The Jacksonville Jaguars are in the midst of the first year of a rebuilding process following a franchise-worst 2-14 record last NFL season.
The franchise has undergone wholesale changes this offseason, which include a first-year general manager in David Caldwell and head coach in Gus Bradley. The roster has also been completely overhauled as the team has brought in a number of new players to compete for playing time.
The final roster will be loaded with new faces unfamiliar to fans. The new players represent a positive change for an organization distancing itself from the losing ways of the previous regime.
The future is looking bright in Jacksonville, as the team acquired a core of talented young players through the draft and free agency, but they are still a few years away from being competitive.
It's impossible to know for sure who will make the final 53-man roster, but here is an early power ranking of who could make the team.
53. R.J. Dill
Dill was signed as an undrafted free agent after this year's draft, which will be a common theme among a lot of the players on the list. He started every game during his final two years at Rutgers at right tackle, so he is familiar with the position. Dill doesn't have the ideal skill set for Jacksonville's zone-blocking scheme, according to his NFL.com draft profile, but he should provide much-needed depth to the team's offensive line.
52. Michael Zimmer
Zimmer is another undrafted free agent who could possibly make the team due to lack of depth. Although Paul Posluszny has the starting middle linebacker position locked down, there is no one behind him on the depth chart. Zimmer was a secure tackler during his collegiate career, as he led Illinois State with 127 tackles during his senior season. He's going to have to prove himself against the higher competition, but he has a chance to make the final roster.
51. LaRoy Reynolds
Reynolds has the opportunity to become one of Jacksonville's starting outside linebackers. Although the team signed Geno Hayes in free agency, he still has to earn the starting role, according to The Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran. Reynolds will have his chance to play his way onto the team. If he performs like he did during his collegiate career at Virginia, where he finished second on the team in total tackles (90) and tackles for loss (9.5), he has a very good shot at making the roster.
50. Stephane Milhim
Although Milhim started at left tackle during his final two years at UMass, the undrafted free agent will move inside to guard in the NFL. He'll have to compete against veterans Jason Spitz and Austin Pasztor for a roster spot, but he has a chance to do so. Milhim played very well against the small-school competition and his skill set projects well for a zone-blocking scheme.
49. Tobais Palmer
Palmer, an undrafted free agent wide receiver from North Carolina State, has been turning heads thus far this offseason. He made a good first impression during rookie minicamps, which left wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan "encouraged," per Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union. He has continued to look good through OTAs, where he has been able to show off his speed, according to Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country. The Jaguars receiving corps is full of talent, but Justin Blackmon's four-game suspension may have opened the door for a player like Palmer to make the roster.
48. Carson Tinker
Tinker has a chance to make an immediate impact as Jacksonville's long snapper. Current long snapper Jeremy Cain is due to have the sixth-highest cap hit ($1,083,333) among players at the position, per Spotrac.com. If Tinker comes close to matching Cain's abilities, the Jaguars will likely go with the cheaper option in the undrafted rookie.
47. Isaiah Stanback
Like many other positions, the Jaguars severely lack depth at tight end. Other than Marcedes Lewis, who will once again reclaim the starting role, the team has nothing but unproven players behind him. Stanback is the most experienced of those players, which could land him on the team.
46. Demetrius McCray
McCray was one of two cornerbacks the Jaguars drafted in the seventh round of April's draft, and was the second draft pick to sign a contract, per an AP report. McCray has the size Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley likes in cornerbacks (6'1", 33 7/8" arms), which could bode well for him making the final roster.
45. Cameron Bradfield
Bradfield was one of a number of offensive linemen the Jaguars used last season due to a mixture of poor plays and injuries. While he wasn't great by any means, he is worth keeping around for depth purposes. He brings starting experience to the young team, as he's started 14 games during his two-year career. Bradfield could perform well as a backup with the zone-blocking scheme.
44. Jeremy Harris
Harris is the other cornerback the Jaguars selected in the seventh round, and was the first pick signed to a contract. His college coach, DeWayne Walker, is Jacksonville's cornerback coach, which could give the rookie a better shot at making the team. He has the frame coach Bradley likes, as he measured at 6'3" at his pro day, but he still needs to add strength to succeed in press coverage. Harris could develop into a good player in the future.
