NFL

See Why The Jacksonville Jaguars Are The Most Improved Team In The NFL

on

With free agency essentially over and the NFL Draft behind us, it’s time to see which teams have improved themselves on paper. While there’s numerous of teams heading in the right direction, none look more promising than the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Yes, Jacksonville.

Although Jacksonville finished (5-11) this past season, they showed flashes of what’s to come, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The Jaguars finished 14th in points per game (23.5), led by quarterback Blake Bortles.

Following a rough rookie campaign, Bortles responded in a major way in year two, as he tossed 35 touchdowns. Also, wide receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns both had a good 2015, as they totaled 144 catches for 2,431 yards to go along with 24 touchdowns.

Not to mention, running back T.J. Yeldon had himself a solid rookie season.

The former Alabama product garnered 740 yards on 182 carries, as the team tried to work him into the running back rotation.

As you can tell, Jacksonville should be a force to be reckoned with from an offensive standpoint, but it’s on the defensive side of the ball where they must improve and they’ve done just that.

During free agency, the Jaguars have acquired defensive tackle Malik Jackson, safety Tashaun Gipson (former Pro Bowler) and cornerback Prince Amukamara.

In addition to those veterans, Jacksonville not only obtained Jalen Ramsey, but they stole Myles Jack in the second round, who is really a top ten talent. The reason Jack fell this low is because of concerns about his health.

While Jack is grateful to still be getting an opportunity in the NFL, don’t think for a second that his free fall isn’t bothering him a bit.

“Still to this day, it’s hard to go back and retrace it because it stirs me up,” Jack admitted during his rookie orientation. “It cost me. The bottom line is it cost me. It’s something I have to deal with the rest of my life. Don’t get me wrong. I am living the dream. Bottom line is that I am in the NFL. I am going to be in Madden (the game). That’s wild. I don’t want anybody to take it out of context. But it cost me.”

General Manager David Caldwell surely believes Jack was worth it.

“We want to be great, and we have to take chances,” Caldwell stated. “We’ve been pretty conservative in our time here with our philosophy in the draft and some of our free-agent acquisitions.

“There comes a point in time where we have to close the talent gap. You’re not going to do that without taking risks. This is a calculated risk. … Hopefully he’s here for 10-to-12 years.”

Jacksonville ranked 24th in total defense, 29th against the pass and 15th against the run last year.

After these acquisitions, Jacksonville should surely improve on the defensive side of the ball, but how much?

Well, for any great unit, it takes time for them to gel on and off the field, which is why the next few months will be absolutely vital for them moving forward.


About Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.