Tag Archives: Jalen Ramsey

Time To Take The Next Step

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With organized team activities underway around the National Football League, there are several teams that will be under the microscope. One of those teams will be the Jacksonville Jaguars. 2007 was the last time that the Jaguars finished with a winning record, and it was also the last time that they made the postseason. Since then it has been a steady decline for the Jaguars with them posting a record of 14-50 over the last four years. The struggles of Jacksonville has seen them pick very early on in the NFL Draft. But what has hurt the Jags more than anything have been their misses with those selections such as wide receiver Justin Blackmon and quarterback Blaine Gabbert as neither player is still with the team. In spite of going 12-36 in three years as the head coach of the Jaguars, Gus Bradley has been given a fourth year by team owner Shahid Khan to get things turned around. And as the AFC South could be the worst division in football for the second consecutive year, the time is now for the Jaguars to take that next step and contend for a postseason spot.

Gus Bradley

One reason why Bradley was able to get another year to turn things around is that he is building a team in the mode of his former employer. Prior to becoming the Jaguars head coach, Bradley was the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks. And in recent years the Seahawks have developed the blueprint as far as having depth on a roster which Bradley is now attempting to do in Jacksonville.

 

After being the third overall pick of the 2014 National Football League Draft, quarterback Blake Bortles has begun to provide some stability for a team that needs it. Prior to drafting Bortles, the Jags had seven different starting quarterbacks in the previous six years. In two years in Jacksonville, Bortles has made 29 starts, while he set a single-season franchise record for passing yards last season with 4,428 yards. Bradley and the Jags took some heat for taking Bortles that early in the draft, but he is continuing to develop and they are hopeful that he is their franchise guy. And as the the Jaguars want Bortles to be “the guy”, they are putting the play makers around him.

In 2013, Bradley made offensive tackle Luke Joeckel the first player that he selected as Jaguars head coach. And after only appearing in five games as a rookie, Joeckel has made 30 starts for the Jags over the last two years as the team sees him as the anchor of their offensive line for some time.

Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns

Aside from the offensive line, the Jags are also giving Bortles quality wide receivers to get the football to. Last year saw wide receivers Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson become the first Jaguars duo to each gain 1,000 yards receiving in the same season since 2001 as the duo combined for 2,431 yards. This off-season saw the Jaguars give Hurns an extension that will be worth $40 million over the next four years and he is developing into a go-to-guy for Bortles.

The last two years has seen the Jags spend early picks in the National Football League Draft on potential impact players on defense; however they have yet to get any bang for their buck. Last year the Jaguars used the third overall pick of the draft on defensive end/outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. But in Fowler’s first practice with the Jags, he suffered a torn ACL which forced him to miss the entire 2015 NFL season. Fowler has been rehabbing and he is back on the field as Jacksonville is hopeful that he can be an impact player for them in their front seven. This past April, the Jaguars used the fifth overall pick on cornerback Jalen Ramsey. And unfortunately for the Jags, Ramsey has been sidelined so far after undergoing knee surgery. The Jaguars second-round selection was used on linebacker Myles Jack who himself missed the majority of his final collegiate season at UCLA after undergoing knee surgery. But like Fowler and Ramsey, the Jaguars are optimistic that Jack will be healthy and ready to go when the season starts.

However the biggest issue that Bradley faces is getting his young Jaguars to take the field each Sunday expecting to win. 2013 saw Jacksonville lose their first eight games, while they began 2014 with a record of 1-10. Through 13 games last year the Jaguars had a record of 5-8 as they were still alive in the AFC South. But unfortunately for Jacksonville, they would lose their final three games of the season.

So now the biggest hurdle that the Jaguars face is winning in the National Football League as they have proven that they can compete, but they need to that next step which includes extending drives on offense, getting turnovers on defense to give the football to the offense which needs to take advantage by putting points on the board, and learning how to play with a lead. Too often over the past few years we’ve seen the Jaguars fall behind early by multiple scores which can completely change the game plan of a head coach and an offensive coordinator. But there is no time like the present and it is time for the young Jags to take off the training wheels which starts with Bortles who must continue to improve his pocket presence as he has been sacked 106 times in two seasons.