43. T.J. Barnes
Barnes was literally the Jaguars' biggest signing in the offseason. At 6'6" and 369 pounds, he is a mountain of a man who will eat up space in the middle of the defensive line. He is an immovable object at the line of scrimmage, and will serve as an anchor in run support. He faces stiff competition in training camp, but Barnes' size alone should give him an opportunity to make the final 53-man roster.
42. Ryan Otten
Otten stepped into a great opportunity when he signed with the Jaguars as an undrafted free agent. The Jaguars have a gaping hole behind Marcedes Lewis at tight end, and Otten could fill that role. He had a very successful career at San Jose State, where he had 126 catches for 1,760 yards and 12 touchdowns. The rookie could easily earn the role as Lewis' primary backup for the Jaguars.
41. Matt Scott
Jaguars general manager David Caldwell said he would add quarterbacks to compete with Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne in training camp, according to AP's Mark Long, and he waited until after the draft to do so. He signed two quarterbacks, Scott and Jordan Rodgers, as undrafted free agents. Concussion concerns could have led to Scott being undrafted, per Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country.
Still, Scott has a great opportunity to make the team. He was NFL.com's Gil Brandt's top undrafted free agent signing, and has a ton of untapped potential. He still needs to develop his game, but he could push Henne to be Jacksonville's backup quarterback.
40. Antwon Blake
The Jaguars are lacking depth at safety. They have just five players at the position, and only three are currently under contract. Blacke has a chance to make the squad based on numbers alone, but he is also a solid player. While he won't be anything more than a backup, he could still contribute to special teams.
39. Josh Evans
Evans, the Jaguars' sixth-round draft pick out of Florida, will help add numbers to the depleted secondary. He's capable of playing both safety positions, which will make him an asset to the team. He has also seen time on special teams, according to an interview with Richard Miller (via Big Cat Country), which will allow him to contribute in multiple ways. He's a versatile player who could make an impact during his rookie season.
38. Chad Henne
Henne had the chance to earn the starting role last season when he started the final six games of the season in relief of the injured Blaine Gabbert. He failed to do so, as he threw more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (6) and compiled a 1-5 record during that span.
While he could still be competing for the starting role, he could also be playing for his Jacksonville career. If Henne fails to impress throughout training camp, he could be the odd man out of the quarterback group. He has to prove himself just as much as any other quarterback on the the Jaguars if he wants to keep his job.
37. Julian Stanford
Stanford signed as an undrafted free agent prior to last season, and he earned himself a starting role midway through the season. He started six games last year and compiled 23 combined tackles. He has a chance to earn the the starting role in training camp, and he has a legitimate shot of becoming one of the team's starting linebackers.
36. Lonnie Pryor
Pryor has some big shoes to fill, as he will be replacing long-time fullback and fellow Florida State alum Greg Jones in Jacksonville's backfield. Pryor has the ability to rush the ball and catch it out of the backfield while being powerful enough to lead block for the running backs. He flashed those abilities during rookie minicamp, according to Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union, and should be a good player for the team for years to come.
35. Mike Brewster
Brewster is a versatile lineman who can play both guard and center. Although he could be Jacksonville's center of the future, he could challenge for the starting left guard role in the meantime. He played well in seven starts last season and allowed just two sacks. Brewster is a perfect fit in the zone-blocking scheme, and at the very worst will be great depth on the offensive line.
34. Andre Branch
Branch's rookie year is one he would like to forget; he recorded just one sack and 12 combined tackles last year. He could be much improved this season, as he will be rotating with Jason Babin at the "Leo" position, which is a pass-rusher who uses his speed to pressure the quarterback. He played a similar position at Clemson, according to Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country, and the new role should take advantage of his athleticism. Branch could be a pleasant surprise for the Jaguars this season.
