Well that was a wild 24 hours! An incredible TWENTY-FIVE names were trimmed from the roster as the Jaguars downsized to the required 53. And with the deadline now passed, we have a clear idea of the image in which Doug Pederson wants to shape this roster. Here we look at some of the major moves made by GM Trent Baalke, in what is one of the most ruthless days in the NFL calendar:
Jaguars Trade Laviska Shenault To The Panthers
Carolina continues to be a bolthole for high Jaguars draft picks. Twelve months after CJ Henderson was sent to The Panthers, Matt Rhule made a move for another 2020 selection. Wide receiver Laviska Shenault was traded to Carolina on Monday after an underwhelming training camp. Big things were expected from the offensive weapon when he was selected in the second round. But after a bright rookie season, Shenault failed to find the endzone in 2021. The new regime worked hard to find a role for Shenault, giving him some manufactured touches in preseason. They even tried him as a punt returner, an opportunity he spurned when he muffed a catch.
Ultimately, the decision to move on from Shenault was made sometime last week. The receiver was kept on the roster whilst trade options were explored. And it was The Panthers who offered the best deal; a 2023 7th round pick and a 2024 6th rounder. Baalke explained the decision to move on from Shenault:
#Jaguars GM Trent Baalke says that the team had been fielding calls since free agency regarding Laviska Shenault.
“Felt it was a good situation for us, and a good situation for Laviska”
— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) August 30, 2022
The departure of Shenault for such small recompense demonstrates further frustration with previous attempts at talent acquisition. But ultimately, The Jaguars are ready to turn the page on previous mishaps. Shenault headlined a raft of roster moves at receiver, as Jacksonville finalized the weapons at Trevor Lawrence’s disposal…
Tim Jones’ Impressive Offseason Is Rewarded
There has been something of a buzz surrounding the performances of Tim Jones in preseason. His penchant for making big plays and offering an outlet to his quarterback made him a fan’s favorite. And he got his rewards on Tuesday when he made the 53-man roster, landing the fifth receiver spot.
Presumed starters Marvin Jones, Zay Jones and Christian Kirk, along with special teams ace Jamal Agnew, make up the other four names. That meant no space for the aforementioned Shenault, who was deemed surplus to requirements. And it also meant that Laquon Treadwell, once a first round pick of the Vikings, was also let go. Supplanting Shenault and Treadwell was something of a surprise as Tim Jones was never elevated from the practice squad in 2021. But his ascension did not go unnoticed by Doug Pederson.
Other receivers waived in the last 24 hours include Kevin Austin, Jeff Cotton and Willie Johnson.
Rudy Ford Biggest Casualty From The Jaguars’ Secondary
After having a healthy role on defense under Urban Meyer, defensive back Rudy Ford was cut on Monday. Ford had figured to be a key contributor on special teams, but evidently wanted an opportunity to establish himself as a contributor on a defense elsewhere. The Jaguars have some young talent on the back end, and ultimately decided to grant him his wish.
Andre Cisco’s rise to stardom is now complete, and the starting free safety role made his own. This secondary has some serious potential, if maybe lacking some experience outside Darious Williams and Shaquill Griffin. 7th round rookie Montaric Brown has impressed, and heads into 2022 as a backup to Tyson Campbell. And Daniel Thomas, who intercepted Desmond Ridder in the final preseason game, offers depth at safety.
One minor surprise was the release of a cornerback taken in the sixth round just months earlier. Gregory Junior out of Ouachita Baptist was ultimately unable to bridge the big jump from division II football to the NFL. Eligible for the practice squad, Junior will likely be given the opportunity to acclimate to the pro game, should he clear waivers.
Lack Of Depth On The Defensive Interior
The Jaguars head into week 1 with just one nose tackle on the roster. DaVon Hamilton, a third round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, has nobody behind him on the depth chart. It should be noted that there is some fluidity along the defensive front in Mike Caldwell’s 3-4 scheme. And messrs Roy Robertson-Harris, Folorunsu Fatukasi and Dawuane Smoot have all impressed in preseason. But there is no doubt that The Jaguars will be looking at cast-offs from other rosters in the coming days.
Jay Tufele may feel aggrieved to not make the roster. A 4th round pick in 2021, Tufele had looked good in training camp. But ultimately, the second string’s lackluster performances against the run in preseason games was considered unacceptable by the coaching staff. Fellow nose tackle Israel Antwine also failed to make the cut.
Jaguars Carry Four Tight Ends In Nod To New Offensive Style
As mentioned previously, Doug Pederson has often used multiple tight ends in his previous offenses. The thought was that Jacksonville would keep four tight ends on the roster, and so it proved. Dan Arnold backs up Evan Engram as the pass-catching tight end. And Chris Manhertz and Luke Farrell also earned roster spots, predominantly as in-line blockers.
The odd man out was Gerrit Prince, a UDFA rookie out of UAB. Prince has flashed serious talent stretching the seam in the exhibition games, and will likely be brought back on the practice squad. Trevor Lawrence heads into his second season with a much changed supporting cast. But Jaguars fans will hope that it is much improved from the offense that struggled so clearly in 2021.
Still No Decision At Kicker
Two weeks ago, The Jaguars had two kickers. Today, they still have two kickers on the roster, but entirely different ones. Elliott Fry and Ryan Santoso have been replaced by James McCourt and Jake Verity, two names claimed off waivers from other teams last week. But Pederson and Baalke have determined there hasn’t been enough evidence to make a decision.
Against the Falcons, McCourt was perfect, whilst Verity missed one of two field goals. Both look like upgrades on the previous camp legs, but only one will ultimately stick around. Presumably that decision will be made before the week one trip to Washington.
Other Players Released:
EJ Perry, QB. Coy Cronk, OL. Nick Ford, OL. Darryl Williams, OL. Xavier Crawford, CB. Raequan Williams, DL. Rashod Berry, LB. Ayo Oyelola, S. Tyrell Adams, LB. Chappelle Russell, LB. Auzoyah Alufohai, DL. Ryquell Armstead, RB. Brandon Rusnak, S. Benjie Franklin, CB. KC McDermott, OL. Badara Traore, OL. Mekhi Sargent, RB.
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