JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Got questions about the Jacksonville Jaguars? I’ll try to answer a representative selection of them every week. Submit your questions via Twitter to @ESPNdirocco.
This will be the last mailbag until July 18.
On Sunday I’ll answer the Question of the Week.
Similar to last season. He'll likely be the Jaguars' No. 3 receiver behind Allen Robinson
and Marqise Lee
, though if Lee continues to have injury issues Hurns will be the No. 2. He has been very consistent in the offseason and drew raves from receivers coach Jerry Sullivan for that and for always being a player upon which they can depend. I don't know that he leads the team in receiving yards and receiving TDs like he did as a rookie because of the addition of tight end Julius Thomas
and the development of Robinson, but I do anticipate him being around 50 catches again.
That's a good question and it's one the Jaguars are likely also asking themselves. It's hard to get a good read on offensive linemen during OTAs and minicamp because it's not full contact and the players aren't in full pads, so I'll take Luke Joeckel
out of the equation until we see him in training camp. Ace Sanders
was the most impressive this spring of the remaining three. He was the most consistent he has been in his career, ran crisp routes, and caught everything. Coach Gus Bradley praised him multiple times. Dwayne Gratz
was better late in OTAs and minicamp, and in speaking with him I get the feeling he understands why he was benched last season and that he may be at a crossroads with the Jaguars. Johnathan Cyprien
also is in a similar situation. Since Sanders presented the most evidence this spring, I'll go with him right now.
Nobody knows about the first yet, but it's a definite for the other two. He's overpaid - $24.5 million over four years -- but that's just a byproduct of free agency. Teams generally overpay for players they sign. The Jaguars are optimistic that House will finally become a consistent starter even though he wasn't able to do so in four seasons in Green Bay. He had 20 pass breakups and just two interceptions in 40 games with the Packers. He started only 14 games and never more than five in a single season.
I can see Jones getting more reps in 2015 because the Jaguars want to be careful with defensive tackle Roy Miller
. He's coming off surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee and the Jaguars will monitor his reps throughout the season. Jones has steadily improved in his two seasons and defensive line coach Todd Wash said he liked what he saw from the third-year player from Georgia during OTAs.
I don't know that I would call Allen Robinson a possession receiver. Based on what I saw during OTAs and minicamp I think Robinson has a chance to become a dangerous player, especially in the red zone and on 50-50 balls. In fact, the Jaguars are encouraging Blake Bortles
to throw more 50-50 balls and let the 6-foot-3 Robinson use his 40-inch vertical leap. That being said, I think tight end Julius Thomas will be a huge factor in the red zone. He's a mismatch and I see Bortles doing the same thing that Tom Brady
does when he sees a defensive back lined up on Rob Gronkowski
- calling an audible and going right to the tight end. If Thomas ends up with eight touchdown catches, which I think is a good estimate, then I'd bet more than half come in the red zone.
The player who most needs to have that kind of season would be safety Johnathan Cyprien because he hasn't had the kind of impact he was expected to after the Jaguars drafted him in the second round in 2013. The Jaguars' secondary has not made many big plays the past two seasons and that needs to change for the defense to climb out of the bottom third of most defensive rankings. Even if Cyprien doesn't have an All-Pro season, which is exceptionally hard to do and I would call that an unreasonable expectation, he's the most important player because he needs to be better for the defense to be better.
I have always been a Teddy Bridgewater
guy. In fact, I made a trade to get back into the first round and take Bridgewater to go along with Kyle Mack in the 2014 NFL Nation mock draft. He didn't disappoint, either, completing 64.5 percent of his passes for 2,919 yards and 14 TDs with 12 interceptions despite not having Adrian Peterson
to take any pressure off. Derek Carr
was good, too, throwing 21 TDs and only 12 interceptions, while Bortles struggled. So I'm going to stick with Bridgewater as having the best sophomore season in 2015, partly because of Peterson's return. That doesn't mean I'm down on Bortles - he has made progress - but I think he needs another year of seasoning before he can take off.
It's funny to me that you used "players" instead of "player" because the Jaguars have had one player each of the past two seasons that made the Pro Bowl as an alternate, though Sen'Derrick Marks
should have made the team straight up. He's the player I'll pick for 2015 provided he returns from the torn right ACL with no impact on his play.
Impossible to tell for sure, but I know that the Jaguars need to seriously be in contention for a playoff spot in 2016. That's year four of the rebuild and if that doesn't happen then there likely will be some changes. Four years is long enough, especially in a weak division like the AFC South, to get a team into the playoffs.
It will take longer than that. Remember, Bortles is still fixing his mechanics and is learning his second offense in as many seasons. Plus, the offensive line is still suspect. I think he needs another year before he can begin to take off and get himself mentioned in the conversation as one of the league's better young quarterbacks.