The Jacksonville Jaguars will pick 2nd in the 2013 NFL Draft, and there are a variety of very good reasons for that. They were so awful last season that they fired former head coach Mike Mularkey after just one season, and they brought in completely new management.
Jacksonville even decided to rid itself of its old logo, and get a completely new look.
Let’s face it–the Jaguars are probably going to have another down year in 2013. Their roster is just a mess right now, and they are going to need some serious re-tooling all across the board. Their offense and defense both ranked 30th in the NFL last season, so when the new league year begins, you can expect some major changes for Gus Bradley and the Jaguars.
Here are Jacksonville’s top team needs, in no particular order.
1. Pass Rush
The Jaguars aren’t getting anywhere anytime soon without a pass rush. They managed 20 sacks all of last season, which was worst in the NFL. That’s an incredible stat when you really think about it. They were barely able to muster up one sack per game, and an additional sack every fourth game. Jacksonville luckily is in position to grab one of the top pass rushers in the draft, and it looks like it will be hard for them to get their first pick wrong in that regard. There are a variety of guys they could take that would upgrade their pass rush situation, and there are also some interesting young names on the free agent market.
**Signed DT Roy Miller (Buccaneers)**
The Jaguars will be moving on from Blaine Gabbert soon enough if he can’t prove he was worthy of a top 15 draft selection this year. Chad Henne is a serviceable starter for a team with no aspirations of making the playoffs. I think Jacksonville needs to look in the 2nd round to pick up a quarterback like Matt Barkley or Landry Jones, maybe a guy like E.J. Manuel to have for the future of the franchise. This is not a good draft for quarterbacks, but it wouldn’t hurt to use a pick on a signal caller who has potential to be ‘the guy’ for this team. That’s got to be a high priority for the new regime in JAX.
Jacksonville desperately needs an upgrade at the guard position. Will Rackley was awful as a rookie and missed 2012 with an injury, so he will be expected to compete for a starting job but I don’t think you can really count on him if you’re the Jaguars. Maybe you have no other choice. Eben Britton is not a fit at the LG position either. They need an upgrade on the interior offensive line.
Brad Meester is a free agent and 36 years old. The center market is not strong this year, so the Jags may have to get creative. Maybe they could get lucky and find a guy like Barrett Jones sitting there with their second round pick, but otherwise, it’s pretty slim pickings. Perhaps Meester will come back for a year or so if he’s not ready to call it quits this offseason.
**Re-signed C Brad Meester**
This is another desperation area for the Jags with three of their top four players at the position set to hit free agency. Rashean Mathis, Derek Cox, and William Middleton are all free agents this offseason, and the Jaguars have nothing waiting in the wings. Cox should be a priority to bring back, but I think Mathis has probably played his last game as a Jaguar. He will likely look to play for a title contender in 2013. This is a deep position this year, so they should be able to get some talented players in free agency and the draft.
**Signed CB Alan Ball (Texans)**
**Re-signed CB Antwaun Molden**
6. Wide Receiver
I think the Jaguars have struck gold–finally–with Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts, who are only going to get better if you ask me. That said, Laurent Robinson was a terrible free agent acquisition and is contemplating retirement because of concussions. They need more talent at this position to surround their young quarterback, whether it’s Blaine Gabbert or someone else.
**Re-signed WR Jordan Shipley**
7. Running Back
Maurice Jones-Drew might not be a Jaguar much longer, and the team struggled to replace him last season. As little as he played (86 carries) he still managed to lead the team in rushing. You will probably see the Jags add some more talent at this position this offseason.
**Signed RB Justin Forsett (Texans)**
8. Outside Linebacker
I think Daryl Smith will be retained, but the way he has played the last few years, you have to wonder if he’ll be too pricey for the Jaguars. If he is, OLB becomes a huge need, even though they should seek some depth anyway.
**Signed LB Geno Hayes (Bears)**