Jacksonville Jaguars: 5 Offseason moves the team needs to make

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Jalen Ramsey /

The Jacksonville Jaguars might be the surprise of the season, but after losing in the AFC Championship Game here are five moves they need to make in the offseason.

For the better part of the 2018 AFC Championship Game, it looked as if the Jacksonville Jaguars were going to shock the world again. After topping the Steelers in the Divisional Round, they appeared poised to topple the vaunted New England Patriots. Instead, they fell victim to Tom Brady and a fourth-quarter comeback.

Albeit a flawed team, the Jaguars have been fun all season long to this point. However, their road has now come to an end and they are staring the 2018 offseason in the face. They’ve been big players in recent years, but will they be again?

Here are five things the Jaguars need to do in the offseason.

5. Make a decision at the quarterback position

While Blake Bortles may have led the Jacksonville Jaguars team to the AFC Championship Game this season, there are a lot of questions about his future with the team. Bortles is widely seen as a subpar quarterback who benefits from an elite defense and strong rushing attack. If that is true and the team still almost made the Super Bowl then just imagine what an elite passer could accomplish on that team.

Still, the Jaguars know what they have in Bortles. Bortles is well acquainted with the system that the Jaguars run and Jacksonville understands his skill set and is able to work around it through their game planning. Sometimes the devil you know is better than the one you don’t.

Either way, the Jaguars will need to make a decision at the quarterback position. They can address the issue in the draft, which is expected to be one of the deepest quarterback classes in recent memory, or sign one of the free agents expected to be on the market this offseason, such as Kirk Cousins or Tyrod Taylor. However, we should not count out Bortles staying with the team as he just led them to probably their greatest season in franchise history.

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4. Get more playmakers at wide receiver

The Jaguar’s best receiver, Allen Robinson, went down in Week 1 with a season-ending injury and the team still made it to the AFC Championship. Now Robinson will be a free agent and they could certainly lose him if they are unwilling to give him a large contract. If Robinson leaves the Jaguars will need to find a way to replace an elite talent at the receiver position.

It is far more likely the Jaguars would draft a talented receiver than sign a veteran in free agency for two reasons. First, if they are unwilling to pay Robinson to keep them why would they pay a different receiver who would in all likelihood still be a downgrade from the underrated Robinson. Second, Jacksonville was able to get a surprising amount of production out of their young receivers after Robinson’s injury and seem to have great luck in drafting stars in recent years.

3. Improve their tackle play

If Leonard Fournette was drafted to be the key to Jacksonville’s offense it is now time to give him the tools to succeed. Jeremy Parnell, the Jaguars starting right tackle, was ranked by Pro Football Focus Edge as the 23rd ranked tackle this season. While that isn’t terrible, considering there are 64 starting tackles in the NFL, it shouldn’t be considered adequate for a team built on rushing the ball.

If Jaguars are going to pay big for any position in free agency it should be for one on the offensive line. Drafting tackles, especially in the early rounds, has been risky in recent seasons as many take a few years to truly develop into an elite player. Still, this position should be a high priority for a team looking to continue a run of success built on the foundation of a strong defense and deadly rushing attack.

2. Continue improving their secondary

The Jaguars made it to the AFC Championship Game on the back of a fantastic defense and there seems no reason to stop that plan now. While Jalen Ramsey already appears to be one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL in just his second year, there is still room to improve in other positions.

Jacksonville’s safety play has been good but not great during the season and cornerback A.J. Bouye, who looked almost as good as Ramsey during the regular season, struggled in both the AFC Divisional and AFC Championship games for the Jaguars. Jacksonville has built their team almost entirely through the draft and it seems like that would be the best place to continue building their secondary, which could become a historic defense if it continues to get better,

1. Add depth to the defensive line

Similarly to the last move, this one is about continuing to get better where you are already great. While Jacksonville’s defensive line has been impressive for the majority of the season, adding some young depth could go a long way to improving an already incredibly talented unit.

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The Jaguars defensive line is filled with veterans, including 31-year old Calais Campbell, and adding youth could provide a spark to make the defense even better than it was this season. If the Jaguars are capable of finding high-level talent in the mid-rounds of the draft, as they did with Yannick Ngakoue, they would be setting up this defense for future success as much as current.