JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – I have to admit, this is a very early roster prediction, especially since all of the offseason workouts have been virtual. But it’s never too early to take a run at predicting who will be on the Jaguars final 53-man roster.
I see 28 players as locks and 10 near locks to make the roster. I have another 15 guys on the fence in this edition. But it’s late May and these are the 53 that I see on the roster.
These numbers will change as we get answers about the health surrounding some players on the roster and about just how much the Jaguars plan to play a 3-4 defense this season.
There will probably be some names listed in spots that come as a surprise. Rookies are designated by an (r).
QB Josh Dobbs: On the fence
QB Mike Glennon: Near lock
QB Jake Luton: Long shot (r)
QB Gardner Minshew II: Lock
Summary: The ‘Stache is the only lock at quarterback. Right now, I would give Glennon, an offseason free agent signing, the clear edge at earning the backup spot, with Dobbs needing to convince the Jaguars to keep three QBs. As for Luton, unless he wow’s during training camp, I would expect him to be battling for a spot on the practice squad.
RB Ryquell Armstead: Lock
RB Nathan Cottrell: Long shot (r)
RB Tavien Feaster: Long shot (r)
RB Leonard Fournette: Lock
RB Devine Ozigbo: On the fence
RB James Robinson: Long shot (r)
FB Connor Slomka: Long shot (r)
RB Chris Thompson: Near lock
Summary: In the backfield Fournette and Armstead are both locked into roster spots. The Jaguars didn’t pick up Fournette’s fifth-year contract option but he is still the top back on the depth chart. Armstead showed some flashes last season on his few opportunities. He will be trying to earn a few more carries this season. Thompson was brought in because of his familiarity with Jay Gruden’s offense and to fill the role as a pass-catching back. The only thing that keeps him off the roster would be an injury or if Ozigbo can wow during camp.
WR DJ Chark Jr.: Lock
WR Keelan Cole: Long Shot
WR Chris Conley: Lock
WR Laviska Shenault Jr.: Lock (r)
WR Dede Westbrook: On the fence
WR Collin Johnson: On the fence (r)
WR Michael Walker: Long Shot
WR Marvelle Ross: Long shot (r)
WR Josh Hammond: Long shot (r)
WR Terry Godwin: Long shot
WR C.J. Board: Long shot
Summary: Chark, Conley, Shenault are locked for large workloads next season. Behind them there will be quite a few players vying for likely two roster spots. Westbrook, Walker and Cole all have experience returning kicks and that versatility will give them a boost.
TE Tyler Eifert: Lock
TE Josh Oliver: Lock
TE James O’Shaughnessy: On the fence
TE Tyler Davis: On the fence (r)
TE Charles Jones: Long shot
TE Ben Ellefson: Long shot (r)
Summary: Gruden will be looking to get more production out of the tight end position than the Jaguars have gotten in years past. Eifert and Oliver should both be locks for the roster. I have O’Shaughnessy listed as on the fence only because I have not heard any updates on how his rehab is going after tearing his ACL last season. As for Davis, he likely would have been a long shot in my book, but Gruden mentioned his versatility to play fullback.
G Ben Bartch: Near lock (r)
G AJ Cann: Lock
C Tyler Gauthier: Long shot
OT Blake Hance: Long shot
C Brandon Linder: Lock
G KC McDermott: Long shot
OT Steven Nielsen: Long shot (r)
G Andrew Norwell: Lock
OT Austen Pleasants: Long shot (r)
OT Ryan Pope: Long shot
OT/G Will Richardson Jr: Lock
OT Cam Robinson: Lock
G Tyler Shatley: On the fence
OT Jawaan Taylor: Lock
G Tre’Vour Wallace-Sims: Long shot (r)
Summary: The Jaguars are likely running it back with the same starting offensive line from last season. The only player locked into a roster spot that is not a starter is Richardson, as he is moving to left tackle this season. His versatility is valuable. I’d expect Bartch and Shatley to both make the final roster, but I wouldn’t be knocked out of my chair if either one of them didn’t make the cut at this point.
