2014 record: 3-13
1st 2015 NFL Draft pick: No. 3 overall
Key Free Agency Acquisitions: Julius Thomas, Jared Odrick
Turnaround in 2015? No
Getting Blake Bortles under center and settled was a big deal and while he has some work to do in order to become a top-shelf starting NFL quarterback, Jaguars fans should be happy about having him as their franchise quarterback.
Maybe it’s the post-Blanie Gabbert vibe talking, but while Bortles was a little uneven last season, he also showed some promise and that was with a banged up receiving corps and an at times middling run game. Allen Robinson had a very nice rookie year, Ace Sanders has shown promise and if Marquise Lee can stay on the field there is some talent here for Bortles to work with.
Adding former Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas is a big plus for Bortles as well. It remains to be seen how effective PM (Post Manning) but he’s a very athletic move tight end who can stretch the field. He won’t be as effective as he was in Denver but he should do a lot of good things for Jacksonville.
Bortles also has Greg Olson, who did good things with Derek Carr in Oakland last year.
Overall the offense is looking up and they could still add a veteran receiver like Greg Jennings in the slot or Michael Crabtree.
Defensively overall, Jacksonville was 26th in the NFL and they never seemed to find the right combination of players on defense, struggling against both the run and the pass. They are desperate for a dynamic pass-rusher and need to upgrade at cornerback. Jacksonville was another team which tried to tempt some big-name defensive players and failed, but they might be better for it down the road as they weren’t one player away from the Super Bowl and could use the money they might have sunk into Ndamukong Suh to get multiple players who can have a wider impact overall.
I think the Jaguars are on the right track—but the journey is going to take a little bit longer to get to its destination. I’d love for the Jaguars to magically turn things around, especially in a weak AFC South, but it doesn’t look like it’s in the cards yet.
Next: New York Jets