With the Jacksonville Jaguars having their third and final preseason game Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, fans have turned their attention to the regular season as the team will take on the Houston Texans on Sept. 12. Before that happens, though, Jags coach Urban Meyer and his staff must take on the difficult task of filing down their roster to 53 players before Tuesday at 4 p.m. EST.
They’ve been evaluating the team for months now, and both training camp and the preseason has given them ample opportunities to make their most important assessments. It’s also given us here at Jags Wire the opportunity to do the same, and now the time has come for our last roster predictions for the 2021 season.
Here is how we see things going as the Jags figure out who they will carry into the regular season.
Aug 29, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Lawrence, C.J. Beathard
The QB1 battle was settled last week, and as expected, Trevor Lawrence was declared the winner. The Jags then proceeded to trade his competitor, Gardner Minshew, who struggled in the preseason game and was outperformed by C.J. Beathard (and Lawrence, too). Beathard has looked like a serviceable backup for the most part, and one would think he's the only other quarterback the Jags will have on the roster aside from Lawrence. After a solid showing against Dallas, don't be surprised to see the Jags try and place Jake Luton on their practice squad.
Running Backs (4)
Aug 14, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) hands off to running back James Robinson (30) against the Cleveland Browns in the first quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
James Robinson, Carlos Hyde, Dare Ogunbowale, Devine Ozigbo
In our last predictions we went with four running backs and kept it that way this time. Of course, the group will be minus Travis Etienne, though, which left a spot for Dare Ogunbowale to move up on the unofficial depth chart. He's a player who also will intrigue the Jags due to being a former special teams captain. Devine Ozigbo had an impressive day against the Cowboys and earned himself the last spot here. He's seen time on special teams this preseason, which only helps his chances.
Tight ends (3)
Nov 29, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars tight end James O'Shaughnessy (80) runs against Cleveland Browns strong safety Karl Joseph (42) during the second half at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
James O’Shaughnessy, Chris Manhertz, Luke Farrell
This is another position where we made a slight change at in comparison to the last roster predictions. That change was putting Luke Farrell in the mix as the TE3 over Ben Ellefson. The rookie has been listed as the third tight end for a while now on the unofficial depth chart and we thought Ellefson would be able to gain ground on him. However, that didn't happen and Farrell was able to show his abilities as a pass catching option in the second game against New Orleans despite being more of a blocking threat.
Ofensive line (9)
Jun 3, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars center Brandon Linder (65) practices on the field during organized team activities at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Robinson, Andrew Norwell, Brandon Linder, A.J. Cann, Jawaan Taylor, Walker Little, Ben Bartch, Tyler Shatley, Will Richardson
There are no changes here. The starting five are expected to be back by Week 1 after not taking the field together as a whole unit this preseason. That gave the four aforementioned reserves a chance to show what they were capable of, and while it wasn't perfect, the quarterbacks made it through the preseason in one piece.
Wide receivers (7)
Jaguars WR (10) Laviska Shenault Jr. pulls in a pass during drills at Tuesday's minicamp session. The Jacksonville Jaguars held their Tuesday morning session of the team's mandatory minicamp at the practice fields outside TIAA Bank Field, June 15, 2021. [Florida Times-Union]
DJ Chark, Marvin Jones, Laviska Shenault Jr., Collin Johnson, Phillip Dorsett, Jamal Agnew, Pharoh Cooper
This is where the Jags have to make their hardest decisions. They could very well swap Pharoh Cooper out for Tavon Austin or Laquon Treadwell, but his ability to help on special teams (was an All-Pro returner) will be hard to overlook for Urban Meyer. Not to mention he displayed his ability to help on special teams and offense Sunday against Dallas. Treadwell only has one career special teams return in the NFL, though he can help them in other departments there. Austin may have a better chance to stick than him because he actually has returned punts and kickoffs. The only question mark with him is that he's day-to-day with a quad injury. Aside from that, he would make a lot of sense as the Jags' last receiver because they really need his speed — and that doesn't just apply on special teams. The efforts of Jeff Cotton shouldn't go unnoticed either. He led the team in receptions Sunday with three catches for 66 yards and will definitely be under consideration for practice squad. He would also have a chance to make the roster if he had return ability on special teams.