33. Austen Lane
Lane was one of the players considered to be Jacksonville's defensive end opposite of the LEO position, but Tyson Alualu's transition to the position will force Lane into a backup role. The defensive end will be asked to hold the edge against the run while being able to pressure the quarterback. Lane's skill set projects to the position better than Jeremy Mincey's does, so Lane gets the nod for the role.
32. Justin Forsett
The Jaguars signed Forsett to a two-year, $2 million contract in free agency. He played with the Seattle Seahawks when Jaguars coach Gus Bradley was the defensive coordinator, so there is some familiarity with the two. Forsett is a solid player who provides quality depth at running back.
31. Ace Sanders
Jacksonville added some much-needed speed at wide receiver in fourth-round pick Sanders. He was limited during the rookie minicamp, but he made his return at OTAs, according to AP's Mark Long. Sanders will get time both at receiver and as the team's punt returner, which should allow him to make plays using his speed. He has the chance to be the Jaguars' slot receiver, especially with a spot being open due to Blackmon's absence.
30. Mohamed Massaquoi
Massaquoi signed with the Jaguars as a free agent earlier this offseason. He will get the opportunity to revive what was once a promising career in Jacksonville, and could get a chance to win the starting role during Blackmon's suspension. He's the most experienced of the team's receivers, which could give him the edge in the competition.
29. Will Rackley
Rackley is looking to get his career back on track this offseason. After starting 14 games as a rookie in 2011, he missed the entire 2012 season after suffering an ankle injury in training camp. Coach Bradley said he thought Rackley looked good at minicamp earlier this offseason, according to Vito Stellino of The Florida Times-Union, which could bode well for the third-year guard's chances to win the starting job.
28. Brandon Deaderick
The Jaguars claimed Deaderick off waivers after he was released from the New England Patriots. He can play at both defensive end and on the interior of the line, which gives the Jaguars options of how to use him. He played well for the Patriots last season when he started five games and forced two fumbles. Deaderick could make an impact at several positions on the defensive line and will provide very good depth.
27. Mike Harris
Harris played well last year when he was thrust into the starting lineup late in the season. He started six games during his rookie season and recorded six passes defended and an interception. He is expected to compete with veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant to be the team's nickelback, according to Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union. Harris finds himself in the midst of the position with the fiercest training camp battle, but he has the talent to carve a niche for himself in the secondary
26. Denard Robinson
Robinson, Jacksonville's fifth-round pick, adds a much-needed spark to the Jaguars offense. Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reported that the team will line Robinson up at a variety of positions, and will try to get him the ball 10 to 15 times a game to take advantage of Shoelace's speed. The Jaguars could have a special playmaker on their hands in Robinson; they just need to figure out how to use him.
25. Alan Ball
The Jaguars signed Alan Ball as a free agent this offseason to add competition and a veteran presence to the secondary. He is one of the favorites to win one of the starting cornerback jobs, according to Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country, which makes sense as the team will want to have an experienced player in the starting lineup. He plays better in press-coverage, which is a main component of Bradley's defensive scheme.
24. Geno Hayes
The Jaguars signed Hayes soon after free agency got underway. He has familiarity with the defensive scheme, as he played for coach Bradley during his rookie year in Tampa Bay, and was in Chicago last year with defensive coordinator Todd Babich. It still doesn't mean he has the starting job, as he will have to earn it, according to Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union. Hayes is a solid player and he should be able to secure the starting outside linebacker role.
23. Jordan Shipley
Shipley is another wide receiver who can take over the second receiver role during Blackmon's suspension. Shipley played well in a limited role last season after the Jaguars signed him late in the year. He hauled in 23 receptions for 244 yards and a touchdown in six games with Jacksonville. He will look to build on that this season, as he could take on a more prominent role in the offense.
22. Marcus Trufant
Trufant, an 11-year veteran, signed with the Jaguars May 7 and was reunited with his former defensive coordinator in Bradley. Trufant brings knowledge of Bradley's system to provide the young defense with veteran leadership. He also has a chance to compete to become Jacksonville's nickelback, according to Jaguars.com's John Oehser. Although he is on the downward slope of his career, Trufant could play a vital role in the young team's development this season.