DT Taven Bryan: Lock
DT Doug Costin: Long shot (r)
DT Rodney Gunter: Lock
DT Davon Hamilton: Near lock (r)
DT Abry Jones: Near lock
DT Dontavius Russell: Long shot
DT Brian Price: Long shot
DT Al Woods: Near lock
Summary: Not knowing just how committed to the 3-4 defensive alignment the Jaguars will be, the front seven is the most difficult area on the team to forecast. The two locks in the room are Bryan after his elevated play last season, and free-agent signee Gunter. I’d Hamilton to make the roster, but with some veterans vying for that same spot he will have to go out there and earn it.
DE Josh Allen: Lock
DE K’Lavon Chaisson: Lock (r)
DE Aaron Lynch: On the fence
DE Yannick Ngakoue: Long shot
DE Lerentee McCray: On the fence
DE Cassius Marsh: On the fence
DE Dawuane Smoot: Lock
Summary: Despite question marks around just how some these guys will be used, this is one of the more clear cut positions on the roster. McCray and Marsh will both justify their spots with special teams contributions. As for Ngakoue, well he is still on the roster right now. He’d be a lock without the contract squabbling.
LB Dakota Allen: Long shot
LB Nate Evans: Long shot (r)
LB Joe Giles-Harris: Long shot
LB Myles Jack: Lock
LB Leon Jacobs: Near lock
LB Shaquille Quarterman: Near lock (r)
LB Joe Schobert: Lock
LB Quincy Williams: On the fence
Summary: The addition of Schobert has shuffled things around a little. Jack will move to outside linebacker in a 4-3 and weakside inside backer in a 3-4. With Allen and Chaisson likely filling the outside backer rolls in a 3-4 defense, that puts a few names in a strange position, specifically, Williams. Because of his size, he will struggle to play linebacker in a 3-4 defense.
CB Luq Barcoo: Long shot (r)
CB Chris Claybrooks: Long shot (r)
CB DJ Hayden: Lock
CB Amari Henderson: Long shot (r)
CB CJ Henderson: Lock (r)
CB Tre Herndon: Lock
CB Rashaan Melvin: Near lock
CB Parry Nickerson: Long shot
CB Josiah Scott: On the fence (r)
CB Kobe Williams: Long shot (r)
CB Brandon Watson: Long shot
Summary: There will be some tough decisions to make at corner. With the top three on the depth chart locked in, the battle will be for those backup spots. Melvin was just signed this offseason and has been a quality player throughout his career, but he will have to hold off some young players to make the roster. Scott and Claybrooks are both drafts picks but in different positions. Scott will need to show that his size will not be an issue at this level. Claybrooks’ roster spot is tied to his ability to earn the job as the primary kick-off returner. A darkhorse to make the roster is Barcoo, who was an expensive undrafted free agent signing. He pulled in nine interceptions last year for San Diego State to lead the nation.
FS Ronnie Harrison: Lock
FS Josh Jones: Long shot
FS Doug Middleton: Long shot
SS J.R. Reed: On the fence (r)
SS Daniel Thomas: On the fence (r)
FS Jarrod Wilson: Lock
SS Andrew Wingard: On the fence
Summary: Outside of the two starters, safety is wide open. I’d give Wingard the edge over the two rookies because he was a valuable member on special teams last season. I’d expect Thomas and Reed to both be able to contribute on special teams and push for roster spots.
P Logan Cooke: Lock
K Josh Lambo: Lock
LS Ross Matiscik: Long Shot (r)
LS Matthew Orzech: Near lock
K Brandon Wright: Long shot (r)
Summary: Cooke and Lambo are the two biggest locks on the roster. Orzech was the Jaguars long snapper last season, but the Jaguars made some surprise moves there, so we will have to wait and see if the rookie Matiscik can take hold of that job.