Jaguars cuts: Recent draft picks Jay Tufele, Gregory Junior among team’s final cuts

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Jay Tufele (97) watches from the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) (Phelan M. Ebenhack, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars finalized their roster on Tuesday afternoon, with the most notable cuts coming on the defensive line and in the secondary as the Doug Pederson-led franchise tries to get back to respectability.

The team released cornerback and seventh-round draft pick Gregory Junior and defensive lineman Jay Tufele, a fourth-round selection last year. Also waived were undrafted free agent receiver Kevin Austin Jr., receiver Jeff Cotton, running back Mekhi Sargent and third-string quarterback EJ Perry. Tufele’s release was arguably the biggest surprise. He was the 106th overall pick last season, but played in just four games as a rookie due to injury.

Tufele’s release would have seemed to have paved the way for tackle Israel Antwine to make the roster. But he was waived, too, meaning the Jaguars could be scouring the wire at tackle.

The team’s roster now stands at 53 players. It had to be down to 53 by 4 p.m. Tuesday.

“Overall I think we obviously feel very good about the locker room, not only the level of player in the locker room, but the level of person in the locker room,” said general manager Trent Baalke. “Very excited about the character of the football team, and as always there’s still work to do; the players in the locker room understand that, we understand that, we’re going to continue to search for players and it’s their job to keep the position.”

Baalke said that the Jaguars will study cuts around the league and see if any player released would fit with the Jaguars.

“They’re [the coaches] all set for a long night as well, and we’re going to do our due diligence and if there’s a player on the cut list that we feel could upgrade the roster, we will make that decision,” he said.

With the roster now nearly set, that means undrafted players Tim Jones (receiver) and Josh Thompson (cornerback) have beaten the odds and made the roster. Pederson said Jones made the best of his opportunity, which included 103 yards on three catches in the preseason finale against the Falcons. His play made Laquon Treadwell (released) and Laviska Shenault (traded) expendable.

Now, it’s on to more waiver wire work, filling out the practice squad and then on to the Week 1 opener at Washington.

“This was a good camp for us. There was a lot of things we had to overcome, you know, way back in the offseason as a team and I felt like we’ve been able to do that and really bond, come together and prepare, you know, our 11 [personnel] offense, 11 defense and special teams guys ready for, regular season. So, I’m excited for that, I think the guys are in a good place, mentally and physically, and just looking forward to the start of the season.”

Jaguars cuts Tuesday

DL Israel Antwine (Waived)

WR Kevin Austin Jr. (Waived)

OLB Rashod Berry (Waived)

WR Jeff Cotton Jr. (Waived)

CB Xavier Crawford (Waived)

OL Coy Cronk (Waived)

OL Nick Ford (Waived)

WR Willie Johnson (Waived/Injured)

CB Gregory Junior (Waived)

S Ayo Oyelola (Waived)

QB E.J. Perry (Waived)

TE Gerrit Prince (Waived)

RB Mekhi Sargent (Waived)

DT Jay Tufele (Waived)

OL Darryl Williams (Waived)

DT Raequan Williams (Waived/Injured)

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.