Defensive line (6)
Oct 18, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton (52) runs on the field before a game against the Detroit Lions at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Malcom Brown, DaVon Hamilton, Roy Robertson-Harris, Jay Tufele, Adam Gotsis, Taven Bryan
*Note - We listed Dawaune Smoot and Jihad Ward with the edge rushers. In our last predictions, we had Smoot here but he saw a lot of time on the edge, so he's listed with the exterior defenders. We also have Taven Bryan Listed this time around after defensive coordinator Joe Cullen told the media that the staff liked what they've seen from him. I'm still skeptical on them keeping him, but I switched him out for Doug Costin because it's possible Costin could be stashed on the practice squad. Adam Gotsis could be in danger of getting cut, too, but he's to good a run defender for this team to move on from.
Edge rushers (5)
Aug 17, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen (41) looks on as linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson (45) performs drills during training camp at Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
Josh Allen, K’Lavon Chaisson, Dawaune Smoot, Jihad Ward, Jordan Smith
Not much to be said here. In this scenario, the Jags would be moving on from veteran Lerentee McCray, which won't be easy, but Jordan Smith, who they drafted in the fourth-round in April has upside and can play on special teams like McCray. Additionally, Smith has had an under-the-radar and registered e registered nine total tackles, a quarterback hit, tackle for loss, and pass deflection in the Jags three preseason games.
Interior linebackers (4)
Aug 23, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Jihad Ward (59) celebrates with linebacker Myles Jack (44) after a sack against the New Orleans Saints during the first half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Myles Jack, Damien Wilson, Shaquille Quarterman, Chapelle Russell
With the team trading Joe Schobert it makes sense to go into the regular season with just four interior backers. Damien Wilson and Shaquille Quarterman are both reasons the Jags felt the urge to trade Schobert, so they are locks with Myles Jack. Chapelle Russell is a young player with upside who proved himself in camp and has the ability to help on special teams.
Jaguars CB (26) Shaquill Griffin catches a ball during drills on the practice fields outside TIAA Bank Field during the Jacksonville Jaguars mandatory veterans minicamp session Monday morning, June 14, 2021. [Florida Times-Union]
Shaquill Griffin, C.J. Henderson, Tyson Campbell, Sidney Jones IV, Tre Herndon
These are the same five players we had listed in the last predictions, although they are a little banged up at the moment. Tre Herndon is currently week-to-week with an MCL sprain (sustained vs. Cleveland), but the Jags didn't place him on injured reserve. Tyson Campbell is also dealing with a calf injury. If there are concerns that one or both players won't be back, the Jags could take an extra cornerback into the regular season with them like Chris Claybrooks, who they probably like as a special teams returner.
Jul 30, 2021; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars safety Andre Cisco (38) participates in training camp at Dream Finders Homes practice field Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Rayshawn Jenkins, Jarrod Wilson, *Andre Cisco, Rudy Ford, Daniel Thomas
Like at receiver, this is also where a bunch of hard decisions have to be made for Meyer and his staff. Rayshawn Jenkins is clearly viewed as the team's top safety, but the team has to decide on who they want to start alongside him. Meyer has praised Jarrod Wilson this preseason, so it makes sense for him to make the roster as he's proven to be a better starter than Josh Jones in the past. Andre Cisco may have had the best preseason of any Jags rookie not named Trevor Lawrence, so he's a lock as the team's third-round pick. As for Rudy Ford and Daniel Thomas, both have flashed in the preseason and have the ability to make an impact on special teams.
Special teams (3)
Aug 30, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars punter Josh Lambo (4) kicks a field goal during the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
Josh Lambo, Logan Cooke, Ross Matiscik
Josh Lambo had a shaky training camp run and preseason, but seems to have gotten over it against the Cowboys. Logan Cooke had an off day against the New Orleans Saints, but there is little doubt that he's not one of the best punters in football. As for Ross Matiscik, the Jags didn't bring in any other competition for him this offseason.