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Jacksonville Jaguars Depth Chart: James Robinson the lead back in 2021?

As they wait to select their QB of the future, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ depth chart saw some much-needed improvement in the offseason.

Jacksonville Jaguars Depth Chart: James Robinson the lead back in 2021?
Dec 13, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson (30) runs the ball past Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Jack Crawford (94) during the second half at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

We are simply counting down the days until the Jacksonville Jaguars hand in their card for the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Meanwhile, the Jaguars’ depth chart has undergone several offseason changes. Now, entering a new era in team history, Urban Meyer is laying the groundwork to build upon for the years to come.

Jacksonville Jaguars Depth Chart

Offense

Quarterback: Gardner Minshew II, C.J. Beathard, Jake Luton

Running Back: James Robinson, Carlos Hyde, Dare Ogunbowale, Devine Ozigbo

Wide Receiver: D.J. Chark Jr., Marvin Jones Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr., Phillip Dorsett II, Collin Johnson, Jamal Agnew, Terry Godwin, Jon’Vea Johnson, Josh Hammond

Tight End: Chris Manhertz, James O’Shaughnessy, Tyler Davis, Ben Ellefson

Offensive Tackle: Cam Robinson, Jawaan Taylor, Will Richardson Jr., K.C. McDermott, Garrett McGhin, Austen Pleasants

Offensive Guard: Andrew Norwell, A.J. Cann, Ben Bartch, Tre’Vour Wallace-Simms, Derwin Gray

Center: Brandon Linder

Defense

Interior Defensive Line: Roy Robertson-Harris, Taven Bryan, Malcom Brown, Daniel Ekuale, Adam Gotsis, Doug Costin

EDGE: Josh Allen, K’Lavon Chaisson, Jihad Ward, Lerentee McCray, Aaron Patrick

Linebacker: Joe Schobert, Myles Jack, Quincy Williams, Leon Jacobs, Joe Giles-Harris, Nate Evans, Shaquille Quarterman, Dakota Allen

Cornerback: C.J. Henderson, Shaquill Griffin, Tre Herndon, Sidney Jones, Luq Barcoo, Chris Claybrooks

Safety: Rayshawn Jenkins, Jarrod Wilson, Rudy Ford, Josh Jones, Brandon Rusnak, Daniel Thomas, Andrew Wingard

Special Teams

Kicker: Josh Lambo

Punter: Logan Cooke

Long Snapper: Ross Matiscik

Jaguars Depth Chart Analysis | Offense

Quarterbacks

Let’s be honest, we all know that Gardner Minshew is not the starting quarterback for the Jaguars. That player is Trevor Lawrence — it just hasn’t happened yet. What I am curious about, however, is whether or not Minshew stays on the team or is traded away. While he’s no franchise savior, the guy can play, and much of last year’s issues can be linked back to the thumb injury he was hiding from the team. 

In free agency, the Jaguars signed C.J. Beathard to a two-year, $5 million deal that gives them the flexibility to move Minshew while stashing a capable backup on the depth chart. Beathard has played all four of his NFL seasons in San Francisco. He has appeared in 19 games with 12 starts and completed 291-of-497 passes for 3,469 yards and 18 TDs. He has also rushed for 233 yards and 4 TDs on the ground.

Running Backs

Even though James Robinson excelled last season, there was the chance Jacksonville would add competition. While the Jaguars did add to their depth chart, Robinson enters 2021 relatively unscathed.

A UDFA out of Illinois State, Robinson came out of nowhere in 2020. He led running backs with 86% of the team’s carries and finished tied for fifth in rushing yards with 1,070, despite missing the season’s final two games. Robinson also showed some ability in the passing game, hauling in 49 passes for 344 yards and 3 additional scores.

Jacksonville added Carlos Hyde as an offseason addition to a two-year, $6 million deal. Last year, he had 81 carries for 356 yards and 16 catches for 93 yards for the Seattle Seahawks. Hyde is just good enough to be a serviceable backup but lacks any real upside that could ruin Robinson’s upside, especially for those who play fantasy football.

Dare Ogunbowale enters his fifth season and has 43 rushes for 162 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 45 receptions for 340 yards in 34 career games. 

