A season that started with Super Bowl aspirations floundered for the Jaguars. They will look to the 2019 NFL Draft to reload for another run at the title.
The 2017 season ended with an AFC Championship loss for the Jacksonville Jaguars to the New England Patriots. There were high hopes for the 2018 season, and rightfully so. The roster remained relatively in tact. Their rookies, who contributed to a large chunk of 2017’s success, were another year in the league. Jacksonville even had what most considered a successful draft in 2018.
Last season started well with back-to-back wins, the second of which came against those same Patriots that ended their previous season. Their schedule got tough after Week 5 and the team went on a seven game losing streak. Their season, after a 3-1 start finished 2-10.
Fingers were pointed towards quarterback Blake Bortles who was benched for Cody Kessler. Bortles would eventually return but only because Kessler did not do anything to excite the coaching staff. The defense that dominated 2017 regressed to a middle of the pack unit. Offensively, aside from Bortles, was disappointing, starting with running back Leonard Fournette.
There will be big time changes for next season. The team is facing decisions with looming free agents T.J. Yeldon, Donte Moncrief, A.J. Cann, and Patrick Omemah. Moncrief and Cann are the most likely to return, if the team can bring them back on friendly deals.
Sneakily the Jaguars may have tough decisions on players that could become cap casualties. Their insanely deep and talented defensive line could stand to lose a player or two. Both Malik Jackson and Marcell Dareus are names to keep an eye on that could be let go. Jacksonville drafted Taven Bryan in last year’s first round and he could eventually replace one of those two.
Blake Bortles is all gone already, despite signing an extension last offseason. Other players that Jacksonville could let go are safety Tashaun Gipson, running back Carlos Hyde, and offensive linemen Brandon Linder and Jeremy Parnell. Hyde and Linder would be the most likely to avoid that given their talent level and the fact that Jacksonville traded for Hyde less than six months ago.
Jacksonville could look to the NFL draft to fill their massive hole at quarterback. However, the most likely scenario remains that they trade for a veteran as a quick fix. That would not close the door on them drafting a quarterback early though.
Here is how the Jaguars can use the 2019 NFL Draft to push their roster back to the top of the NFL. This mock draft was done using Fanspeak’s On the Clock tool.