4 position battles to watch for in Jaguars vs. Falcons
Final preseason game will determine final roster spots
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars host the Atlanta Falcons Thursday night in the final preseason game of the year for both teams. Don't expect to see the starters and many key backups play as the final roster cuts are due by 4 p.m. Saturday. Here are four battles to keep an eye on Thursday night:
1. Wide receivers - Numbers are a big question here. Specifically, how many receivers will make the final 53. With some uncertainty about the status of Marqise Lee for the regular season, the Jaguars could keep as many as seven wideouts on the roster. We know some of the guys who will make the final cut. Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley, and DJ Chark will all be on the roster. Keelan Cole should make it. beyond those four and Lee, there are questions. Terrelle Pryor has battled injuries. Tre McBride and C.J. Board have shown flashes in the preseason and Quadree Henderson looks the part as a return man. Will the Jaguars keep any of those three young receivers? A big performance in the final preseason game could mean the difference between a roster spot and a practice squad invitation for any of the trio.
2. Defensive tackle depth - We know Marcell Dareus and Abry Jones will be the starters. Taven Bryan is going to make the team. Will the Jaguars keep both Eli Ankou and rookie Dontavious Russell? Will Kalan Vakameilalo be given the chance to make a push for a roster spot? Again, it's a numbers game and the number of defensive tackles could be impacted by roster decisions at other positions.
3. Offensive tackle - Beyond Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor, the Jaguars aren't settled at the backup tackle or tackles. Cedric Ogbuehi, Josh Wells and Leonard Wester have all had their struggles this preseason. Don't be surprised to see the Jaguars do some free agent shopping at this position after the final cuts are released.
4. Returners - The Jaguars seem to be trying to give the return job to Keelan Cole. They know with Dede Westbrook on the roster, they have a proven option, but they may not want to risk Westbrook on special teams as often considering his value to the offense. DJ Chark has also been used returning punts and kicks, but keep an eye on Henderson. A big return or two could change his resume for the final roster.
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