Looking at the Jacksonville Jaguars, it’s hard to look at each position and pick out a huge flaw. Sure, the team may have lost key players in free agency – wide receiver Allen Robinson and cornerback Aaron Colvin – in free agency and linebacker Paul Posluszny to retirement – but the team still has plenty of talent.
This is still a team to beat in the AFC, and could be a serious contender to reach Super Bowl 53. The Jacksonville Jaguars could be playing for the Lombardi Trophy up the road in Atlanta.
Despite signing a new deal and giving his team more flexibility with the salary cap, there are some writers out there who still point to quarterback Blake Bortles as the team’s weakest link. It’s hard to argue Bortles’ place with this team, doing only what Mark Brunell has been able to accomplish in reaching a conference title game. The team traded for Cody Kessler last week and should draft a quarterback later this month in the NFL Draft.
Still, it is Bortles pundits have an issue with. As Matt Harmon of NFL.com pointed out, Blakr Bortles may be the Jacksonville Jaguars fatal flaw, but making that decision was hard given the team’s success last season.
“Listing quarterback as the fatal flaw for the Jaguars is indicative of just how hard it is to find flaws on this roster. Outside of a top-notch passing game, Jacksonville pretty much has it all. Despite landing a new contract this offseason, Blake Bortles still sits outside the top 20 in guaranteed money at the quarterback position,” Harmon wrote.
“That deal shows the team does not view him as the engine of the offense or a permanent solution. The coaches’ use of him this past season suggests that, as well. Bortles’ average completed pass traveled just 16.8 yards of air distance (down the field and not the sideline), which was the lowest of any quarterback with over 200 attempts last year. If this team brought a dynamic passing game to the table, along with a power run game and ravaging defense, it would be unstoppable.”
The team will miss the potential of Robinson’s big-play ability on the outside, but re-signing Marqise Lee and signing free agent Donte Moncrief could ease the loss. Remember, Robinson did not play but three downs last season for a Jacksonville Jaguars team that went 10-6.
The Jaguars also signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins this offseason at tight end. This will also help give Blake Bortles more options.
Harmon added the team could solve their lack of the big play by taking Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, if he is available.
“If Lamar Jackson is somehow available at No. 29 in the draft, he should be an auto pick. Bucky Brooks made that pairing in his March 19th mock draft. The Jaguars wouldn’t have to rush Jackson on the field — let Bortles play ahead of him as the rookie marinates.”
The knock on Jackson is his accuracy issues, which is something that has plagued Bortles all his career.
Jackson has been compared to Michael Vick in his ability to run and throw the football. There are flaws in his game that NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein points out.
“Evaluating Jackson against the NFL standards for the position will cause him to come up short.” Zierlein wrote. “However, he has rare speed and athleticism and can single-handedly win games. Jackson’s accuracy is clearly spotty and teams must decide the level of accuracy they are willing to live with relative to his ability to create explosive plays. Jackson may need to operate in an offense ready to integrate RPOs (run/pass options) along with heavy play-action.”
I personally watched Jackson play in the TaxSlayer Bowl thus past December. He had issues with accuracy and was too quick to leave the pocket to allow plays to develop. While his legs will save plays, he will have issues with bigger and tougher defenders chasing him down from behind and out of the pocket.
Blake Bortles played in a new offensive system last season and could improve even more with another training camp under his belt.