Shahid Khan

Since becoming the Jaguars owner in 2011, Shahid Khan has dedicated himself to the Jags and the City of Jacksonville. And a part of that dedication has been patience with his football team. Khan knew that fixing the Jaguars wouldn’t be an easy process which is why he has stayed with Bradley as the team’s head coach. Typically when a National Football League franchise is constantly making changes at the head coach position, their win-loss column isn’t that impressive. The Jaguars are young, and just like a collegiate head football coach that needs time to develop his recruits, the same can be said in the NFL.

Although that the start of the 2016 National Football is still nearly three months away, there isn’t a clear cut favorite to win the AFC South. The Indianapolis Colts need to make sure that their starting quarterback Andrew Luck is healthy, while the Houston Texans still have questions at quarterback even after signing Brock Osweiler this off-season. And as the Jaguars have recently been one of the worst teams in the National Football League, they’ve had competion from within their division in the form of the Tennessee Titans who are also bottom feeders that are looking to turn things around.

The groundwork is in place for the Jaguars; now it is just a matter of them seizing the opportunity that is in front of them.

Source: Pro-football-reference.com

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2016 AFC South Grades

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Houston Texans

Grade: C

First Round Pick: Will Fuller-Wide Receiver-Notre Dame

Best Pick: Will Fuller

Although that the Houston Texans will enter the 2016 National Football League season as the defending champions of the AFC South, they need to improve on several flaws. The Texans went 9-7 last year and they have issues on the offensive side of the football which they have begun to address.

The Texans feel like they’ve found their franchise quarterback as they signed former Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweilier to a four-year, $72 million deal at the start of free agency. And during the National Football League Draft last month, the Texans attempted to get Osweiler some help in the earlier rounds when they used their first-round selection on Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver Will Fuller, which was followed by a third-round selection of Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Braxton Miller.

Will Fuller

Speed is the name of the game for both Fuller and Miller. At the National Football League Scouting Combine, Fuller was picking them up and putting them down as he ran a 4.32 in the 40-yard dash. Miller went to Ohio State as a quarterback, but he eventually converted to wide receiver, and upon drafting him, the Texans feel that he has untapped potential. And don’t think that gadget plays with Miller is something that hasn’t crossed the mind of Texans head coach Bill O’Brien who learned that from his time as an assistant coach for the New England Patriots under Bill Belichick.

But the Texans only had five picks in the draft, and they failed to upgrade their offensive line which needed to be upgraded. The Texans are rolling the dice on an unproven quarterback in Osweiler, and they need to sure up every position around him.

Indianapolis Colts

Grade: C

First Round Pick: Ryan Kelly-Center-Alabama

Best Pick: Round Four-Antonio Morrison-Inside Linebacker-Florida

Heading into the 2016 National Football League Draft, there weren’t questions surrounding the quarterback position for the Indianapolis Colts as Andrew Luck in entrenched as the guy there. But the team that is around Luck is where the issues begin as this is a Colts organization with a general manager in Ryan Grigson that must do a better job of putting play makers around their franchise quarterback on both sides of the football.

Luck took a beating last year as he played behind a porous offensive line. But Grigson began to fix this in the first round of the National Football League Draft when he selected Alabama Crimson Tide center Ryan Kelly. Kelly comes to the Colts as the Rimington Award winner as the nation’s top center. And the Colts are hopeful that Kelly will be able to anchor their offensive line in the mode the Jeff Saturday did at the position for so many years.

Antonio Morrison

Grigson and the Colts found themselves selecting several projects in this draft, but he might have found an impact player in the fourth round in Florida Gators inside linebacker Antonio Morrison. At 6’1″, 232 lbs., Morrison doesn’t have the physical intangibles that the National Football League is looking for at middle linebacker, but he is a football player that plays with determination and major instincts which is evident by his 294 career tackles at Florida. And for Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, he might have a solid starter on his hands with Morrison.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Grade: B+

First Round Pick: Jalen Ramsey-Free Safety-Florida State

Best Pick: Jalen Ramsey

Jalen Ramsey

2007 was the last time that the Jacksonville Jaguars made the playoffs in the National Football League, but the team is beginning to assemble play makers that could end that drought. The Jaguars hit it big in the early stages of the 2016 NFL Draft when they used the fifth overall pick on Florida State Seminoles safety Jalen Ramsey. In each of my mock drafts I had the Jags selecting Ramsey as the match between the player and organization appeared to be a perfect fit. For the longest time Jacksonville has needed impact players in their secondary, and what Ramsey provides them with is tremendous range.

