Now that the Jacksonville Jaguars have signed all their draft picks and free agents, I'd like to talk about which players should make the cut. More to the point, which players will make the final roster. The Jaguars have already cut some veterans, letting them sign on with other teams if they can. They have released long-time offensive guard Vince Manuwai due to injury and weight issues. Also cut were veterans like Kirk Morrison, Justin Durant, Justin Smiley, Sean Considine, Derrick Harvey, Mike Sims-Walker, Josh Scobee & Tyron Brackenridge. A few of which have already found new homes. Durant will now be taking up space on Detroit's weekly injury reports. Sims-Walker will be dropping passes for the Rams. Harvey will be riding the Broncos bench and Scobee will be sailing footballs thru the uprights in Chicago. There is a slim chance that the Jaguars bring Morrison back as depth at linebacker & if Manuwai gets healthy he could be brought back for less money. But those chances, unlike Knighton's waistline, keep getting slimmer.
Let's start our look at the final roster with the offensive side of the ball. We all know that Garrard & Gabbert will be on the roster, but some people think that McCown will be traded. I doubt that the Jags will even entertain that thought. Not until Gabbert gets up to speed anyway. Moving on to the running backs, Maurice Jones-Drew & Jennings will be there for sure, but I'm starting to wonder if Deji Karim will be able to beat out newly signed DuJuan Harris out of Troy. Harris has been impressive in camp so far. Besides, how many return specialists do you really need on one team? They will be keeping one such players at FB in Montell Owens. Greg Jones has his spot locked down as well. So where does that leave Brock Bolin? Tight end is another position that the Jaguars have to decide how many players to keep. Obviously, Marcedes Lewis isn't going anywhere & Zach Miller figures to be a bigger part of the offense this year. Will they hold on to 3 TEs or put Zach Potter on the practice squad? Wide receiver is the biggest question mark in my mind. Do they Jaguars carry 5 or 6 WRs on the final roster? Besides Thomas, Hill & Shorts, who gets a spot in this game of musical chairs? Will Dillard or Underwood finally step up and claim a spot? Is Osgood assured a spot based on his ability as a special teams player? Can Matthews be anything but camp fodder? Will undrafted rookie Armon Binns continue to shine? This battle will be one to watch very closely.
Now we get to the meat of the issue and I do mean the MEAT. I'm talkin' about the big boys up front. The offensive line has been addressed and hopefully fixed by the additions of Will Rackley & Jason Spitz. Both of whom can play multiple positions. Meester and Uche Nwaneri will be the centers of attention. Monroe & Britton will man the starting tackle positions for the forseeable future. Haslam & Whimper will provide the depth while UDFA "man-mountain" Daniel Baldridge from Marshall looks like a road-grader in training at 6'8" and 311 lbs. That's a lot of beef on the O-line this season. Hopefully it can open huge holes for MJD & keep the back of Garrard's jersey clean.
Switching sides to the defense, the biggest change was to the linebacker corps. I'll get to that in a minute. I need to break down the D-line first. The Jaguars will have Knighton, Alualu & D'Anthony Smith manning the middle along with "reusable" Douzable. They should definitely cause more disruption in the backfield as well as creating a solid wall that running backs can't penetrate. Kampman is healthy again and will be leading the troops into battle along side fellow DEs Hart, Morgan and a much improved Austen Lane. Watch out for the "Jaggernaut" rookie sensation that has everybody talking, Marc Schiechl from the Colorado School of Mines. He may come from a small school, but he could make a huge impact (hopefully in Peyton Manning's chest or face mask).
Time for those big-time linebackers the Jaguars signed in free agency. The only thing bigger than the hits that Daryl Smith & Clint Session will be putting on opposing offensive players is the size of Paul Posluszny's neck. Have you see him? He's like the Incredible Hulk without the green skin. His catchphrase should be "Posluszny crush puny humans". I have absolutely NO DOUBT that the linebackers for the Jaguars will be a force to be reckoned with. Oh yeah, they also have LBs like Allen, Bosworth, Cutrera, Lockley & Lutrus for depth. The cornerbacks will get help from former N.Y. Jet, Drew Coleman. Add his skils to those of Cox, Mathis, Issac & Middleton and the secondary should be better. I just hope they learned how to tackle this off-season. Finally, we come to the part of the defense that needed the most improvement.......the safeties. Thankfully, Considine won't be back there whiffing on easy plays anymore. Although I don't think Carey will keep his starting spot across from Courtney Greene, the addition of Dawan Landry will more than make up for Carey's mistakes. Rookie Chris Prosinski will see quality time as well. Keep your eyes & ears open for Matt Estrada. He's a little guy who packs a big punch out of Northern Arizona. Wouldn't it be cool if he made the team and every time he broke up a pass or came up and popped a running back for no gain, the P.A. guy at Everbank field could say " It's Estrada for Nada". Now let's play some football and see who makes the cut. GO JAGS!!!