The Jacksonville Jaguars are a popular pick to make the playoffs this season – something they haven’t done since 2007. In fact, Jacksonville hasn’t had a winning season since 2007 and has finished with five wins or fewer in five straight years. That said, they have plenty of young talent and spent a boatload in free agency.
So, should we buy the Jags in 2016?
“I’m buying it, and they’ve jumped into a tough task – tougher than what we would have suspected at the end of last year,” NFL Network and NFL on FOX analyst Charles Davis said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I think most people would acknowledge that last season the AFC South was the worst division in football. But it’s a really weird offseason. The AFC South, if they didn’t improve to become one of the best divisions – that remains to be seen – they provided some great storylines from the offseason, didn’t they?”
Andrew Luck signing a $140 million contract in Indy, Brock Osweiler signing with Houston, DeMarco Murray signing with Tennessee – the list goes on. And that’s before we even get to the Jaguars.
“They ended up getting Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack, who, on a lot of people’s boards, I would say are top-five players going into the draft,” Davis said. “And they get them in the first and second round? That’s almost unheard of. Plus what they did in the free agency and just the idea that they’ve been growing to product anyway. . . . All of (the AFC South teams) have, on paper, improved. It has to be proven on the field, but I’m buying Jacksonville as a contender.”
The Jags will need Blake Bortles to take another step forward, which he definitely did in 2015. After throwing for 11 touchdowns and 17 interceptions as a rookie, Bortles threw for 35 touchdowns and 18 interceptions last season. The 4,428 passing yards weren’t too shabby, either.
“I think he’s improved,” Davis said. “I really do. From watching him this summer, watching him go through workouts, he’s got a great connection with (Allen) Robinson and (Allen) Hurns, he’s got a runner now in (T.J.) Yeldon, I think he’s continuing to mature. The key for them is to not be down big early. If you look at his numbers last year, he had great numbers in terms of touchdown passes and the whole deal. I think too many of them came when they were down two scores or more, so that doesn’t matter to you. So they’ve got to stay close and make those scores count.”