21. Blaine Gabbert
To say Gabbert has yet to live up to being the 10th pick of the 2011 draft is an understatement. He's struggled during his first two years in the league. He's completed 53.8 percent of his passes for 21 touchdowns and 17 interceptions en route to a 4-19 record as a starter.
This season may be Gabbert's last opportunity to shake the "bust" label. At 23, he's still a young player with plenty of upside. He showed flashes of his potential last year in several games, including a 300-yard passing effort against the Green Bay Packers. The offense around him should be improved this season, which should allow Gabbert to finally live up to his potential.
The Jaguars selected cornerback Dwayne Gratz out of UConn in the third round of April's draft, and he is expected to step in as one of Jacksonville's starting cornerbacks, according to Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country.
While he didn't receive the same buzz after the draft as the top two picks—Luke Joeckel and Johnathan Cyprien—Gratz fits coach Bradley's scheme perfectly. While he doesn't have the height that is usually associated with cornerbacks in Bradley's system, he does have the ability to press receivers at the line of scrimmage.
Bradley said, via Crow's report:
"That’s another asset for us. The ability to press. He’s strong at the line of scrimmage," Bradley continued. "What is he five-eleven? Five-eleven or something? You’d say that’s not the traditional six-two guy that you’re accustomed to or the six-three guy. It’s not always the height. I mean that’s great to have but it’s also the arm length and the strength at the line of scrimmage."
Gratz's strength could be his biggest asset. He led all cornerbacks at the combine with 22 bench press reps. That strength should allow him to thrive as a press-coverage cornerback, despite not having the ideal height.
He's looked good so far during offseason workouts and "appears comfortable" with NFL competition, John Oehser of Jaguars.com reports. Gratz has a chance to make an immediate impact as a rookie, and could develop into a shutdown corner in the Jaguars' new-look defense.
The Jaguars signed defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks as a free agent after he played his first four seasons with the AFC South rival Tennessee Titans. He's an experienced player who has played well in 23 starts over the last two seasons.
He was brought in to add competition to the defensive line, which he is embracing, according to John Oehser of Jaguars.com.
Marks has made the most of the competition during OTAs. Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country reports that the team is high on the fifth-year player, and one of the reasons Tyson Alualu was moved to defensive end was to get Marks on the field more.
Marks will take over Alualu's previous role of playing the 3-technique on the defensive line, which is designed for a penetrating defensive tackle who can reroute the ball-carrier to where the defense wants him to run.
He has quickly made a good first impression in Jacksonville and will positively contribute to the team's defense.
Linebacker Russell Allen has developed into a dependable player after being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2009.
He has started 21 of Jacksonville's last 22 games after being thrust into the lineup when Clint Session's future was put into doubt after suffering two concussions in a game against the Cleveland Browns in 2011.
Allen started every game last season, and was a solid but unspectacular player. He was a tackling machine and finished with the fifth-most total tackles in the league (107). He was also decent in pass coverage, as he recorded six pass defenses.
The Jaguars have a reliable outside linebacker in Allen. He will never be the flashiest player on the field, but he routinely gets the job done.
After playing his first three seasons at defensive tackle, the Jaguars moved Tyson Alualu to defensive end earlier in the offseason.
The reason for the move is two-fold. The first is because he fits schematically at defensive end in Jacksonville's new defense.
He will be playing a similar role to the one he did as a 3-4 defensive end during his collegiate career. He will be asked to hold the edge against the run while providing pressure on the quarterback on passing plays. Alualu said he feels comfortable returning to defensive end and feels the position plays to his strengths, according to an AP report.
The move isn't just for schematic reasons, though, as the transition to defensive end could have health implications, too. Alualu has battled a knee injury he suffered during training camp his rookie season, despite starting every game of his career. He underwent surgery prior to the 2011 season, and he said his knee is finally close to 100 percent, according to the AP report.
Dan Pompei of the National Football Post reports that lessening the stress on Alualu's knee played a key role in the position change.
