7 bubble players to watch in Jags’ preseason finale vs. Cowboys

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The final preseason game has almost arrived for the Jacksonville Jaguars as they will be taking on the Dallas Cowboys at 1 p.m. EST at AT&T Stadium. Afterward, Jags coach Urban Meyer and his staff have some tough decisions to make as they have to trim the final roster down to 53 players by 4 p.m. EST on Tuesday.

The Jags will enter Sunday’s game with plenty to figure out, and that’s especially the case on the back end of the roster. That means various bubble players need to make a splash against Dallas if they want to make it to the final roster, or even earn a practice squad designation. Here are a few players we feel will be in that category and believe the staff will be watching closely.

WR Laquon Treadwell

Jul 28, 2021; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (18) participates in training camp at Dream Finders Homes practice field Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Laquon Treadwell was one of the standouts of practice this summer, but unfortunately, it hasn't translated to the preseason games. He's only hauled in two passes for 18 and 12 yards, respectively, in those games against the Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints while seeing a lot of early game snaps. However, there should be no shortage of opportunities to make an impact Sunday afternoon against the Cowboys. Additionally, he will need to prove he can get separation in the process, as it seems to be a big issue for the team that hasn't exactly helped Trevor Lawrence.

WR Jalen Camp

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Jalen Camp (12) faces off against Cleveland Browns defensive back Robert Jackson (34) after Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Jake Luton (6) got taken down during fourth quarter action. The Jacksonville Jaguars hosted the Cleveland Browns for their only home preseason game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida Saturday night, August 14, 2021. The Browns led at the half 13 to 0 and won with a final score of 23 to 13. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]

As previously mentioned, it appears the Jags need more speed and the ability to separate at receiver. Jalen Camp, who has 4.43 40-yard dash speed, has shown he has both traits but simply hasn't been targeted much (only has a catch this preseason). If Camp can make a few explosive plays and catch the ball well, he would earn the right to be under consideration to make the final 53-man roster. If not, he still should be considered for the practice squad, which would provide the late-round draft pick with more time to develop in Jacksonville.

WR Pharoh Cooper

Aug 23, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Pharoh Cooper (14) runs the ball against New Orleans Saints fullback Alex Armah (40) during the second half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Pharoh Cooper has a chance to make the team because of his experience and versatility. Not only has he occasionally made plays as a receiver, but he also is a former All-Pro returner. With Meyer being high on players who can help out on special teams, it appears Cooper can't be ruled out for a roster spot. As of right now, he's listed as the third punt and kick return option and is directly behind Jamal Agnew as a receiver on the unofficial depth chart. That would indicate that one or two big plays on Sunday could earn him a spot on the final 53-man roster.

TE Ben Ellefson

Aug 16, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, United States; Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Ben Ellefson (86) runs pad drills during training camp drills at the Dream Finders Homes training facility. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Ellefson appears to be on the outside looking in for a roster spot. Rookie Luke Farrell is third on the unofficial depth chart at the tight end position, and he's shown the ability to help as a blocker and pass-catcher. Ellefson, on the other hand, hasn't stood out. In the early stages of training camp, Meyer seemed to be high on Ellefson but he hasn't made many plays when it counted. He can garner the staff’s attention again with a good game against the Cowboys, or at least earn a chance to make the practice squad.

SS Josh Jones

Oct 18, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Detroit Lions running back Adrian Peterson (28) runs the ball against Jacksonville Jaguars safety Josh Jones (29) during the second half at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Aside from receiver, the Jags appear to have the most competition at safety as Meyer admitted that hard decisions will have to be made at the position. Right now, they have a four-way competition going at the strong safety position (at least unofficially) and need to decide on a starter there. One of the players Meyer spoke highly of at the position was Jarrod Wilson. When considering the Jags drafted Andre Cisco in the third round, Josh Jones may be the player on the outside looking in. When looking at what Wilson and Cisco can offer in coverage on defense over Jones, the veteran may need a superb game to stick around. He should see various opportunities Sunday after nearly seeing the field for 40% of the snaps against New Orleans.

EDGE Aaron Patrick

Jaguars defensive lineman #91, Aaron Patrick and defensive end #92, Jordan Smith run onto the field at the start of Saturday's Rookie Minicamp. The Jacksonville Jaguars held their Saturday 2021 Rookie Minicamp session at the practice fields outside TIAA Bank Field Saturday, May 15, 2021. [Florida Times-Unio]

A team can never have too many pass rushers, which is why Aaron Patrick is a name to watch. That's especially the case for him after a week of practice where he made plays and garnered momentum. https://twitter.com/JStCyrTV/status/1430935786774573064?s=20 In the last game, Patrick saw 25 snaps on defense and 13 on special teams. With it being the final preseason game, there could be a chance for his defensive snap count to rise Sunday, and if he can bother the quarterback enough, he could earn a roster spot.

EDGE Lerentee McCray

Jun 11, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA;Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor (75) gets tangled up with defensive end Lerentee McCray (55) during mandatory minicamp #1 at the Dream Finders Homes practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Just as we mentioned with Cooper, the ability to play on special teams is important. Lerentee McCray certainly can do that well as a former special teams captain and a former collegiate player for Meyer at the University of Florida. McCray has had a quiet preseason but registered a grade of 81.1 in the preseason opener, per Pro Football Focus. That said, if he can have a similar game against the Cowboys, Meyer may want to keep McCray over a player like Patrick, who may be more suitable for the practice squad.

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