Going into the season, Jacksonville had a great draft. Acquiring Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson with the 1st overall pick among other choices among the rookies A former Heisman winning quarterback showed promise in the preseason. Still, Urban Meyer and Lawrence couldn’t find an answer at the start of the regular season, starting 0-5. With the season looking like they’ll be getting another high draft pick, the Jaguars fought back and secured their first win in Week 6 against the Miami Dolphins, winning 23-20.
They headed into the bye week on week 7 with a 1-6 record looking for an answer to their slump. Still, outside distractions got the best of the organization, with former Coach Urban Meyers’ time being in the media’s attention due to various things. It brought the chemistry they had built during the season to a screeching halt. However, in an attempt to turn things around, the Jaguars faced Seattle in week eight and could not secure a victory. However, they were able to win in a low-scoring matchup against the Bills, but that was the only other win before, on December 16th, the Jaguars let go of Urban Meyer, not entirely through his first season promoted Darrell Bevell to interim head coach. With the season closing up, the Jaguars were mainly focused on their weaknesses, having been eliminated from playoff contention weeks prior.
They could only secure one more win against the Colts in Week 18, finishing the season at 3-14 and securing the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft. However, the Jaguars answered a question early in the off-season by hiring Doug Pederson a few days ago. Pederson was a former assistant coach under current Chiefs head coach Andy Reid in Philadelphia before, in 2009, becoming the head coach of the Eagles, bringing them one Super Bowl win in 2017 before being let go after the 2020 season. The Jaguars have a lot of holes in their roster, so I’ll break down 3 top targets the Jaguars should look at, whether it’s free agency or trade.
Jacksonville began the season with games against the Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, and AFC Champions Cincinnati Bengals. Still, it was a difficult start, with the Jaguars losing every game for the first four weeks. Trevor started on a solid start with 332 passing yards in the season opener against the Texans but steadily declined from there, but as a rookie, you can learn from your mistakes and try to do the best job you can with the options that you have.
The Jaguars had a challenging task heading into week 5, trying to stop one of the best power backs in NFL history, Derrick Henry, and the Tennessee Titans, losing 37-19. They were desperate to get their first win even though they were already looking at a high draft pick in next year’s draft. But as the Miami Dolphins came into town, they fought hard and were able to get their first win and were able to head into the bye week with some momentum. Starting the bye week with a league-worst 1-5 record, Urban Meyer and the Jaguars needed answers to why the team wasn’t performing the way they wanted to. Whether it was Lawrence not being able to command the offense to reach the end zone or the defense wasn’t communicating enough to make stops, they still needed to find a way. Coming out of the bye week, they had to go to Seattle to try to contain the highly explosive offense with Russell Wilson, but unfortunately, that was not the case, losing 31-7.
As tensions ran high in the Jaguars’ locker room, it spread to the field when they were playing, as this time Trevor only got about 200 passing yards in one week against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 12. However, they would eventually lose, failing to capitalize on multiple opportunities with losses to the Falcons, Super Bowl LVI champions Los Angeles Rams, division rival Tennessee Titans, and Houston Texans. But after the 20-0 shutout loss against the Titans, after 13 games of inconsistency and multiple controversies, the Jaguars fired former Head Coach Urban Meyer. After players and coaches had issues with Meyer, the front office made an intelligent decision. Heading into their matchup against the Texans, defensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was promoted to interim head coach while searching for their permanent coach.
Week 15 started with a loss to the Houston Texans, which brought their losing streak to 5 games since defeating the Colts. Even though the Jaguars had been eliminated from playoff contention early in the year, they still wanted to close out the season on a good note, but they could not get things going the way they wanted to. They fell to the Jets and were soundly defeated by Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots by 40 points, which was their biggest blowout. When the Colts came back to face Jacksonville in the regular-season finale, the Jaguars were finally able to come together as a team and power through for a tough win. That eliminated the Colts from playoff contention, thus ending their season on a fantastic note! With one more win to end the season on a 3-14 record, slightly better than last year’s disappointing season of 1-15.
WR Odell Beckham Jr.
While the attention in the receiving core has been focused on Cooper Kupp in Los Angeles, Odell has been slowly coming back from injuries that have plagued him over the last few years. He tallied up 305 yards and five touchdowns. He has been a pivotal part of the Rams’ playoff run, bringing back flashes of his time in New York before his injuries slowed down his progress. And now, with Odell a champion, it’ll seem likely that he’ll stay in LA. If he signs in Jacksonville, look for him to be a WR1 on a team with a good core group of players. But as he rehabilitates from his injury in the Super Bowl, the Jaguars should pay close attention to the veteran receiver and maybe try to see if they can get him to come to Jacksonville and be a fantastic leader for the WR core in Jacksonville.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR/RB
Patterson is a unique player, playing both running back and wide receiver. He is a skilled player with explosive speed who, given an open field, can create space to get the easy catch for the conversion. If the Falcons are willing to part with him, I believe that the Jaguars could only give up this year’s 2nd round pick and next year’s 4th round pick to get Patterson and build a team with a good mix of veteran and young players. DE:
One of the biggest questions for the Jaguars this off-season is the defensive line. I think only getting 32 sacks. Trying to acquire DE Solomon Thomas from the Las Vegas Raiders would be the best option for the Jaguars. An explosive defender combines strength, quickness, and a muscle-car motor to drive him around the field, making play after play. He has the hands and feet to be a quick win specialist and the size to fit as a 4-3 or 3-4 defensive end who can reduce inside for pass-rush downs. He has all the athletic traits to become a high-impact player and possesses more than enough skill and talent to be a perfect fit for the Jaguars this off-season. While the Jaguars have many questions, this off-season seems to be a good one for them if they can make the best choices for the team.
And while this season was not as good as they hoped it would be, Jacksonville has hope that this off-season. They can use their salary cap space and draft picks to bring in some big names to fit Trevor Lawrence perfectly.