He said the new position should mean "less wear and tear" on his knee, according to AP's Mark Long.
Alualu has yet to live up to the expectations of being the 10th overall pick in the 2010 draft, but injuries have slowed him down. Now that he's close to being healthy and playing his more natural position, he could be poised to have a breakout season.
The Jaguars claimed defensive tackle Kyle Love off waivers after he was released by the New England Patriots following him being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
He's confident that the diagnosis won't affect his game, according to an AP report. He downplayed the weight loss and said only five to 10 pounds was due to the disease, Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union reports.
Love was a very productive player for the Patriots over the last couple seasons. He's started 24 games over the past two seasons, and has 58 combined tackles and 4.5 sacks during that time.
Coach Bradley is impressed by Love's game tape, according to O'Halloran. He will likely play a variation of nose tackle tasked with taking up blockers to free up other defensive players, according to Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country.
The Jaguars signed Roy Miller in free agency to fill that same role, but it never hurts to have two players who can play well and rotate on the interior of the defensive line. If healthy, Love could compete for the starting role. At the very least, he would be in heavy rotation and see the field a lot in relief of other linemen.
The Jaguars made a big splash at the top of the second round of the draft by picking safety Johnathan Cyprien out of Florida International.
The organization was surprised that the safety was still available on the second day of the draft, Fox Sports Florida's Ken Hornack reports. He was drafted to help fix Jacksonville's depleted secondary, and is expected to be the team's Week 1 starter.
He's looked the part of an NFL starter so far this offseason. He was dominant during rookie minicamp and was described as a "man among boys" by AP's Mark Long. Cyprien has continued to play well during OTAs, and John Oehser of Jaguars.com said the rookie looks like an NFL starting safety.
Cyprien has the chance to be one of Jacksonville's premier players in the secondary during his rookie season. He has all the skills necessary to become a big-time playmaker in the NFL.
Brad Meester is the Jaguars' elder statesman as he has been with the organization since being drafted in the second round of the 2000 draft.
The center has been a model of consistency during his career. He's only missed 15 starts during his 13 years in the league, and none in the previous four years. He's allowed an average of just over two sacks a season while paving the way for running backs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew on the ground.
Meester's play dipped a little during the 2012 season, but the blame could be placed on the inconsistency of some of the other players on the offensive line.
He re-signed with the Jaguars to return for his 14th season and has been getting "rave reviews" from coach Bradley during offseason workouts, Vito Stellino of The Florida Times-Union reports.
Meester could return to form this year and give the organization another year of solid play at center. He will be asked to bridge the gap until the next center can be put in his place.
The Jaguars signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Roy Miller to a two-year, $4.5 million contract during free agency.
Miller won't show up on the stat sheet much, but he won't have to be an effective player. He will be asked to be a space-eater who can hold the point of attack against the run. He thrives in this role, as he helped lead the Bucs to the league's top-ranked rush defense last season by allowing only 82.5 yards a game.
He won't provide much as a pass-rusher, but he is a dominant run defender who will clog up the middle of the line. He will eat up blockers while allowing other players to run free.
Miller will be competing against fellow newcomer Kyle Love for the starting role. They should rotate plays to keep each other fresh, which should allow Jacksonville's rush-defense to drastically improve this season.
Dwight Lowery is one of the few holdovers from last year's defensive backfield, and his starting free safety job is one of the most secure jobs on the team.
He is a very good player when healthy, but he had a problem staying on the field last season. He missed seven games last season due to injuries before ending the the year on injured reserve due to a foot injury.
Lowery makes a difference when he is on the field. He recorded 31 tackles, four pass defenses and an interception in nine games last year.
He will provide a veteran presence in an inexperienced secondary. He's already been giving advice to second-round pick Johnathan Cyprien, according to Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country, so he appears to be comfortable in the role.
If Lowery is able to stay healthy, he should make a positive impact not only on the field, but in the development of the young defense, too.
The Jaguars were the butt of many jokes when they made punter Bryan Anger their third-round pick in the 2012 draft.
