JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars on Friday reduced their roster to 54 players.
The team is scheduled to receive a roster exemption on Saturday for wide receiver Justin Blackmon, who will begin the regular season serving a four-game suspension. That will put the Jaguars at the league-mandated 53-player roster limit as of Saturday at 6 p.m.
The Jaguars are also expected to be active claiming and signing players released by other teams in the coming days. Teams can begin signing players to the practice squad Sunday at noon.
Until then, here’s the breakdown of the Jaguars’ roster, by position, as it stands now – with a comment from jaguars.com senior writer John Oehser:
*Quarterbacks (3): Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne and Ricky Stanzi. Comment: Gabbert will start provided he is healthy, with Henne as the backup. The team acquired Ricky Stanzi off waivers from Kansas City Tuesday, and liked him enough to keep him on the active roster over Matt Scott and Mike Kafka. Look for Scott to possibly return on the practice squad.
*Running backs (3): Maurice Jones-Drew, Justin Forsett, Jordan Todman. Comment: Todman played his way on the team with a productive preseason. Forsett didn’t play in the preseason because of a toe injury, but the team is familiar enough with him and likes what he brings. “Offensive weapon” Denard Robinson also fits into this position.
*Fullbacks (2): Will Ta’ufo’ou, Lonnie Pryor. Comment: The Jaguars surprised some by keeping two fullbacks, but Pryor is versatile and can play running back or tight end, and Ta’ufo’ou is a strong blocker.
*Offensive weapon (1): Denard Robinson. Comment: He will begin the season in a running back/sometimes wildcat role, and could get some time at . . . oh, forget that: he’s on the team and will be on the field. Let’s leave it at that.
*Tight ends (3): Marcedes Lewis, Allen Reisner, Brett Brackett. Comment: Reisner played his way into a front-line role opposite Lewis when the team goes to two tight ends.
*Wide receivers (5): Cecil Shorts III, Justin Blackmon, Ace Sanders, Mike Brown, Jordan Shipley. Comment: With Blackmon suspended, the Jaguars are four deep at the position for now. This is an area where the Jaguars could add a veteran to get them through Blackmon’s suspension, but Robinson could also figure into the early-season plan here. Rookie Tobais Palmer is a practice-squad candidate.
*Offensive tackles (3): Eugene Monroe, Luke Joeckel, Cameron Bradfield. Comment: No surprises here. The Jaguars will look at the waiver wire everywhere, and that could happen here, but they like Bradfield as a third tackle and Monroe and Joeckel make this an area of strength.
*Offensive guards (4): Will Rackley, Uche Nwaneri, Austin Pasztor, Mike Brewster. Comment: Again, not much surprise here. Brewster can also move over to play center.
*Centers (2): Brad Meester, Dan Gerberry. Comment: Gerberry was a surprise choice to many, but teams covet players who can play center. You must have multiple guys who can snap the ball. Rackley can play center, but he’s returning from an ankle injury, so Gerberry gives them an additional center.
*Defensive ends (4): Tyson Alualu, Jason Babin, Jeremy Mincey, Andre Branch. Comment: Alualu and Babin are the clear starters, and Mincey and Alualu can each move inside on passing situations. Branch struggled at times in preseason, but made the roster over Ryan Davis.
*Defensive tackles (5): Sen’Derrick Marks, Roy Miller, Kyle Love, Abry Jones, Brandon Deaderick. Comment: Marks and Miller appear to have improved this position over last season, and Love and Deaderick are experienced depth. Jones made the roster as an undrafted rookie.
*Middle linebacker (2): Paul Posluszny, LaRoy Reynolds. Comment: Reynolds made the team as an undrafted free agent, and appears solid as a backup to Posluszny.
*Outside linebacker (4): Russell Allen, Geno Hayes, Andy Studebaker, Kyle Knox. Comment: The Jaguars opted for veteran depth over young players here, releasing Brandon Marshall and Julian Stanford and kept Studebaker and Knox, each of whom was acquired in the preseason.
*Cornerbacks (5): Alan Ball, Dwayne Gratz, Mike Harris, Will Blackmon, Demetrius McCray. Comment: Harris made the team as a nickel corner over veteran Marcus Trufant, who signed as a free agent in the offseason and released Friday.
*Safeties (5): Dwight Lowery, Johnathan Cyprien, Josh Evans, Chris Prosinski, Antwon Blake. Comment: Prosinski and Evans made the roster as reserves, with Blake one of the team’s top special teams players.
*Special teams (3): Kicker Josh Scobee, punter Bryan Anger and long snapper Carson Tinker. Comment: Tinker made the team over veteran Jeremy Cain, who was released in the first round of cuts. Other than that, no mystery in this unit.