The Jaguars are a team to watch out for in the future. Both General Manager, Dave Caldwell, and Head Coach, Gus Bradley, have a clear vision and direction for this team as they continue to add pieces they need to improve the roster. For this season, however, there is still a lot of work to be done to field a formidable team against the current powerhouses of the AFC. This team has many key players that are young and will need a little more time to mature. Also, the Jags have all new starters for the entire offensive line excluding last year's #2 overall pick returning from injury, Luke Joeckel. The team should continue to struggle for the short term as they wait for all of these pieces to develop into Gus Bradley's system.
With the offensive line in flux, the Jags would prefer to keep Chad Henne under center and waiting to move on to the rookie until that group is solidified. Henne usually puts up decent end of year numbers when taking into account his number of starts, but he is way too inconsistent. Along with the threat of being replaced at any moment, I have him currently ranked as the #34 quarterback for this year. Beside the other 31 starting quarterbacks, I would rather draft Johnny Manziel and Michael Vick over him because of the upside they provide.
The Jags shocked everyone in this year's draft when they selected Blake Bortles as the #3 overall pick. He has the prototypical size that teams look for in their starting quarterback but still needs time to improve his footwork, accuracy, and arm strength. Even at this moment, there may not be much of a dropoff in talent between him and Henne. However, the Jags would ideally like to keep Bortles on the bench this season to have time to develop and learn the offense before he gets his first start.
Even though the ADP of Toby Gerhart has begun to ascend, I believe that he is still underrated. The powerful, downhill running back was targeted by the Jags in free agency to fill the hole left when Maurice Jones-Drew signed with the Raiders. Dave Caldwell, formerly from the Atlanta Falcons, sees similarities between Gerhart and Michael Turner. Turner was a starting talent signed to the Falcons after being buried behind LaDainian Tomlinson in San Diego. Also, Gus Bradley, formerly from the Seattle Seahawks, compares the role for Gerhart in Jacksonvile to how the Seahawks used Marshawn Lynch. Gerhart should dominate the carries and will have a great opportunity to put up top-10 fantasy production for the running back position.
Jordan Todman is currently listed as the backup. He performed respectably when filling in last year for the injured MJD and Justin Forsett but should not be much of a threat to eat into many of Gerhart's carries.
The sleeper running back to watch out for is the rookie and college teammate of Blake Bortles at Central Florida, Storm Johnson. He is an all-around running back that can contribute in the rushing and receiving game.
Another player to keep an eye on will be the "offensive weapon," Denard Robinson. He did not see many opportunities last year, but going into his second year, he should have a better understanding of the offense and the many roles he can play. They intend to line him up all over the field to create mismatches and allow him to get in space and use his athletic ability to make plays.
WIDE RECEIVERS - Cecil Shorts, Ace Sanders, Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson, Justin Blackmon, Mike Brown, Lamaar Thomas, Chad Bumphis, Kerry Taylor, Tandon Doss, Allen Hurns, Damian Copeland, Nathan Slaughter
Justin Blackmon has showed immense talent in his time in Jacksonville, but it seems that his time there may have come to an abrubt end. After Blackmon was suspended indefinitely last year, Gus Bradley has stated that they "can't count on him" to be reinstated any time soon. They appear to have moved on after drafting two rookie wide-outs in the second round this year.
Cecil Shorts will now be the veteran #1 wide receiver for the team. He has produced well in a bad offense with sub-par quarterback play the past few years. Now, with the offense looking to be more spread out and with a slightly more stable quarterback situation, Shorts should improve on his recent production to become a good WR2 option for fantasy as the top target in the offense.
Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson are the two second round rookies being added to the roster this year. Both are very talented prospects and will be in a battle with each other to take over the #2 receiver position. Currently, Lee is lining up in that position across from Shorts in practices while Robinson is the backup to Shorts, but things can change quickly once training camp gets started. I prefer the talent of Robinson, who has the larger body and is dangerous after the catch. Lee isn't far behind talent-wise but has been fighting through injuries and had many drops throughout his last season at USC. Both are worth being selected as late fliers in drafts.
Ace Sanders is an explosive weapon going into his second year and should see a lot more time on the field as the slot receiver. He doesn't necessarily have blazing speed but is shifty and quick. This gives him the ability to gain seperation from defenders and gain yards after the catch.
Mike Brown surprised last year with good numbers while filling in for Blackmon and Shorts last year. He could be called upon again with Lee and Robinson already trying to get over leg injuries or if Shorts continues to struggle with concussions.
Tandon Doss was also signed from the Baltimore Ravens and will be battling Brown for the #5 receiver position.
Marcedes Lewis burst onto the fantasy scene in 2010 when he totaled 10 touchdowns for the season. Since then, however, he hasn't scored more than 4 and has completely dropped off the fantasy radar. As the Jags' offense moves to more of a spread, he could see more opportunities for receptions in the middle of the field. He could also be a security blanket for the rookie Bortles if he takes over this season. He may be one to keep an eye on but is currently undraftable unless in very deep leagues.
Clay Harbor has good athletic ability as a "move" tight end but has not been used very much in Jacksonville or even on his former team, the Eagles.
The Jaguars are still in building mode, which does not bode well for their fantasy projections this season. They added a few young weapons that will eventually be key pieces in this offense in time. However, the only Jacksonville players that I will be targting in drafts this season are Toby Gerhart and Cecil Shorts and possibly Allen Robinson or Marqise Lee as late round picks. It should be another down year for the team as a whole, but I will be buying on most players in Jacksonville very soon as they will continue to improve under the leadership of Gus Bradley.