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Jacksonville Jaguars

With draft approaching, what do Jaguars, Bucs and Dolphins still need?

Florida Football Insiders

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With rare exceptions, every NFL team is trying to improve in at least a couple of areas each offseason. And it’s the case for the three teams that we cover in this state- looking to shore up or better certain positions and contributors.

Let’s start with the Jagaurs.

Off a surprise AFC South winning 2017, and then two post season wins that got them to the AFC title game, it could have be easy for Jaguars to stand pat with a lot of the young talent that they have accumulated. However, VP of Football Tom Coughlin, GM Dave Caldwell and Co. have been aggressive in free agency. Going and grabbing Panthers guard Andrew Norwell, Colts WR Donte Moncreif, and Jets TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins showed that the Jags intentions to go after quick fixes at certain positions.

Now, what can they focus in on for the draft coming up?

Picking at the end of the first round, the Jags could go a couple of directions, like linebacker for example. That’s where, even though they have up and coming young stars like Telvin Smith and Myles Jack, veteran Paul Posluszny retired last month.

If they are inclined to look in the first and the second rounds, names like Rashaan Evans of Alabama, Leighton Vander Esch of Boise State or Josey Jewell of Iowa are expected to be there.

The Jags could also be looking for yet another tight end and names like Hayden Hurst of South Carolina, and Jordan Akins of UCF could be in play for them, too.

Next, the Buccaneers have two primary needs.

One, GM Jason Licht kind of addressed in free agency and that’s pass russh, especially on the ends. Signing Vinny Curry from the Eagles and trading for Jason Pierre-Paul from the Giants, means the Bucs can be patient, if they want for the draft. The top name, Bradley Chubb of N.C. State will be gone by their seventh overall spot. So, if they are waiting until the second round, the names who will likely be there will be Sam Hubbard of Ohio State, Andre Key of LSU and Duke Ejiofor of Wake Forest.

However, the bigger need is running back. And unlike defensive line, the Bucs let starter Doug Martin leave and didn’t sign a veteran to come in to compete with youngster Peyton Barber.

Now, just like with Chubb, it’s almost impossible to see a scenario where Penn State’s Saquon Barkley is still available at #7. Someone will draft or trade up to draft him, before that pick. And, there’s not another stud worth a top ten selection.

Will the Bucs entertaining trading down in the first round and still target a running back? Names like Derrius Guice of LSU, Sony Michel of Georgia (above) and others will be there, as the first round goes on. And into the top of the second round, names like Ronald Jones of USC, Rashaad Penny of San Diego State and Michel’s teammate Nick Chubb of Georgia will likely be there, too.

It’s a safe assumption the Bucs will take a back with one of their first two picks. Let’s see, if that holds.

Finally, the Dolphins seemingly have a couple of pressing needs, too.

VP of Football Mike Tannenbaum and GM Chris Grier did sign veteran running back with Frank Gore, but also lost Damien Williams to free agency, too. and that means, only Kenyan Drake remains from the backfield of 2017. So, while picking at #11 you can look at the same names and possible slots, as the Bucs above.

Miami could also go QB, although at #11, the top four names of Darnold, Rosen, Allen and Mayfield may all be gone. Would they trade up to get one of those? Or, wait for names like Lamar Jackson, Mason Rudolph, etc?

Keep an eye on the name Vita Vea, a defensive tackle from Washington.

The Dolphins need a young replacement in the middle for Ndamukong Suh, who left in free agency. Is 11 too soon to take him? Might they trade down and still get him? Could be.

The suspense and drama will build over the next couple of weeks. But, your needs at this point are your needs.

And you can bet in Jacksonville, Tampa and Miami they are going over those needs, constantly.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Titans smother Jaguars in low scoring win

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not a game that will go in “the Time Capsule” for NFL fans to watch decades from now, but Tennessee’s recent Mastery over the Jaguars continued Sunday with an ugly 9 – 6 win.

Both defenses played hard and played well, but in the end, the third of three Ryan Succop field goals with just over six minutes remaining was the difference, as Tennessee handed the Jaguars their first loss of 2018.

The Titans did not start franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota who has still been battling nerve problems from his elbow after a hit in the week one lost Miami. However, Mariota was forced into duty, when backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert suffered a concussion in the first quarter and could not return.

Mariota was not particularly effective finishing just 12 – 18 for 100 yards and did rush for another 51 yards for the game.

Speaking of not effective, the Jaguar offense would also qualify in that category. Playing for the second straight game without Leonard Fournette due to his injured hamstring, Jacksonville mustered only six first downs, 100 yards and 3 points in the first half.

The second half was about ball control and time-consuming drives. And Jacksonville punted twice and had a Josh Lambo field goal, but it was not nearly enough.

