JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars open training camp on Thursday at the practice fields adjacent to EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. Here’s a 53-man-roster projection:
There’s a lot of pressure on Bortles to cut down on turnovers (NFL-high 63 since he joined the league in 2014). If he fails to do that and the Jaguars decide to make a change midseason, it probably means he’s not going to be around in 2018. The fifth-year option is guaranteed for injury only.
The Jaguars selected Fournette fourth overall. It’s the third year in a row the Jaguars have added someone they believe will be their feature back (Yeldon in the second round in 2015, and Ivory as a free agent last year). Yeldon will be the third-down back. The Jaguars' keeping a fullback means one fewer player here.
FULLBACK (1): Tommy Bohanon
Going with the veteran over seventh-round pick Marquez Williams, who is a practice squad candidate if he doesn’t beat out Bohanon.
The top three players all have something to prove this season. Robinson, whose 22 touchdown catches over the past three seasons ranks 10th in the NFL, and Lee are entering contract seasons. Robinson’s per-catch average in 2016 dipped by more than 5 yards from 2017, though some of that blame belongs to Bortles. Lee has had just one completely healthy season. Hurns missed five games because of injury last season. Benn makes the roster because of his work on special teams. Westbrook, a rookie fourth-round pick, missed all of OTAs and minicamp with an injury, so he has a lot of work to do to catch up but can help as a returner.
Lewis, who is entering his 12th season with the Jaguars, will be used heavily as a blocker, and Rivera as the move tight end. Koyack has improved as a blocker. Sterling still needs to get better there.
Though the Jaguars have said Robinson, their second-round pick, will compete with Albert to be the starting left tackle, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him as the starting left guard as a rookie before moving outside in 2018. That allows the Jaguars to keep Linder at center. Wells is the backup swing tackle, while Shatley, Omameh and Bowanko are interior backups. Shatley and Bowanko can work at guard or center.
If the Jaguars can get good production from Fowler, their third-down rush package should be pretty darn good with Campbell and Jackson moving inside. Smoot impressed DL coach Marion Hobby in OTAs and minicamp and should end up backing up Campbell at the big end spot. McCray might not play much on defense but should play a key role on special teams. Jones takes over as the starting nose tackle. There isn’t a true backup nose on this list, but Day and Bennett can fill in there.
No surprise on the top three. Jack is progressing nicely in his move to the middle, but expect to see Posluszny back there at times, as well. Cole and McNary will work mainly on special teams.
Ramsey is coming off surgery to repair a core muscle injury; the Jaguars will ease him back into action in camp, so don’t expect him to work much during the preseason. If he has any setbacks that could linger into the regular season, the Jaguars might opt to keep a fifth cornerback. Colvin is expected to be healthy for the start of camp.
With Church and Gipson missing all of OTAs and minicamp, Thompson and Wilson took nearly all the reps with the first team, and that’s valuable experience. Defensive coordinator Todd Wash said the Jaguars still will play a lot of single-high safety but at times will have the safeties flip with the corners.
No surprises here.