Most Indispensable Jaguars

Injuries are a way of life in the NFL. Each team will experience them and the good teams have enough depth to minimize those losses. Find out who the Jaguars can least afford to lose entering the 2011 season and the top player just may surprise you.

#6 Most Indispensable- Maurice Jones-Drew

There's no doubt that running back Maurice Jones-Drew is the Jaguars most explosive player and the Jacksonville offense wouldn't be the same without him. That said, backup running back Rashad Jennings proved himself to be a capable ball carrier a season ago and if Jones-Drew should go down for a period of time the Jacksonville offense wouldn't suffer as much as many would believe.

#5 Most Indispensable- Mike Thomas

Jaguars wide receiver Mike Thomas broke out in 2010 as he caught 66 passes for 820 yards with four touchdowns. Thomas feasted on man coverage a season ago and catches most balls thrown his way. Thomas is also the Jaguars most reliable punt return man as he can make defenders miss and is usually careful with the football.

The team thought so much of Mike Thomas that they jettisoned former number one wideout Mike Sims-Walker and Thomas will be the leader of the receiving corps. Thomas will be depended upon to sit down in zones and also beat one-on-one and sometimes double coverage this season and if he goes down, a receiving corps of Jason Hill, Cecil Shorts and Jarett Dillard isn't going to scare many defenses.

#4 Most Indispensable- Terrance Knighton

The Jaguars powerful defensive tackle has ascended to the status of one of the league's best as Knighton sheds blocks as well as anyone and holds up at the point of attack. On a defense with very few stars, Knighton is probably the best player and although he may not have the first-round draft pedigree of Tyson Alualu, Knighton is the closest thing the Jaguars have to an impact player on that side of the football. Although we like Leger Douzable as a rotational guy, Knighton's presence would be sorely missed if absent for an extended period of time.

#3 Most Indispensable- Marcedes Lewis

The former first-round draft pick seemingly put it all together in 2010 as Lewis had a career year with 58 receptions for 700 yards and 10 touchdowns. Lewis has been a punishing blocker since his rookie season and when called upon in the passing game, Lewis was stellar. Lewis is one of only two impact players the Jaguars have on offense and without him on the football field Jacksonville would look for plays from Zach Miller and Zach Potter, neither of which have accomplished much.

#2 Most Indispensable- Eugene Monroe

Although Monroe was somewhat maligned for his play last season as he was credited for allowing 6.5 sacks, the Jaguars strong left tackle has improved greatly and was solid in division play. One can make the argument that Monroe has been the best left tackle of his draft class and without him the Jaguars really don't have a viable option on the left side to protect Blaine Gabbert or David Garrard.

#1 Most Indispensable- Rashean Mathis

Mathis had far from his best season in 2010 and the statistics would show that he's in somewhat of a decline, but there's no argument that would suggest that Mathis wasn't the best player in the Jaguars secondary last season and will likely have that status again in 2011. Mathis was hurt by atrocious safety play behind him but he was still the player that opponents stayed away from in crunch time. A cornerback tandem of Derek Cox, who still hasn't proven himself to be worthy of an NFL starting job, and William Middleton would have opposing offensive coordinators salivating when they see Jacksonville on the schedule.

Charlie Bernstein is the host of "The Sports Crunch" on the Aquarius 7 Broadcasting Network (national), and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie

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