Wide Receivers

D.J. Chark is on the shortlist of players expected to break out in 2021. Chark is coming off a mediocre 2020 season, catching 53 passes for 706 yards and 5 touchdowns. However, it can just as easily be explained with Jacksonville’s QB play as the rotating door of Minshew, Jake Luton, and Mike Glennon all struggling.

The 2019 season, on the other hand, gave a peek into the player Chark could be. That season, Chark hauled in 73 receptions for 1,008 yards and 8 touchdowns. Making the jump to Lawrence under center could unlock Chark just in time for his contract season.

Of all the moves during free agency, Marvin Jones’ addition to the Jaguars’ depth chart was one of my favorites. In five seasons with the Detroit Lions, Jones hauled in 234 receptions (62.4%) for 3,366 yards ad 32 touchdowns.

Laviska Shenault can do things on the field others simply dream about pulling off. He can play the “Z” and run a complex route tree. Shenault can set up in the slot and run everything from jet sweeps to over-the-middle routes and then end up in the backfield as an RB. Knowing the creativity of Urban Meyer, Shenault should be a very busy player in 2021.

Collin Johnson has something that you can’t teach — size. At 6’6″, Johnson could quickly be the red zone specialist for Lawrence in 2021. 

Tight Ends

In free agency, the Jaguars added TE Chris Manhertz to their depth chart. A former Carolina Panther, Manhertz has played in 70 career games catching 12 passes for 142 yards and 1 touchdown. Meanwhile, James O’Shaughnessy is coming off the best season of his career, reeling in 28 catches for 262 yards. 

This is a position the Jaguars could address in the draft.

Offensive Tackle

Cam Robinson received the franchise tag from the Jaguars during the offseason. Robinsons has started 47 games in four NFL seasons but missed 14 games in 2018 because of a torn ACL. 

Jawaan Taylor started all 16 games but struggled in his second season as he led the NFL in pressures allowed with 56. It is worth noting, however, that he showed progression as the seasoned ended. From Week 12 on, Taylor allowed just 2.5 pressures per game. Sure, those numbers are far from elite, but an improvement nonetheless.

Will Richardson Jr. will battle Taylor during camp again this offseason for the starting job, although it is expected the Jaguars address the position in the draft.

Offensive Guard

Logging 82.3% of yearly snaps over the past three seasons, Andrew Norwell took a pay cut during the offseason. Norwell has a history with Urban Meyer as Norwell was at Ohio State when Meyer arrived on campus.

A.J. Cann still remaining on the Jaguars’ depth chart is a touch surprising. The team drafted his successor in 2020 (Ben Bartch) and could have reduced Cann’s cap hit from $6.29 million to just $1.33 million in dead cap if they had chosen to exercise their opt-out as he enters the final year of his contract.

Center

Brandon Linder has struggled to stay on the field at times over his seven-year career in Jacksonville. While playing in 16 games in 2019, he made only nine starts in both 2018 and 2020.

Jaguars Analysis | Defense

Heading into 2021, the Jaguars’ depth chart needs a whole revamp on defense. Last season, they allowed 30.75 ppg (31st), 4,231 passing yards (27th), 2,452 rushing yards (30th), 18 sacks (31st), and a 20.1% pressure rate (28th).

Interior Defensive Line

The Jaguars kicked off free agency by adding former Chicago Bear Roy Robertson-Harris to help retool their depth chart. Robertson-Harris agreed to a three-year deal worth up to a max value of $26.4 million with $14 million in guarantees. He started six games for the Bears in 2020, appearing in eight total before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery in November. He had 10 total tackles, 5 QB hits, and 1 tackle for loss. For his career, Robertson-Harris has 7.5 sacks and 30 QB hits in 52 games.

Given the Jaguars defense’s overall youth, especially on DL, trading for Malcom Brown is a massive move — literally. Jacksonville sent their seventh-round pick (No. 229) to New Orleans for the former first-round pick in the trade.

At 6’2″ and 320 pounds, Brown eats up double-teams and should help open up gaps for other players to fill and generate pressure. Brown played 46% and 33% of the Saints’ defensive snaps, respectively, in his two years and has appeared in 89 regular-season games (80 starts) and 14 playoff appearances.

