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Grading Every Jacksonville Jaguars' Major Offseason Move to Date

Jon ShumakeContributor IIIOctober 23, 2016

Grading Every Jacksonville Jaguars' Major Offseason Move to Date

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    2013 has been a year of change for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    Following a franchise-worst 2-14 record in 2012, the organization cleaned house in the front office by hiring David Caldwell as the new general manager. It also brought in a new coaching regime by hiring former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley as head coach.

    The changes didn't exclude players, either, as the team has been overhauling its roster during the offseason. It has parted ways with many veterans who have been underperforming, while adding hungry young players to the mix.

    Many of the moves Caldwell has made didn't even register a blip on the national radar as he has been signing players to low-risk contracts. Still, there have been a few major transactions the Jaguars have participated in during the first year of their rebuild.

    Is Jacksonville building to a bright future with these transactions? Or is it just a continuation of what Jaguars fans are used to seeing?

    Here is a grade for every major transaction the team has made this offseason.

Alan Ball

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    Alan Ball toiled in relative obscurity through his first six seasons in the league playing primarily as a backup and special teams for the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, but he'll have a chance to play a much bigger role in Jacksonville.

    Ball, who signed a two-year deal for $2 million, has the opportunity to compete for a starting job in Jacksonville's rebuilt secondary, according to The Florida Times-Union's Vito Stellino. He's started just three games over the past two years, but he could be poised to play an integral part for the Jaguars defense.

    His size (6'2", 197 lbs) should allow him to succeed in coach Bradley's press-coverage defense. He will be able to use his size to disrupt receivers at the line of scrimmage.

    Ball is the prototype of the type of player GM Caldwell has been signing this offseason: veteran players who bring experience and have something to prove. He will be given a chance to be a full-time starter for the first time in career in Jacksonville.

    If he's able to handle the pressure, he could be a solid signing for the Jaguars, but it's far from a sure thing.

    Rating: C+

Justin Forsett

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    After one season with the AFC South rival Houston Texans, Justin Forsett signed a two-year, $2 million contract with Jacksonville in free agency.

    Other than Maurice Jones-Drew, Forsett is the most experienced player in the Jaguars' young backfield. His experience will give him the edge over the other running backs to be Jones-Drew's primary backup.

    He also brings a familiarity with the coaching staff. He played in Seattle when both coach Bradley and offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch were with the team.

    The fifth-year running back could play a vital role early in the season as Jones-Drew continues to recover from surgery. Forsett could see a lot of snaps in relief of Jones-Drew so he won't overexert himself and re-injure himself.

    He's not the most exciting player on Jacksonville's offense, but he should be a solid contributor for the team this season.

    Rating: C+

Geno Hayes

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    The Jaguars kicked off their free agency signings by inking a two-year, $1.95 million contract with sixth-year linebacker Geno Hayes.

    He played for coach Bradley during his rookie year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was in Chicago last year with defensive coordinator Bob Babich. He brings knowledge of the system the Jaguars are going to implement this season, which will help the defense transition to the schemes.

    Hayes was productive in Tampa Bay early in his career, but he struggled to see the field last year with the Bears. He started just three games and had only 16 combined tackles.

    He is going to have to earn the starting outside linebacker job for the Jaguars, according to Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union. He has a massive experience edge on his competition, and he should be a shoo-in for the role.

    Hayes is a solid but unspectacular player whose knowledge of the defense should benefit the unit as a whole.

    Grade: C

Kyle Love

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    The Jaguars claimed Kyle Love off waivers after the New England Patriots released him following him being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

    He has been a very productive player in New England over the course of his career. He's started 24 games over the past two seasons and has 58 combined tackles and 4.5 sacks during that time.

    His skills will never be questioned, but how will the positive diabetes diagnosis affect his game?

    Love doesn't think it will, according to an Associated Press report. He said diabetes hasn't affected his weight much, and attributes five to 10 pounds to the disease, per Ryan O'Halloran of The Florida Times-Union.

    He will be asked to play a variation of nose tackle where his primary task will be to eat blocks to free other defenders, Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country reports.

    Love has shown he has the abilities to be a very good player in the NFL, but it remains to be seen just how Type 2 diabetes will affect how he plays. If healthy, he could compete for a starting job for the Jaguars. Claiming him off waivers was a great move by GM Caldwell because Love could be a valuable player for the team in the coming years.

    Grade: A

Sen'Derrick Marks

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    The Jaguars signed defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks to add competition to the defensive line. He's a seasoned player who has played well in 23 games over the past two seasons for the Tennessee Titans.

    Marks is embracing the competition so far during offseason workouts. Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country reports the team is high on him, and one of the reasons the team moved Tyson Alualu to defensive end was to get the fifth-year defensive tackle on the field more.

