Intriguing questions abound as Jaguars look to trim their roster

Jaguars running back James Robinson (30) is a lock for the starting job. But how many backs behind Robinson will the team keep? (Rick Wilson, Jacksonville Jaguars)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Plenty of intrigue surrounds Jacksonville’s roster moves on Tuesday. Who will they cut? Who goes on the practice squad. We made the cuts for them here in getting to the final 53-man roster. But what are some of the more pressing roster moves facing the Jaguars?

News4Jax sports anchor Cole Pepper answers some of those as cuts loom.

Quarterback: The only question at the quarterback position is whether the Jaguars believe Jake Luton can get through waivers and make it to the Jacksonville practice squad. If they do believe he would go unclaimed, I would expect to see him let go and then signed to the practice squad. If not, he could be kept on the active roster as the third quarterback, behind Trevor Lawrence and C.J. Beathard.

Wide receiver: The most interesting set of decisions lies in the wide receivers room. How many will they keep? The most likely number is six, and there are four players who will definitely be on the roster: D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault, Marvin Jones and Jamal Agnew.

Agnew was held out of the last two preseason games because Urban Meyer held his return abilities in such high regard. So that leaves potentially two spots for Collin Johnson, Phillip Dorsett, Tavon Austin, Pharoh Cooper, Laquon Treadwell and maybe Josh Hammond to vie for. Dorsett’s speed is going to be very attractive to Meyer, particularly with the loss of Travis Etienne for the season. Johnson offers a style that none of the other receivers do, but I’m not sure his size is as important in Meyer’s offensive system.

The Jaguars also brough in Devin Smith late in the week and he played well against the Cowboys. Meyer knows him from their days at Ohio State. Expect seventh round pick Jalen Camp to be a practice squad target for the Jaguars. If Austin is healthy, he’s a good candidate to fill some of the role planned for Etienne.

Running back: James Robinson and Carlos Hyde will be on the team. If the Jaguars keep four running backs, Dare Ogunbowale and Devine Ozigbo are the obvious choices. This could be a position that gets cut to three if Meyer wants to keep an extra receiver in the mix.

Offensive line: Not a lot of drama here. The top eight are pretty well set. Cam Robinson, Andrew Norwell, Brandon Linder, A.J. Cann, Jawaan Taylor are the starters. Walker Little, Ben Bartch and Tyler Shatley are the key backups. Will Richardson could also make the squad if the Jaguars decide to go with nine offensive linemen. Richardson has played tackle and guard and his versatility is an asset.

Tight end: This is still a weak position for the team. It was when Meyer took over and identified it as such, and it remains a weak position as the regular season approaches. Chris Manhertz and James O’Shaughnessy are the top tight ends on the roster. Luke Farrell, a fifth-round draft pick will also likely stick. The decision on a potential fourth roster spot at tight end will come down to Ben Ellefson and former draft pick Tyler Davis. Ellefson has shown more than Davis during the preseason.

On defense, there are also some intriguing decisions to be made. The toughest decisions are likely to come on the defensive line and in the secondary.

Defensive line: This is mostly a question of numbers. Should the Jaguars go heavier here (and I suspect they might), the decision on Taven Bryan is the biggest name who could be on the bubble. Expect starters Malcom Brown, DaVon Hamilton and Roy Robertson-Harris to be backed up by Doug Costin, Dawaune Smoot, rookie Jay Tufele and probably Adam Gotsis. If the Jaguars go with eight defensive linemen, Bryan could stick. There is also some wiggle room with some multi-use players on defense, like Jihad Ward and Lerentee McCray potentially being used to supplement defensive end snaps.

Linebacker: Some easy choices here. Myles Jack, Josh Allen, Damien Wilson and K’Lavon Chaisson are the staters. Ward and McCray are likely to stick along with Shaq Quarterman, an Oakleaf High School product. Keep an eye on Chapelle Russell, who has received good reviews from the coaching staff this preseason. He could be an under-the-radar choice to make the final 53. The biggest question is about how the Jaguars will handle rookie Jordan Smith, who showed some promise, but could be a practice squad pick.

Cornerback: After a challenging preseason, C.J. Henderson appears to have regained his starting spot at one cornerback position, while Shaquill Griffin will start on the other side. Rookie Tyson Campbell will make the team. Tre Herndon is too versatile to leave off the roster and Sidney Jones will likely also be on the 53.  Of the remaining players, Chris Claybrooks could sneak his way on the roster, but again, it’s a numbers game.

Safety: Rayshawn Jenkins has been listed as the starter at free safety all preseason, but the strong safety spot has had four co-starters listed: Jarrod Wilson, Josh Jones, Rudy Ford and rookie Andre Cisco. Cisco is going to be the starter at some point and will certainly make the team, but how many strong safeties will the Jaguars keep? At free safety, Andrew Wingard could be pushed by Daniel Thomas, but Wingard’s play on special teams will likely give him the edge here.

Special teams: No drama here. Josh Lambo kicks, Logan Cooke punts and Ross Matiscik is the long snapper.


About the Author:

Cole joined News4Jax full-time in January 2017, but he has been a part of the team since he began filling in as a sports anchor in 2005.