The Jacksonville Jaguars are coming off a very disappointing season after surprising everyone just two seasons ago. After being declared out of playoff contention just about halfway through the 2018 season, things could have gone much better for the Jaguars as they made the AFC Championship the year prior.
Now with a much-improved offense led by Nick Foles, the offense can look to get back on track and match the strength of it’s top defensive unit. Head coach Doug Marrone will likely be in hot water if the Jaguars fail to find success, but all signs point onward and upward for Jacksonville in 2019.
Defense remains a top-five unit
After linebacker Telvin Smith hit the team with an atomic bomb and let them know he would not be playing football in 2019, it’s tough to believe this is the year the defense gets back on track. However, a brilliant draft pick in Josh Allen could prove to be the difference maker. Allen is a versatile linebacker the Jaguars could very well use as a defensive end in some situations as well. This means the Jaguars defense will keep opposing offenses on their toes up front while Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye lock down the secondary.
Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, and Myles Jack are still with the Jaguars after the departure of some key players, but these three have proved to be key contributors in the last two seasons. Since Campbell’s arrival, the Jaguars defense has been a top-five unit in the league. Despite a horribly disappointing season in 2o18, the defense was still a force to be reckoned with. The era of “Sacksonville” is going to be alive and well this season.
Nick Foles, Leonard Fournette bring forth a high-powered offense
Nick Foles is an undeniable upgrade to Blake Bortles so it’s not completely out of reach to suspect things will be different for the better in Jacksonville next season. Unfortunately, Leonard Fournette’s health was a huge concern as it was in his college career. If he can stay healthy like he did in his rookie season, the Jaguars offense could be very scary for opposing defenses.
Dede Westbrook, Marqise Lee, and Chris Conley are all extremely talented receivers, but they have yet to reach their full potential as well as stay healthy over the years. Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo could turn things around for the Jaguars receivers as he did with the Minnesota Vikings last season.
Josh Allen wins Rookie DPOY Award
The Jaguars did their due diligence in this year’s draft by taking perhaps the most versatile and talented defensive player in the draft: Kentucky’s Josh Allen. While earlier mock drafts had speculated Allen wouldn’t last past the first three picks, the Jaguars were fortunate enough to get him for a bargain at the seventh spot.
Allen brings forth intensity and great tackling ability but could fill in admirably while Telvin Smith puts his career on a standstill. Allen has stiff competition this year, but a player with his abilities on such a defensively dominant team could bring out his full potential. Allen will likely be well over the 100 tackle mark and could see double-digit sacks in 2019.
Marqise Lee Stays Healthy, Reaches 1,000 Receiving Yards
There’s absolutely no denying Marqise Lee’s talents, he has the potential to be a top receiver in the league, but his health has put a continuous strain on his career. Lee has yet to start and play in every game in a full season, but this could be the one. Now with a capable quarterback in search of a top target, Lee could fare very well this season with Foles slinging the ball around.
Lee could find himself on the receiving end of 60-plus receptions to go along with 1,000 receiving yards. The Jaguars former second-round pick gets a new offensive coordinator in John DeFilippo and Lee could be featured heavily in the offense in 2019.