While it's impossible to justify drafting a punter that high in the draft, he was fantastic during his rookie season. He set rookie punting records for gross average yards per punt (47.8) and net average yards per punt (40.8). He also finished with the sixth-most punts inside the 20 (31).
Anger is one of the most talented players on the team, but his position makes it impossible to rank him any higher. Regardless, he's going to continue to be a weapon in the punting game.
Kicker Josh Scobee has become a favorite among Jaguars fans due his penchant for late-game heroics and his big leg.
The kicker, who is entering his 10th season, had another productive year last season. He made 89.3 percent of his field-goal attempts and was perfect inside 40 yards. He also had the second-highest number of touchbacks on kickoffs in his career with 26.
Scobee is going into the second year of a four-year, $13.8 million deal, so he will continue to make kicks for the Jaguars for several more seasons.
Much like Anger, Scobee's position makes it tough to rank him any higher despite his talent.
The Jaguars claimed Jason Babin off waivers late last season, and he quickly made an impact on the defensive line.
He'll move to the "Leo" position in coach Bradley's defense, similar to what Babin played with Philadelphia, where he recorded 23.5 sacks in under two seasons.
He already feels comfortable at the position, according to John Oehser of Jaguars.com. The new role plays to his strengths, and could help him return to being a dominant pass-rusher.
If Babin does get back to his dominant play, the Jaguars may finally get something resembling a respectable pass rush after totaling only 20 sacks as a team last year. He is entering his 10th season in the league, but he could still provide several years of productive play coming off the edge.
Justin Blackmon was poised to build upon his outstanding rookie season this year, but off-the-field problems will slow his progress.
The young receiver was suspended the first four games of the season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. Although the substance hasn't been revealed yet, Blackmon does have a history with alcohol abuse, as he was arrested for a DUI in 2012 with a blood-alcohol level of 0.24 percent, according to an AP report.
Blackmon's suspension triggers a clause in his contract that voids future guaranteed money, which means the Jaguars could release him without owing him any of the money remaining on his contract, per an AP report.
There is no doubting his talent on the field, as he led all rookies with 64 receptions and set franchise rookie receiving records in receptions, receiving yards (865), average yards per reception (13.5) and tied the record for touchdowns (five).
But as talented as he is on the field, he is at a crossroads off of it. He must prove himself to be committed to football and not make any more mistakes away from the game. If he does continue to have problems off the field, his career could be ruined.
Tight end Marcedes Lewis has never been able to replicate his Pro Bowl 2010 season since signing a five-year, $34 million contract following that year.
But that could change this year.
He could thank Jaguars' first-round pick Luke Joeckel if he does recreate his lone Pro Bowl season. Lewis has been acting as a third offensive tackle to cover the poor play of the right tackles over the last few years. He blocked on more the 25 percent of passing plays in 28 of 62 games over the past four seasons, per Adam Stites of Big Cat Country, which has limited his receiving opportunities.
Joeckel's presence at right tackle will allow Lewis those opportunities he's been missing. He feels rejuvenated and likes the new system offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch is installing, according to John Oehser of Jaguars.com.
Lewis could have a rebound year this season with all the changes in the organization, and play a key role in Jacksonville's offense.
Jacksonville's offensive line was among the weakest units of a horrible team last season. Most of the line's problems could be placed on the revolving door of poor play at right tackle.
The Jaguars fixed the offensive line problem by drafting tackle Luke Joeckel with the second-overall pick in this year's draft. He was considered the top offensive tackle prospect by Mel Kiper Jr. and Rob Rang entering the draft, and he has looked the part during OTAs, according to Jaguars.com's John Oehser.
Joeckel will provide much-needed consistent play at right tackle, which will improve the line as a whole. He will bookend the offensive line opposite of left tackle Eugene Monroe, and will give the quarterback—whomever it may be—more time in the pocket.
Right guard Uche Nwaneri is a solid player who provides quality play on the right side of the offensive line.
He's been a consistent presence on Jacksonville's line, missing just five games since 2008. He is a tough player who plays well in both run and pass protection.
