JACKSONVILLE – Doug Pederson likes more and more about what he sees.
Pederson, hired as the Jaguars' head coach in early February, made that clear during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month. He made it clearer Wednesday.
"We know it's going to take one player at a time, one play at a time, but I'm encouraged about where we are," Pederson said.
The Jaguars on Wednesday announced they had agreed to terms with seven unrestricted free agents: wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi, linebacker Foye Oluokun, cornerback Darious Williams, tight end Evan Engram and offensive guard Brandon Scherff.
"I feel very comfortable and confident in the direction we're headed as a football team," Pederson said Wednesday as he and General Manager Trent Baalke discussed Wednesday's announced moves. "These are the conversations Trent and I have had over the last couple of months."
Wednesday's seven acquisitions represent more than 10 percent of a 53-player game-day roster, a first step in an offseason of transition.
"Now, it's about getting on the grass and just seeing these pieces all come together," Pederson said. "We talk about culture a lot. We have to bring that all together now. It's my job to do that and see where everybody settles into a new offensive scheme, defensive scheme and special teams.
"That's the exciting part about it. I'm excited about where are and where we're headed."
Wednesday also featured multiple former Jaguars players becoming unrestricted free agents, a group that started 74 games last season. Six players remain from the Jaguars' 2020 Week 1 starting lineup and 18 players on that roster remain.
"The rosters are always evolving in this league," Baalke said. "The natural thing is 30-to-40 percent turnover almost on a yearly basis. There's a lot of churning of rosters. Guys become free agents; they move on. Guys get injured and don't come back. There are a lot of factors involved. We had to address some serious needs that the organization had. There just aren't that many players still left for various reasons.
“We feel really good about where we’re at. We’re trying to build stability within the ranks, don’t churn the roster as much as it has been churned, get guys into second contracts as Jaguars. That’s the important thing." GM Trent Baalke
"Once we start getting in that rhythm, I think the build will really take care of itself."
Baalke on Wednesday reiterated his stance from the combine that the Jaguars are very much willing to listen to trade offers for the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. "We're open for business," Baalke said Wednesday. The Jaguars hold the No. 1 selection for a second consecutive offseason, having selected quarterback Trevor Lawrence No. 1 in '21. The '22 draft is scheduled to be held April 28-30.
Baalke and Pederson on Wednesday discussed offensive line extensively, saying they believed the unit had improved this week with the addition of Scherff – a five-time Pro Bowl selection in seven seasons with Washington. Baalke also discussed left tackle Cam Robinson, saying the team would like to reach a contract extension with the sixth-year veteran. Robinson played on the franchise tag last season and the team last week placed the tag on him for a second consecutive season. "The longer I've been around Cam the more I realize how important the game is to him," Baalke said. "He came from a winning program [in college at Alabama]. I've watched him sprain his ankle at practice, tape it up and go back to work. I've watched him rip the tendon his thumb, look down at it, tell [team trainers] to tape it and go play. Guys that don't love the game don't do that. He has proven over time that he's willing to sacrifice at a high level to help this team win. We feel very good about Cam, where he's at and his potential as a player. We feel there's a big upside with Cam."
Baalke on Wednesday said linebacker Dylan Moses is "healthy and ready to go" after spending his 2021 rookie season on the team's reserve/non-football injury list. Moses, once considered a potential first-round selection before missing the 2019 season at Alabama with a knee injury and playing through a meniscus injury in 2020, signed with the Jaguars as a collegiate free agent following the 2021 NFL Draft.