Blake Bortles, off of a four-touchdown game against New England last week, was mostly ineffective at sustaining drives, must less getting them in the end zone. He was 21 – 34, but for 155 yards only.

Backup running back TJ Yeldon carried seven times for 44 yards and third string running back Corey Grant 6 times for 11 yards. And, the credit goes to Tennessee’s defense, which smothered Jacksonville for much of the day at TIAA Bank Field by forcing eight punts for the game.

With the road win, the Titans assumes first place in the AFC South on the tiebreaker over the Jaguars, which combined with their season sweep last year means they’ve beaten Jacksonville three straight times.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Gameday- Jaguars host Titans in AFC South showdown

Florida Football Insiders

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Jaguars (2-0) vs. Titans (1-1)

Where: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville

When: Sunday 1 p.m.

Spread: Jaguars by 9 1/2 (Courtesty VegasInsider.com)

The 2-0 Jaguars are ready to play host to AFC South rival Tennessee on Sunday and try to break the Titans 2017 headlock they put around Jacksonville in sweeping them.

Here’s what we are watching in their first match-up of the year Sunday:

Who’s running the ball in Jacksonville?

As we documented, both Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon are banged up and were limited in practice this week. Fournette is unlikely to play or even if he is, he may not be that effective with a hamstring injury suffered two weeks ago.

Yeldon had 51 yards rushing last week against the Patriots in Fournette’s absence, but he has a sprained ankle. Yeldon is also listed as questionable.

If Yeldon cannot go, the third running back is Corey Grant, a four year veteran, who has only started one game in his career. Grant did have six catches and four runs last week in the New England win.

QB Blake Bortles played well without Fournette throwing four TDs in the win. He desperately needs some rushing attack for drive momentum and to set up play action.

Who’s the QB for the Titans?

Marcus Mariota has been battling an injury to the nerve in his elbow after taking a hit in the week one loss to the Dolphins. Mariota did not play in their win last week against Houston and is officially questionable for this game in North Florida.

If he cannot play, veteran backup Blaine Gabbert will fill in as he’s done the last two games. Gabbert was just 13-20 for 117 yards and a TD pass against the Texans, but he didn’t have to have great numbers.

The Titans got a fake punt TD pass, played solid defense and still won.

It’s possible that Mariota may try to play, but Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel will have use of both QBs, too.

Which leads to, will the Jaguars D lock down the Titans?

It’s no secret that the Jags want to win with defense, and this game is no exception. They were really good against the Patriots last week holding Hall of Famer Tom Brady in check for much of the day. Jacksonville is fifth in points allowed and seventh in yards allowed in the NFL.

Plus, Jacksonville still has one of the most feared pass rushes in the league, as Brady found out the hard way last week. In a critical third quarter sequence, Bortles had thrown an interception, but right away, defensive end Dante Fowler got the ball back on a strip sack of Brady.

They will need plays like that to get the win and keep their perfect season in tact.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars may have to go deeper into running back depth chart Sunday

Florida Football Insiders

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

More concern for the Jaguars running back situation at the conclusion of Friday’s practice. This is because not only is Leonard Fournette still questionable to play with his injured hamstring, but now so too is his backup, T.J. Yeldon.

Both players were limited in practice on Friday for Sunday’s game with the Titans. Yeldon has a sprained ankle suffered during Sunday’s win over New England 31-20. He did carry the ball 10 times for 58 yards rushing last week, which was a solid performance.

Coach Doug Marrone was his usual non-forthcoming self post Friday practice, when it came to conversation about the injured backs. However, you can use previous precedence and injury designation to draw some conclusions.

For example, Fournette’s hamstring was bad enough that he never returned to the opening game with the Giants, and even though he and the Jaguars said the right things leading up to last week’s game, he was unable to practice fully, was listed as questionable, and they held him out of the Pats game.

And with the understanding that we are not in the Jacksonville training room and don’t know the full updates, the fact that now Fournette and Yeldon were unable to practice fully at all this week, has to be a concern for the Jaguars running attack.

If neither of those two are active or, let’s say they are active but not effective, the third string running back is fourth year veteran Corey Grant. The former undrafted player from Auburn has been active for 35 games in his career including all 16 a year ago and the first two in this season.

He has only one career start, but Grant against the Patriots last week had six catches for 56 yards and four carries for 13 yards. And he’s clearly who Marrone and offensive coordinator Nate Hackett will turn to to establish the ground game and the play-action for quarterback Blake Bortles.

Again, there’s always the possibility that they were just being precautionary with Yeldon’s ankle this week and that with 48 hours more rest and treatment, he will be ready to start.

But, let’s just say that if you have the former Bama tailback or Fournette, you might need to look at other options for your Fantasy Football lineup this week.

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