Nwaneri's performance dipped last year, and he allowed a career-high 4.5 sacks. His play could be blamed on him overcompensating for terrible play at right tackle.
He should return to his 2011 form where he allowed just 1.5 sacks now that he has Joeckel playing beside him. Nwaneri is a solid player and is a key cog on Jacksonville's offensive line.
Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny is the best defensive player on the team and a leader on the young defense.
He is a tackling machine in the middle of Jacksonville's defense, and finished 2012 with the sixth-most total tackles in the league (106). He is also solid in coverage and recorded six pass defenses and three interceptions last year.
Posluszny is one of only a handful of returning players on the Jaguars defense, and is one of the best pure 4-3 middle linebackers in the league. He will anchor the middle of the defense against the run while providing some help in the passing game.
Posluszny will once again play a vital role for Jacksonville's defense and will continue to be one of the best player's on the team.
Cecil Shorts III had a breakout season during his sophomore campaign after struggling as a rookie.
He led the team with seven touchdowns and 979 receiving yards. He was just 21 yards short of becoming the first Jaguars receiver to break 1,000 yards in a season since Jimmy Smith did so in 2005, and is using the yardage as motivation, according to John Oehser of Jaguars.com.
Shorts said, via Oehser:
“It bothers me,” Shorts said with a laugh during the Jaguars’ voluntary offseason program, which continues next week with the final week of 2013 organized team activities at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields. “It doesn’t sit well.”
After fighting to make the roster last offseason, Shorts is firmly planted as Jacksonville's No. 1 receiver this offseason. He is continuing to develop his game to become an elite receiver, and Oehser thinks the third-year player is well on his way to becoming one.
The Jaguars will rely heavily on him throughout the season, especially in the first four games during Blackmon's suspension. Shorts proved he could be a reliable big play threat last season by having the ninth-most receptions of at least 20 yards (17), and he will have to continue to provide those plays this season.
Former general manager Gene Smith's first pick may have been his best, as 2009 first-round pick Eugene Monroe has anchored the offensive line at left tackle since being drafted.
He was Jacksonville's best offensive lineman by far last season. He didn't miss a snap and was called for six penalties, while being a strong presence in both run and pass protection.
Monroe is entering the final year of his rookie contract, but it's unlikely a new deal will be discussed during the season, per Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union.
With first-round pick Luke Joeckel taking over on the right side of the offensive line, the Jaguars would be smart to lock up Monroe long-term. The team would have one of the best tackle tandems in the league to bookend the offensive line.
As it stands now, though, the Jaguars have a great left tackle in Monroe.
Maurice Jones-Drew's distractions were supposed to be a thing of the past after holding out last season. He appeared to be a model player, and was committed to recovering from having foot surgery by working out in Miami.
But the distractions returned, as he was part of an altercation at a restaurant over Memorial Day weekend.
Jones-Drew's agent, Adisa Bakari, said that the star running back didn't hit anyone, NFL.com Chris Wesseling reports, but a statement from the victim's point of view contradicts the claim.
The lawyer for the Conch House, the location where the incident took place, issued a statement claiming a video caught Jones-Drew assaulting Kasim Howard, according to an NFL.com report.
The statement read, via NFL.com:
"Conch House security video captures Mr. Jones-Drew rapidly approaching Mr. Howard from the back-left side and sucker-punching him in the jaw," the statement reads. "As a result of this attack, Mr. Howard suffered a dislocated jaw and spinal injuries. He was hospitalized, later released and is recovering at home."
There have been no charges filed yet, and Jones-Drew's attorney said a decision regarding a charge is expected early next week, according to Wesseling.
Even if Jones-Drew doesn't get charged, the incident is a major distraction during the rehab process. He's been working to get back to 100 percent following surgery in December.
He is entering the final year of his contract. If this season is his swan song in Jacksonville, let's hope he doesn't go out on a sour note.
Even with all the recent legal issues, Jones-Drew is still the best player on the Jaguars. He is one of the best running backs in the league and is once again going to be one of the focal points of the offense.
Distractions or not, Jones-Drew will show up to play his hardest every week.