Jacksonville Jaguars: Immediate 53 Man Roster Cut Predictions Post Falcons Game
With the preseason finale behind us, the Jaguars now shift their full attention to the regular-season opener. But before they can get to that, they’ll have to sort out the remaining question marks with their roster.
The Jaguars will need to cut their roster from 75 to 53 over the upcoming days.
Before the finale against the Falcons started, players like Stephen Morris, Mike Brewster and Mike Brown were on the bubble.
Did their performance in the final game seal their fate?
Which other players are at risk of getting cut?
The answers to those questions and more are here in my 53-man roster projection.
Let’s take a look.
In: Chad Henne, Blake Bortles
Out: Ricky Stanzi, Stephen Morris
The Jaguars are pretty set here at quarterback. Blake Bortles is definitely the future at the position and proved as much posting a preseason total of 521 yards and two touchdowns.
Bortles will start sooner than later, but until then, Chad Henne will be holding his place. Henne is the quintessential veteran teacher—he’s a journeyman who has a lot of experience in a lot of schemes and environments.
Neither Stephen Morris nor Ricky Stanzi were impressive in the preseason, and the Jaguars shouldn’t take up a roster spot to keep them.
In: Toby Gerhart, Denard Robinson, Jordan Todman, Storm Johnson, Will Ta’ufo’ou
The Jaguars will carry four running backs and a fullback. There is too much talent here that can develop.
The Jaguars will keep Toby Gerhart as their bell-cow, and he should see close to 300 carries this season. As for the other backs, they each have specific traits to like which make them valuable headed into the future.
Denard Robinson is a flashy big-play threat who could be special in a change-of-pace role. Todman and Johnson are both fluid all-around backs who are good pass-blockers and tough runners between the tackles.
This should be a fun group to pay attention to over the next year or so.
In: Cecil Shorts, Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Mike Brown
Out: Kerry Taylor, Tandon Doss
Suspended: Justin Blackmon, Ace Sanders
With Ace Sanders on suspension, the Jaguars could easily only carry five receivers to start the season.
The most notable keeper here is Allen Hurns, who absolutely dominated this preseason. With his size (6’3”, 195 lbs) and preseason production (14 receptions, 232 yards), he could be in line for an increased role in the offense as early as Week 1.
The other players were relative locks. Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee were both second-round draft picks that promise to make a big impact immediately. Shorts and Brown are team veterans who have both brought a lot to the team.
Overall, Cecil Shorts remains the leader of this group. He’s a proven NFL wide receiver and should have a very productive year.
In: Marcedes Lewis, Clay Harbor, Marcel Jensen
Out: Brandon Barden, D.J. Tialavea
There are some questions with this year’s tight end group, but it seems that Marcedes Lewis remains the front man. Clay Harbor has missed most of the preseason with a calf injury, but he’s so talented that his absence won’t make much of a difference.
The tough choice comes down to the third tight end. The battle is really between Brandon Barden and Marcel Jensen. Jensen was more productive as both a blocker and receiver. His skill set is similar to that of Marcedes Lewis and really fits this offense well. For Barden, he might have lost his spot Thursday night against the Falcons when he missed a few big blocks that put Bortles under pressure.
In: Luke Joeckel, Zane Beadles, Luke Bowanko, Brandon Linder, Austin Pasztor, Cameron Bradfield, Jacques McClendon, Sam Young, Free-agent/Waiver-wire claim
Out: Josh Wells, Cody Booth, Drew Nowak, Tyler Shatley, Mike Brewster
Likely the biggest concern on the entire team, the offensive line is young and has been very inconsistent throughout the preseason.
Of course, Luke Joeckel and Zane Beadles are locks. Both of those guys are veteran players with extreme potential.
The questions begin everywhere else.
Rookies Brandon Linder and Luke Bowanko should be starters when the team opens in Philadelphia. Both players have gotten better each week and have been the best interior lineman on the team.
The big “out” here is Mike Brewster. Brewster was considered the starting center before training camp. However, after another bad snap Thursday against the Falcons (third in the preseason), Brewster has shown he can’t be relied upon. He hasn't played well enough to keep a roster spot.
Instead, I believe this team will scour the waiver wire for a veteran guard to help coach Brandon Linder.
In: Red Bryant, Roy Miller, Sen’Derrick Marks, Chris Clemons, Tyson Alualu, Ziggy Hood, Andre Branch, Ryan Davis, Chris Smith, Abry Jones
Out: Ricky Havill-Heimuli, Gerald Rivers
The defensive line is easily the strongest part of this team. Led by Chris Clemons, this unit is lined from top to bottom with quality pass-rushers.
There aren’t any real surprises here, but some players of note are Chris Smith and Ryan Davis. Smith and Davis are developmental players that would surely get snagged on the waiver wire. Both stood out on the third-team defense as disruptive pass-rushers. If there were two players keep an eye on in the future, it’d be these two.
In: Telvin Smith, Paul Posluszny, Dekoda Watson, LaRoy Reynolds, Nate Stupar, Geno Hayes, J.T. Thomas
Out: Marcus Whitfield
I’ll just be straightforward here—I wouldn’t be surprised if Geno Hayes was a veteran cut.
With the way that Telvin Smith and J.T. Thomas have played this preseason, Hayes—who has been quiet this preseason—could become expendable.
Smith has been involved in big plays in every game and always seems to be around the ball. Thomas has the looks of a solid developmental player who could be a great special teamer and eventual starter.
Other then that, this unit stays pretty much aligned with what I thought. I expect that Dekoda Watson will start now that he’s back from injury, and he could emerge as the best player of the group.
In: Dwayne Gratz, Demetrius McCray, Johnathan Cyprien, Winston Guy, Alan Ball, Will Blackmon, Josh Evans, Chris Prosinski, Jamell Fleming
Out: RaShaad Reynolds, Jeremy Harris, Craig Loston
Easily the most risk/reward unit, the defensive backs on this team are very young and inexperienced.
The player to watch of this group is Dwayne Gratz. Gratz is a physical, aggressive cornerback who could easily become an “island” guy. The other no-brainer is Johnathan Cyprien, who could find himself amongst the leagues best safeties with his plus coverage ability and his ability to play toward the line of scrimmage.
The risk/reward comes with everyone else. Alan Ball is a career journeyman, and despite having a strong season in 2013, he’s never displayed any real consistency in his career. Demetrius McCray is a young, talented cornerback, but he lacks experience. Lastly, Winston Guy is a player who could be either an absolute playmaker or a liability on the back end.
There are questions here for sure, but the potential within this group is massive, and they could easily become one of the best units in the league with some experience and development.
In: Josh Scobee, Bryan Anger, Carson Tinker
Out: Kasey Redfern
This is pretty straightforward. Bryan Anger and Josh Scobee are solid special teams players, and there was never any true threat to their stance with the team.
*All stats courtesy NFL.com unless otherwise noted.