In the second round the Jaguars selected UCLA Bruins linebacker Myles Jack. Jack suffered a knee injury last year in college that prevented him from being a top-10 pick in the draft, but he fell to the Jags who see him has another first-round pick. And once you factor in that Jacksonville is counting on the return of outside linebacker/defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., from a knee injury, this team could be ready to roll out three rookies in the starting lineup come September.

Tennessee Titans

Grade: B

First Round Pick: Jack Conklin-Offensive Tackle-Michigan State

Best Pick: Derrick Henry-Running Back-Alabama

Trading back and still getting value was a theme for the Tennessee Titans at the 2016 National Football League Draft. The Titans came into the draft with the first overall pick. But with teams such as the Los Angeles Rams very desperate to move up in order to select a quarterback, Tennessee moved down and they received compensation in the form of additional picks in the process. And after striking a deal with the Cleveland Browns, the Titans used the eighth overall pick on Michigan State Spartans offensive tackle Jack Conklin.

Jack Conklin

Conklin was the safest pick for the Titans at the time due to the fact that teams were passing on Mississippi Rebels offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil due to a questionable photo of him popped up on Twitter. At 6’6″, 308 lbs., Conklin has prototypical size to play left tackle in the National Football League, while Tennessee is hopeful that he can protect the blind side of quarterback Marcus Mariota who is clearly their franchise quarterback.

The Titans had three selections in the second round with the first one being used on Clemson Tigers defensive end Kevin Dodd. In Dodd’s last year at Clemson, he recorded 12 sacks in helping the Tigers reach the national title game. And at 6’5″, 277 lbs., the Titans are hopeful that he provide pressure off of the edge. Later in the second round, Tennessee selected Alabama Crimson Tide running back Derrick Henry. Last year Henry won the Heisman Trophy as the nation’s top player, and at 6’3″, 247 ls., he was a runaway freight train with the football. Henry’s presence in Tennessee will give the Titans a solid inside-out combination at the running back position with veteran running back DeMarco Murray who was acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this off-season. The arrival of Henry will be a welcome sight to the folks of Tennessee as they saw enough of him torching their beloved Tennessee Volunteers, and now they are hopeful that he can light up the scoreboard in their favor.

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2016 NFL Mock Draft 3.0

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Carson Wentz

1. Los Angeles Rams-Jared Goff-Quarterback-California

This is a make or break pick for Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher.

2. Philadelphia Eagles-Carson Wentz-Quarterback-Nortk Dakota State

Regardless of who the Philadelphia Eagles select here, the fans in Philly will boo the choice.

3. San Diego Chargers-Laremy Tunsil-Offensive Tackle-Ole Miss

Here the San Diego Chargers will find a player than can anchor their offensive line for the next decade.

 

4. Dallas Cowboys-Joey Bosa-Defensive End-Ohio State

The Dallas Cowboys could go in several directions here, but they need to put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars-Jalen Ramsey-Free Safety-Florida State

Jalen Ramsey will be a starter from his first day in Jacksonville and his playmaking ability will put fear into opposing offenses.

6. Baltimore Ravens-Ronnie Stanley-Offensive Tackle-Notre Dame

With quarterback Joe Flacco returning from a knee injury, the Baltimore Ravens must protect him up front.

Laquon Treadwell

7. San Francisco 49ers-Laquon Treadwell-Wide Receiver-Ole Miss

San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly loves speed, and he’ll get a wealth of it here with Laquon Treadwell.

8. Cleveland Browns-Ezekiel Elliot-Running Back-Ohio State

The Cleveland Browns could have one of the fastest backfield tandems in the National Football League with Ezekiel Elliot and quarterback Robert Griffin III.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Jack Conklin-Offensive Tackle-Michigan State

Last year the Tampa Bay Buccaneers found their franchise quarterback in Jameis Winston, and now they’ll find a left tackle that will protect his blindside.

Leonard Floyd

10. New York Giants-Leonard Floyd-Outside Linebacker-Georgia

It will come down to Shaq Lawson or Leonard Floyd here for the New York Giants. But right now Floyd is trending upwards.