After taking a home run cut on DT Taven Bryan with the No. 29 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Jaguars are back in the dugout after striking out. Appearing in 48 games (17 starts), Bryan has 3.5 career sacks and 24 pressures. 

EDGE

A rookie in 2019, Josh Allen set a franchise sack record (10.5) on his way to the Pro Bowl. Unfortunately, injuries aided in a let-down season in 2020. In eight games, Allen had 2.5 sacks, 13 tackles (two for a loss), and 11 QB hits. Allen ended the season on the IR due to a knee injury but avoided any severe ligament damage.

If the team moves to a 3-4 base, both Allen and K’Lavon Chaisson will play a more natural standup LB role rather than edge rusher, but only time will tell. Chaisson, the No. 20 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, registered a sack and 3 tackles for loss in 16 games as a rookie. He could very well be one of the most talented players on the Jaguars’ depth chart by season’s end.

Jihad Ward spent the last two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens before signing a one-year contract that reunites him with DC Joe Cullen. He served as Ward’s position coach last season in Baltimore. Ward tied a career-high in sacks last season (3.0) while recording 16 tackles and 8 QB hits.

Linebacker

If they do move to a 3-4, Joe Schobert will likely remain in the middle. Schobert led the Jaguars in 2020 with 141 tackles (81 solo) and registered 2.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 6 tackles for loss, 6 quarterback hits, 2 forced fumbles, and 4 passes defensed.

Since his selection out of UCLA, where he played both RB and LB, Myles Jack has lined up all over the linebacker depth chart. He was highly productive in 2020, recording 118 tackles (72 solo) along with a sack, 6 tackles for loss, 2 quarterback hits, an interception, 5 passes defensed, a forced fumble, and 2 fumble recoveries.

Quincy Williams appeared in seven games in 2020 after spending time on the IR. He totaled 11 tackles, a forced fumble, 1 pass defensed, and a tackle for a loss.

Cornerback

The No. 9 overall pick in last year’s draft, C.J. Henderson has the skill set to become one of the NFL’s premier cornerbacks. In only eight games, Henderson finished tied for fourth in pass breakups (6) among all rookie cornerbacks. Playing on just 42% of the team’s defensive snaps, Henderson totaled 36 tackles (27 solo), forced 1 fumble, and had 1 interception. He was placed on IR in Week 10 following a groin injury.

Signed to a three-year, $44.5 million deal with $29 million guaranteed, the Jaguars added former Seahawks CB Shaquill Griffin to their depth chart in free agency. Since entering the league in 2017, Griffin has been a productive corner. Making 57 appearances with 53 starts, Griffin has totaled 249 tackles (203 solo) with 48 passes defensed and 6 interceptions. Given the CB market, Griffin was the top name available and is a massive boost to the rebuilding Jaguars.

The Jaguars also re-signed one of their own in Tre Herndon. In three years with the team, Herndon has appeared in 43 games and made 26 starts. A UDFA in 2018, he started all 16 games in 2019 and 2020. Over the last two seasons, he has 130 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 18 passes defensed.

Sidney Jones also re-signed with Jacksonville. He recorded 25 tackles in 2020 and set a career-high with 9 passes defensed, 2 interceptions, and a forced fumble.

Safety

As the Jaguars continue to bolster the secondary, Rayshawn Jenkins was added to the depth chart in free agency. Signed to a four-year, $35 million ($16 million guaranteed) contract, Jenkins has accumulated 174 tackles (115 solo), 7 tackles for loss, 9 passes defensed, and 5 interceptions. In 2020, Jenkins finished the year with 84 tackles, 2 interceptions, 4 passes defensed, and a sack.

Related | Jacksonville Jaguars’ 2021 opponents and strength of schedule

A starting safety last season, I feel that Jarrod Wilson will be competing for the third spot in the group this season as the Jaguars likely target this as a position of need during the NFL Draft. Still, Wilson has held his own in coverage and downhill. Making 28 starts over the last two seasons, Wilson has 148 tackles (102 solo), 3 interceptions, 7 passes defensed, and 8 tackles for a loss.

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Tommy Garrett is a writer for Pro Football Network covering the NFL and fantasy football. You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.

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