It’s pretty easy to assess what the Jaguars need as they go forward: just about everything. The plus in having the second pick in the draft is that no matter who they pick, they’ll need him.
Let’s just start with what players on this team some other organization would want. On offense, MJD, if healthy, is a premier back. Blaine Gabbert is still a project but other teams would take him. Greg Jones and Brad Meester still have a year or two left and Marcedes Lewis, while underperforming, would be a commodity on the open market. Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts began to emerge this year. Eugene Monroe might be the best offensive player the Jaguars have and that’s about it. So they have an immediate need at guard, on both sides (Will Rackley?) right tackle (what ever happened to Eben Britton?) and WR (will Laurent Robinson every play effectively again?)
On defense, Jason Babin should stick around and Jeremy Mincey has a new contract. All of those other guys at DE and DT are serviceable but nobody’s a star. Nobody’s a game changer. At LB, Daryl Smith changes the landscape, giving some help to Posluzny and showing that the team needs another elite LB. Cox and Harris look like guys who can play cornerback. Scobee and Anger can kick and punt. This team I just mentioned got on the field about zero times together all year.
In the off-season the top priority will be pass rush (again). Clint Avril might be available and somebody at linebacker who can cover and also get to the quarterback. On offense they need to shore up the offensive line, find somebody who can catch and stay healthy and most of all get better quarterback play. Chad Henne is a suitable backup, a game manager you can go to in a pinch-hit role. But he’s not going to win games for you. In fact, all of it comes crashing down if your quarterback can’t play. So no matter who the coach is, what kind of front-office changes they make, if your quarterback can play, it makes up for a multitude of sins.
If the standard turnover on a NFL roster is about 40%, the Jaguars are looking at half of the guys on the team this year being gone. At least.
And in free-agency Shad Khan won’t be shy about spending money. Despite the $60 million he shelled out for Mincey, Ross and Robinson, only two get two wins, he’s not afraid to make the big play for a real difference maker.