11. Chicago Bears-Taylor Decker-Offensive Tackle-Ohio State

Jay Cutler is still the guy for the Chicago Bears at quarterback. And being that Cutler loves to throw the deep ball, Chicago must provide protection for him.

Vernon Hargreaves III

12. New Orleans Saints-Vernon Hargreaves III-Cornerback-Florida

Last year saw the New Orleans Saints secondary cooked by opposing offenses which makes the selection of Vernon Hargreaves III here a no-brainer.

13. Miami Dolphins-Eli Apple-Cornerback-Ohio State

The Miami Dolphins will get a cornerback in Eli Apple that isn’t afraid to play press coverage as he’ll bring some swagger to South Florida.

14. Oakland Raiders-Reggie Ragland-Inside Linebacker-Alabama

Very quietly the Oakland Raiders could have one of the best linebacker units in the National Football League.

15. Tennessee Titans-DeForest Bucker-Defensive End-Oregon

The Tennessee Titans could go with Shaq Lawson here, but DeForest Buckner possesses a little more versatility.

16. Detroit Lions-A’Shawn Robinson-Defensive Tackle-Alabama

The Detroit Lions need help in the trenches on both sides of the football, and A’Shawn Robinson is too talented to pass up on.

17. Atlanta Falcons-Sheldon Rankins-Defensive Tackle-Louisville

Brick by brick the Atlanta Falcons are building a solid defensive line.

18. Indianapolis Colts-Shaq Lawson-Defensive End-Clemson

Plain and simple the Indianapolis Colts need younger and more athletic players that can rush the quarterback.

Myles Jack

19. Buffalo Bills-Myles Jack-Outside Linebacker-UCLA

Myles Jack has top five talent, but concerns about his knee will see him fall in the draft.

20. New York Jets-Noah Spence-Defensive End-Eastern Kentucky

The New York Jets could go with quarterback Paxton Lynch here, but Noah Spence gives them another versatile edge rusher.

21. Washington Redskins-Corey Coleman-Wide Receiver-Baylor

The Washington Redskins have made it known that Kirk Cousins is their guy at quarterback which means that they need to give him more options at quarterback to get the football to.

22. Houston Texans-Jason Spirggs-Offensive Tackle-Indiana

The Houston Texans found their franchise quarterback in free agency when they signed Brock Osweiler; now it is time to protect him.

23. Minnesota Vikings-Will Fuller-Wide Receiver-Notre Dame

Speed is the name of the game in the National Football League, and wide receiver Will Fuller has a wealth of it.

24. Cincinnati Bengals-Keanu Neal-Strong Safety-Florida

The Cincinnati Bengals enter the National Football League Draft with needs on the defensive line and secondary and Keanu Neal fills one of those voids.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers-William Jackson III-Cornerback-Houston

The Pittsburgh Steelers need help on their defensive line, but they also need a cornerback to compliment William Gay.

26. Seattle Seahawks-Jarran Reed-Defensive Tackle-Alabama

The last two years have seen the Seattle Seahawks decimated in the trenches through free agency and trades as the rebuild begins here with Jarran Reed.

Vernon Butler

27. Green Bay Packers-Vernon Butler-Defensive Tackle-Louisiana Tech

With the surprising retirement of defensive tackle B.J. Raji, the Green Bay Packers need to find a new nose tackle that can plug up the middle.

28. Kansas City Chiefs-Josh Docston-Wide Receiver-TCU

During the Kansas City Chiefs playoff loss to the New England Patriots, their lack of production at the wide receiver position finally caught up to them.

Mackensie Alexander

29. Arizona Cardinals-Mackensie Alexander-Cornerback-Clemson

The Arizona Cardinals already have one of the best cornerbacks in the National Football League in Patrick Peterson, and the youngster Mackensie Alexander could learn from one of the best in the business.

30. Carolina Panthers-Germain Ifedi-Offensive Tackle-Texas A&M

The Carolina Panthers need more play makers at the wide receiver position, but they also need to provide more protection for quarterback Cam Newton.

31. Denver Broncos-Derrick Henry-Running Back-Alabama

The Denver Broncos could go quarterback here, but the talent of Derrick Henry is too good to pass on.

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