    He will claim Alualu's previous role of playing the 3-technique, which is designed for a penetrating defensive tackle who can interrupt plays in the backfield. Although Marks has just three career sacks, he also adds nine stuffs. He should be able to penetrate more playing alongside Love and Roy Miller.

    His contract is low risk (one-year, $1.5 million), so it won't hurt much if he doesn't perform well. But the Jaguars could have gotten a productive player who can stop the opposing team in their own backfield for a bargain price.

    Grade: B

Mohamed Massaquoi

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    Mohamed Massaquoi will get the chance to jumpstart what was once a promising career in Jacksonville.

    His production has dropped each season since hauling in 34 receptions for 624 yards during his rookie season in 2009. He hit career lows last season with just 17 catches for 234 yards.

    Maybe a change of scenery is all he needs, and Jacksonville can't be more different than his former home in Cleveland.

    Massaquoi could get a chance early in the season to revive his career as he could have the chance to win the starting role during Justin Blackmon's four-game suspension. He is the most experienced wide receiver on the team and is a good fit on the outside opposite of Cecil Shorts III.

    Massaquoi has had a disappointing career, but he's worth taking a flyer on with his cheap (two-year, $1.7 million) contract. If he's able to regain the form he had early in his career, the Jaguars could have another receiver to add to a deep receiving corps.

    Grade: C

Brad Meester

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    Brad Meester re-signed for his 14th NFL season when he inked a one-year deal worth slightly more than $1 million earlier in the offseason.

    He is the only Jaguars player remaining from the Tom Coughlin era as the center has been with the team since being drafted in the second round of the 2000 draft, and he has been a model of consistency during his career. He's only missed 15 games over the course of his career, and none in the past four years. His 74-game starting streak is the second-longest streak among centers.

    Meester has been a very good player for the majority of his career as he's allowed an average of just over two sacks per season while paving the way for running backs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew.

    Although he's 36, he has shown no signs of slowing down; Vito Stellino of The Florida Times-Union reports the center received "rave reviews" from coach Bradley during offseason workouts.

    This season will likely be Meester's final season in the league. He will provide much-needed veteran leadership on the young team. He also provides a one-year stopgap until GM Caldwell and the Jaguars are able to find the long-term solution at center.

    Grade: B

Roy Miller

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    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers boasted the league's best rush defense last season, and much of the credit could be given to defensive tackle Roy Miller.

    Although his stats don't off the page, Miller played a key role in Tampa Bay's defense. He ate up space in the interior of the defensive line who held the point of attack against the run and freed other defenders to disrupt plays at the line of scrimmage.

    He'll be asked to do the same thing with the Jaguars after signing a two-year, $4.5 million contact in free agency.

    Knee tendinitis forced him to miss the majority of offseason workouts, but GM Caldwell said it's no longer an issue, according to AP's Mark Long.

    Miller will be competing with fellow newcomer Love for the starting role. Even if he doesn't win the starting job, he will be in heavy rotation and see a lot of snaps, which will drastically improve Jacksonville's rush defense.

    Grade: A

Jordan Shipley

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    Jordan Shipley played well in a limited role after the Jaguars signed him late last season.

    He caught 23 passes for 244 yards and a touchdown in six games with the team in 2012. He performed well enough for the Jaguars to re-sign him to a two-year, $1.35 million deal earlier in the offseason.

    Like Massoquoi, Shipley is an option to fill in for Blackmon during his suspension. Shipley is one of the most experienced receivers in the group, which could benefit him in the competition to be Blackmon's replacement.

    Shipley would be better suited to remain in the slot, however. His skills suit him playing as the slot receiver and he should be able to find open spots on the field to help the team move the ball down the field.

    Shipley is poised to build off a solid second-half of 2012 to continue getting his career back on track after knee injuries almost derailed him. The low-risk deal will give him the chance to do just that, while giving the Jaguars the opportunity to evaluate him without worrying about an enormous contract. If Shipley is finally recovered from his injuries, then he could be a major contributor to Jacksonville's offense.

    Grade: B

Marcus Trufant

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    The Jaguars signed cornerback Marcus Trufant May 7, and the 11-year veteran reunited with former defensive coordinator Bradley.

    Trufant played under the new head coach during the last four years in Seattle and brings knowledge and experience of Bradley's defense to the inexperienced secondary. He is being asked to help the young secondary learn the new scheme, according to John Oehser of Jaguars.com.

    But he wasn't just signed to be a teacher; he is a football player after all. AP's Mark Long reports that Trufant will be given the chance to compete to be Jacksonville's nickelback.

    Trufant may be in the twilight of his career, but he would still make significant contributions to the Jaguars. He'll be able to act as a coach on the field to help the young players learn the new defense, while still being able to make plays in the secondary. Trufant's signing was an important one to add experience to the young secondary.

    Grade: B

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