette, backed up by Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.