Jaguars free agency tracker: Grading the 7 free agent signings

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) catches a long pass and runs it for a touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins) (Ron Jenkins, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – NFL free agency is officially underway.

The Jaguars have said they want to be “aggressive” in this year’s market and delivered just that this week, signing seven big-ticket items that will bolster a team coming off a 3-14 season. They addressed the offense in a big way and shored up all three levels on the defensive side.

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The legal tampering period began Monday and the finalized deals were released Wednesday at 4 p.m.

The 7 newest Jaguars

CB Darious Williams, Rams

News4JAGs Grade: B-

Williams is a great story. He graduated from Creekside High School, went to a small college out of high school and left after the season. He tried to walk on at UAB and was told he wasn’t good enough. Williams then returned to Jacksonville and attended college at FSCJ before another opportunity at UAB returned, only to have to program shutter the football program. When the Blazers restarted football, Williams had just one season there and made it count. He was cut by the Ravens and ultimately picked up by the Rams where he started opposite Jalen Ramsey and played himself into a significant free agent. His signing gives Jacksonville three starting-caliber outside corners.

WR Zay Jones, Raiders

News4JAGs Grade: C+

Jones adds another pass catcher to the offense. He made some big catches for the Raiders last season including scoring a touchdown in their playoff game. Jones adds another set of reliable hands to the Jaguars offense for Trevor Lawrence to throw the ball to. Jones’ ability to line up outside fills a need for the Jaguars and will allow them to go the best player available in the draft. The reason this move gets a C+ is that Jones’ talent level blends into the glut of players the Jaguars already have at receiver. While solid not spectacular, he should be a third or fourth option at best and the Jaguars are in dire need of a No. 1 option.

TE Evan Engram, Giants

News4JAGs Grade: B+

The Jaguars absolutely needed to address the tight end position. It was a black hole of a position last year, even with the acquisition on Dan Arnold in a trade with the Panthers. Engram at least adds more depth to that spot. The former first-round pick has 262 career receptions for 2,828 yards and 16 TDs. Engram’s best season came during his rookie year in 2017 when he had 722 yards and six TD catches. He should immediately push Arnold for the starting role. Engram has had a problems with injuries over the course of his career. This is a nice one-year, low risk move by the Jaguars. If Doug Pederson and Co. can get get Engram to achieve the massive potential that many have believed he has, it will prove to have an incredible move by the Jags.

WR Christian Kirk, Cardinals

News4JAGs Grade: C+

The Jaguars came into the offseason need help at wide receiver and they landed that help on the first day of the legal tampering period. Kirk will give Trevor Lawrence a sure-handed target out of the slot. Kirk is instantly the top receiver on the Jaguars roster. I gave the move a C+ because Kirk has never topped the 1,000-yard receiving mark in his career. He plays predominantly in the slot and this will not be an instant fix for the Jaguars passing woes. Kirk is not a guy that commands a double team or that defenses fear. If the Jaguars find a way to add another high-level receiver this offseason then the grade for this move will instantly go up. But right now, it feels like the Jags have mismanaged the receiver market, missing out on a guy like Amari Cooper.

LB Foye Oluokun, Falcons

News4JAGs Grade: A+

You may not know much about Foye Oluokun but if you watched a Falcons game this year you definitely heard his name. Oluokun was a tackling machine last season he led the NFL in tackles racking up 192. But he is more than just a thumper, he is a playmaker from the linebacker spot. Oluokun will slide right in as the Jaguars starting middle linebacker role and will likely wear the green dot for the defense. He is a smart addition to the defense. I mean, he did go to Yale. This is a great move by the Jaguars to bring him to Duval.

DT Foley Fatukasi, Jets

News4JAGs Grade: B

The Jaguars are making big moves bringing in big bodies. Fatuaksi is not a name that many people know because he does his best work in the trenches. Fatuaksi was considered by many the top run-stuffing free agent this year. I only gave the move a B because it was not really a position of need. The addition of Fatuaksi adds another run-stuffing body to a defensive line room that already included players like Malcom Brown and DaVon Hamilton. While not a need, his arrival should make stopping the run the strength of the Jaguars defense.

OG Brandon Scherff, Washington

News4Jags Grade: A+

The Jaguars said they wanted to be aggressive and they opened free agency with a bang. Scherff was the top guard on the market. Landing him instantly improves the Jaguars offensive line. The investment in Scherff is really an investment in giving Trevor Lawrence a clean pocket to work from. While Scherff won’t be scoring touchdowns or selling jerseys he will do the dirty work that will allow other players on the Jaguars offense to rack up some stats.

About the Author:

Jamal St. Cyr is an award-winning sports anchor who joined the News4Jax sports team in 2019.