JACKSONVILLE – The 2015 NFL Draft has come and gone.
That doesn't mean the '15 offseason is complete, but it certainly means the high-profile signing, drafting and acquiring is done for the offseason – and it means we have a good idea how the Jaguars will look next season.
It is by any measure a vastly different roster than last offseason.
It's also a vastly different roster from the end of this past season with as many as nine or 10 potential new starters and a lot of new depth, too. That's huge change for a third consecutive year, and a clear sign that while Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell and Head Coach Gus Bradley are moving closer to finding the core of this team, the process still continues.
So, where are the Jaguars after the 2015 NFL Draft? How does the roster look as minicamp begins? We'll take a look over the next two days, beginning with this position-by-position look at the Jaguars' offense:
Players: Blake Bortles, Chad Henne, Stephen Morris, Jake Waters.
Analysis:The storyline here is Bortles. It will be a storyline as he develops from rookie to second-year starter, and it will continue to be a storyline after that. Such is life for a Top 5-drafted quarterback. Bortles' progress will be a major offseason story, though not much of significance really will be known until the regular season. That's when we'll see the early results of the offseason focus on fundamentals -- and how he plays with an offensive core that will be slightly more experienced and certainly more talented. Henne remains one of the league's best backups, but this is Bortles' position.
Running back (6)
Players: T.J. Yeldon, Denard Robinson, Toby Gerhart, Storm Johnson, Bernard Pierce, Corey Grant.
Analysis:It's hard to imagine Yeldon not starting Week 1 if healthy, and the rookie second-round draft selection will be the feature back. He's an every-down back and the Jaguars like his ability to get the most out of every carry as well as his versatility. Look for Robinson to play a key role – and to also get a chance at kick returner. With the Jaguars no longer carrying a fullback as many as five running backs could make the roster. Gerhart showed late last season he could contribute as a third-down back, and played better as he approached full health late in the season.
Wide receiver (12)
Players: Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee, Allen Hurns, Rashad Greene, Tandon Doss, Neal Sterling, Ace Sanders, Bryan Walters, Arrelious Benn, Damian Copeland, Tommy Streeter, Tony Washington.
Analysis:The Jaguars pursued Randall Cobb as a slot receiver in free agency, but make no mistake: the team likes this group and believes in it moving forward. Robinson and Lee figure to start opposite one another on the outside, and Hurns was the most productive of the Hurns/Robinson/Lee rookie trio last season. All three showed flashes last season, and all three need to take second-year jumps. Greene, a fifth-round selection last Saturday in the 2015 NFL Draft, was productive in college and the Jaguars like his chances of contributing immediately in the slot. Doss missed last season with an ankle injury after signing as an unrestricted free agent from Baltimore. He'll have every chance to win a roster spot as a punt returner/reserve receiver.
Tight end (7)
Players:Julius Thomas, Marcedes Lewis, Clay Harbor, Ben Koyack, Nic Jacobs, Marcel Jensen, Connor Hamlett.
Analysis: This area received a significant upgrade with the team's most high-profile free-agency signing: Thomas, who caught 24 touchdown passes for the Broncos over the past two seasons. If you're looking for a veteran presence in the receiving corps, count Thomas – but mostly count his athleticism and big-play/red-zone ability. Those elements mean he should make an immediate impact next season. Lewis remains a solid blocking presence, and the Jaguars should utilize some two tight-end sets with him and Thomas. With the team no longer using a fullback, four tight ends could make the roster.
Offensive line (14)
Players:Luke Joeckel (LT), Zane Beadles (LG), Luke Bowanko (C), Brandon Linder (RG), Jermey Parnell (RT), Stefen Wisniewski (C), A.J. Cann (G), Austin Pasztor (T), Josh Wells (T), Sam Young (T), Cody Booth (T), Chris Reed (G), Tyler Shatley (G), Brennan Williams (T).
Analysis:Outside of Bortles, this is the most-scrutinized and heavily-addressed area on the Jaguars this offseason – and deservedly so. The Jaguars allowed 71 sacks last season, and while not all of that number was on the offensive line, the area must improve. Joeckel and Linder will return as starters, but elsewhere there has been change or planned competition. Parnell, an unrestricted free agent from the Dallas Cowboys, is expected to be a significant upgrade at right tackle and Cann – a third-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft – likely will compete with Beadles and the competition could be close. The team likes Bowanko but signed Wisniewski after he started 61 games for the Raiders the past two seasons, and the competition will be real there, too. A huge offseason emphasis here is adding size and strength, with Cann and Parnell both more physical, brawling players than the Jaguars were acquiring the past two seasons. Joeckel, too, is adding significant weight and strength entering his second full season starting at left tackle. Overall, this is a significantly deeper unit and on paper, it should be significantly improved.