Breaking Down the Final Roster

Saturday was the day of final cuts around the NFL, and the Jaguars trimmed their roster from 75 to the mandated 53. Now we are going to look at the strengths and weaknesses of each position group on the Jaguars current 53-man roster, and grade them out.

There were certainly a few surprises among those cuts, and we examined and analyzed them HERE

Here is the new positional breakdown:

Quarterbacks- David Garrard, Quinn Gray

    The quarterback situation is all anyone can talk about when referring to the Jaguars, due to the release of former starting quarterback, Byron Leftwich. Although we at JagNation certainly disagree with the timing of this move, there were certainly questions about the position, even with Leftwich. Now the Jaguars have turned the reigns over to David Garrard, who is a superior athlete, and has all the physical skills to be a solid NFL starting quarterback. Accuracy and decision making has been the only two things that have kept Garrard as a backup up to this point, and although he has appeared to be much more accurate in preseason, he hasn't shown anything that would have us believe that he's a better decision maker.

    Quinn Gray is a preseason Pro Bowler, but is pretty much unproven in regular season action, as he's played less than a full game in his career.

    Final grade: 3/5- Biggest question is if Garrard is ready to play against defenses that will force him to beat them with his arm.


Running Backs- Fred Taylor, Maurice Jones-Drew, LaBrandon Toefield, Greg Jones, Montell Owens

    The Jaguars running back position is not only the strongest position on the team, but one of the very best in the league. Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew are legitimate stars, and Greg Jones is great in short yardage. Filling in if there are any injuries will be the somewhat disgruntled, yet talented LaBrandon Toefield. Toefield is a tough runner, who happens to be buried on the Jaguars depth chart. Montell Owens is a special teams contributor mostly, but he has shown a nice set of hands out of the backfield.

    Final grade: 5/5- No question marks. If they stay remotely healthy, they'll be one of the best units in the NFL.


Wide Receivers- Dennis Northcutt, Ernest Wilford, Reggie Williams, Matt   Jones, John Broussard

    The Jaguars wide receivers have had a reputation for being one of the worst units in the league over the last few years. This season, they added speed in Dennis Northcutt and John Broussard, as well as the talented, yet underachieving Williams, Wilford, and Jones. It is likely that this unit will take a step forward this season, because there is too much talent for them to continue to underachieve. The real question is if David Garrard will be able to get them the football consistently.

    Final grade 3.1/5- They have speedy guys, they have tough guys, will they be able to get open consistently?


Tight Ends- Marcedes Lewis, George Wrighster, Greg Estandia, Richard Angulo

    The Jaguars tight ends should take on more of a pass catching role this season with new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who emphasizes the use of tight ends in the passing game. Lewis is a big target with nice hands, Wrighster is an athletic guy, and Estandia has been a nice surprise throughout preseason. Richard Angulo should be used more for blocking than anything else.

    Final grade 3.1/5- Although the talent is there, they are all unproven. Can they step up?


Offensive Line- Khalif Barnes, Vince Manuwai, Brad Meester, Chris Naeole, Tony Pashos, Maurice Williams, Uche Nwaneri, Dennis Norman, Richard Collier

    The Jaguars offensive line was fantastic last season, and they look even better on paper with the addition of Tony Pashos. Unfortunately, they've underachieved in preseason, and we're not sure if that actually means anything. The line's job just got a little easier with the move at quarterback, but they will still have to open holes for the running game, something they didn't really practice much in the preseason.

    Final grade 4.3/5- The line was great last year after a poor preseason showing, lets see if that becomes a trend.


Defensive Ends- Paul Spicer, Bobby McCray, Reggie Hayward, Brent Hawkins, Kenny Pettway

    The Jaguars defensive ends certainly have some health questions with Paul Spicer and Reggie Hayward, and are more situational than anything else. McCray and Hawkins are great pass rushers, but are suspect against the run. Spicer and Pettway play the run well, but don't get to the passer as well as McCray and Hawkins. Hayward is the most complete player, but how healthy will he be coming off a season-ending ruptured Achilles?

    Final grade 3.5/5- It will be up to defensive coordinator Mike Smith to guess correctly with personnel.


Defensive Tackles- John Henderson, Marcus Stroud, Tony McDaniel, Rob Meier, Derek Landri

    The Jaguars defensive tackle rotation is the best in the NFL, definitively. John Henderson and Marcus Stroud are the very best tandem in the league, and Rob Meier and Tony McDaniel can start for most teams. The addition of rookie Derek Landri gives the team another player who can get to the passer from the tackle position.

    Final grade 5/5- As long as they stay healthy, the DT position has no questions.


Linebackers- Mike Peterson, Daryl Smith, Clint Ingram, Justin Durant, Brian Iwuh, Pat Thomas

    The Jaguars linebackers are as fast of a group as any in the league, when healthy. Mike Peterson is coming off a season-ending torn pectoral, but he seems to be playing at his usual high level. Both Clint Ingram and Pat Thomas had injuries that cost them to miss considerable time in preseason, but both are expected to be back in time for the season opener. Daryl Smith is solid, and Justin Durant and Brian Iwuh are very speedy.

    Final grade 4/5- There are some minor injury concerns, but if this group is healthy they are as good as any.


Cornerbacks- Rashean Mathis, Brian Williams, Aaron Glenn, Scott Starks, Terry Cousin

    The Jaguars starting corners, Rashean Mathis and Brian Williams are one of the top pairs in the league. There are some definite depth concerns with Cousin seemingly lost a step or two, and Starks being inexperienced. The team recently signed Aaron Glenn, who was released from Dallas. Glenn is another experienced veteran, but it is unclear how much gas he has left in the tank.

    Final grade 3.8/5- As long as they stay healthy, they are fine. This position doesn't have the depth that can sustain numerous injuries.


Safeties- Gerald Sensabaugh, Reggie Nelson, Sammy Knight, Chad Nkang

    The Jaguars safeties are full of potential and questions. Sensabaugh and Nelson could be the best pair of safeties in team history, but they're young, and Nelson is completely unproven. Sammy Knight is a veteran strong safety, but he is no longer good in coverage. Reggie Nelson injured his ankle in the Jaguars second preseason game and is expected to be ready to go on opening day. Chad Nkang is a special teams contributor.

    Final grade 3/5- Nobody knows what to expect from these guys when the real bullets fly. Will Nelson be ready, and if so, he has missed a lot of valuable reps in the preseason. The good news is that with a strong front seven, the Jaguars can take a lot of pressure off these guys, and almost "hide" the safeties.


Special Teams- Josh Scobee, Joe Zelenka, Adam Podlesh

    Tons of potential, but not a great deal has been proven. Josh Scobee has as strong of a leg as anyone, but he must be more consistent from over 40 yards. Joe Z. is a consistent long-snapper, who seemingly never makes a mistake. Adam Podlesh is a rookie who was handed the punting job, but has looked very average in the preseason.

    Final grade 3.2/5- If Scobee can get more consistent, and Podlesh can do what the front office thinks he can do, the Jaguars special teams will be special yet again.






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