Jaguars Draft/Free Agency Primer

Coming off a disappointing 5-11 season the Jaguars clearly have multiple needs on both sides of the ball. They will use free agency and the draft to address as many of these needs as possible and we are going to break down each position group and examine what is the most likely avenue the team will go to strengthen it. We will begin with the offense.


Although he struggled mightily for much of the season, Blaine Gabbert will receive a second season as starting quarterback. Gabbert will likely be backed up by veteran Luke McCown.

How big is the need at quarterback on a scale of 1-10? 6. Blaine Gabbert didn't show much to inspire confidence during his rookie season but there's no way that they're giving up on him after just one year with awful receivers. They can upgrade the backup position but even that isn't a likelihood.

Will they upgrade through free agency or the draft? No. They could take a late round developmental guy but that won't figure in to any competition.

Running backs

The Jaguars are as strong as any team in the backfield with First-team All-Pro Maurice Jones-Drew and a more than capable backup in Rashad Jennings. Add in Greg Jones and the Jags are in the conversation of the best running back stable in football.

How big is the need at running back on a scale of 1-10? 1. The team already has the best running back in football and a backup who can start for a lot of teams.

Will they upgrade through free agency or the draft? No. The team might possibly take a late-round back if he's very talented to challenge for third-string and on special teams. Maybe even a third-down back who can return kicks.

Wide Receivers

The only locks to return at wide receiver are Mike Thomas and Cecil Shorts. Decisions will have to be make on Chastin West, Taylor Price and Jarett Dillard who flashed at times.

How big is the need at wide receiver on a scale of 1-10? 10 (only because we can't use a higher number than 10). The Jaguars don't have an average NFL wide receiver on their roster. The 2011 group was truly one of the very worst in league history.

Will they upgrade through free agency or the draft? Yes. It's expected that the Jaguars will address the wide receiver position in free agency as there projects to be a very nice class. Some veteran receivers will help Blaine Gabbert right away and it will help them figure out if Gabbert can play. The team will likely draft wide receivers as well but probably not early on.

Tight Ends

The Jaguars are hoping that former Pro Bowler Marcedes Lewis can look something like the player he was in 2010. Lewis went from 10 touchdowns to no touchdowns last season, and was noticeably slower off the line and dropped plenty of catchable passes. Zach Potter is a nice blocking end and the team will have to make a decision on Zach Miller, who is routinely injured.

How big is the need at tight end on a scale of 1-10? 6. Lewis must return to form and beyond him you really can't trust Zach Miller. Potter is a nice third tight end option but he lacks athleticism.

Will they upgrade through free agency or the draft? Yes. This is a position that likely will be addressed in the draft. The team won't spend any legitimate money on the position while Marcedes Lewis is under contract and a middle round tight end may just be what the doctor ordered.

Offensive Line

The Jaguars offensive line is mostly average from top to bottom and they can use more depth and possibly two starters. Eugene Monroe hasn't been the stud he was expected to be when drafted at pick number nine and Eben Britton simply can't play. The interior line is good with Uche Nwaneri and Brad Meester was solid. Rookie Will Rackley struggled mightily in 2011.

How big is the need on the offensive line on a scale of 1-10? 8. The Jaguars can't pretend that Eben Britton is a good football player any longer. It's time to cut bait and Guy Whimper isn't a legitimate answer either. The team is very thin on the line.

Will they upgrade through free agency or the draft? Yes. The free agent offensive tackle field will likely be a little thin but Saints guard Carl Nicks is available at guard. It's possible that the Jaguars spend some free agency money on the line as well as draft offensive line early and often. Don't be shocked if the Jags spend their first round pick on an offensive tackle.

Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering 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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