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Last Year's Record: 7-9
Wins: Texans (twice), Titans, Rams, Chiefs, Jets, Bills
Losses: Colts (twice), Cardinals, Seahawks, Titans, 49ers, Dolphins, Patriots, Browns
Biggest Playmaker: Maurice Jones-Drew
RB, UCLA, Drafted No. 60, fifth year
MJD is coming off a pro bowl year when he ran for 1,391 yards and 15 touchdowns. He is the workhorse for the Jaguars, carrying the ball 312 times a year ago and has only missed one game in his first four seasons. In addition, he is also a very adept receiver out of the backfield, averaging 50 catches his first four years.
Impact Player: Kirk Morrison
MLB, San Diego State, Drafted No. 78, sixth year
Kirk Morrison was traded to the Jaguars this offseason from the Raiders. The Raiders received a fourth round pick, while the Jags got a fifth rounder and Kirk Morrison. The Jaguars got a great deal and a great player who will immediately start and improve the Jaguars’ defense. Morrison racked up 133 tackles, two sacks, and three forced fumbles a year ago.
Biggest Offseason Addition: Kassim Osgood
WR, San Diego State, Undrafted, eighth year
You may be asking why a wide receiver with seven years in the league and 33 career catches could be a big offseason addition, and it’s not because I think he is going to have a breakout year. Osgood has been to three of the last four Pro Bowls as a special teamer and is involved in pretty much every play on special teams.
Biggest Offseason Loss: Torry Holt
WR, NC State, Drafted No. 6, 12th Year
In 2009, Mike Sims-Walker emerged as a go-to receiver, but Torry Holt was still a valuable presence, catching 55 balls as the number two target. Mike Thomas caught 48 balls a year ago and is likely the second wide receiver, but the Jaguars’ receiving core lacks depth.
Biggest Draft Steal: Austen Lane
DE, Murray State, Drafted No. 153, Rookie
Austen Lane was a small-school talent who was projected to be picked around the third round. The Jaguars picked him up with the Raiders fith round pick. Lane is a hustler who plays with a high motor.
He was recently quoted saying, “I don’t have a goal for sacks, but I have a goal for putting people in the hospital.” Lane is expected to contribute early in his career.
Biggest Draft Reach: D’Anthony Smith
DT, Lousiana Tech, Drafted No. 74, Rookie
Many people say that the Jaguars drafting Tyson Alualu with the 10th overall pick was the reach of the draft, but how about the fact that they picked another defensive tackle with their next pick? Picking Smith in the early third round was a bit of a reach, regardless of the fact they just reached on another player of the same position.
I’m not sure why they couldn’t have kept John Henderson and used one or both of these picks to address other needs.
Offseason Grade: B-
The trade with the Raiders for Kirk Morrison and the pick that the Jags used to select Austen Lane was a very valuable one. They also added DE Aaron Kampan who hopes to get back to top form when he moves back to a 4-3 end. However, their draft was far less than superb.
X-Factor: Second and Third Wide Receivers
With the departure of veteran WR Torry Holt, the Jaguars need some inexperienced wide receivers to show up and make plays to help QB David Garrard. Mike Thomas will be the No. 2 receiver, with Jarrett Dillard and Tiquan Underwood pushing to be the third receiver.
Name You Should Know: David Garrard
QB, East Carolina, Drafted No. 108, ninth year
David Garrard was probably the least known quarterback in the pro bowl in 2009. However, he was the eighth quarterback chosen for the AFC team as five other players withdrew. Garrard and the Jaguars are excited about the young talent at wide receiver, but Garrard needs to play consistently well or could see himself out of a starting job.
Rising Star: Mike Sims-Walker
WR, Central Florida, Drafted No. 79, fourth year
Mike Sims-Walker emerged as a number one receiver last year, tallying 63 catches for 869 yards and seven touchdowns in his first year as a starter. Sims-Walker will have to prove he can repeat his success, and with young receivers developing around him, his numbers could increase this year.
Offensive Outlook: C+
The Jaguars have a franchise running back in Maurice Jones-Drew, but if he were to ever go down, they are in trouble. They have a very inexperienced receiving core, and their offensive line is very shaky. They allowed 126 quarterback hits last year, the most in the league (by 20!). David Garrard needs to be consistent, but the amount he is pressured is tough to overcome.
Defensive Outlook: C
The addition and resurgence of DE Aaron Kampman will hopefully bolster the Jaguars’ miserable pass rush of 2009, but they are very young on the inside. Kirk Morrison leads a fairly strong linebacker committee that includes Daryl Smith and Justin Durant. The secondary is very weak.
Special Teams Outlook: B-
Josh Scobee is coming off a very forgettable year in which he connected on just 18 of 28 field goal attempts, while punter Adam Podlesh averaged just under 42 yards per punt, but did managed 23 kicks inside the 20 to just five touchbacks. Montell Owens may have been the AFC Special Teams representative in the pro bowl last year if it weren't for current teammate Kassim Osgood. The Jaguars will likely look to rookies in the return game. Running back Deji Karim and cornerback Scotty McGee already have kick returns over 45 yards through the first two games of the preseason.
Projected 2010 Record: 4-12
The Jaguars currently have the fifth hardest schedule in the NFL, based on 2009 team records. They play in a very strong division with the Titans, Texans, and Colts. During their 7-9 campaign in 2009, their non-divisional games included the Rams, Chiefs, Bills, Seahawks, 49ers and Browns, and they only won two games by seven or more points (won games by three [overtime], three, two, three and five). The Jaguars are very inexperienced and have too many weaknesses to challenge in the AFC South.
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