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On to '22: Too early look at the offense


JACKSONVILLE – The 2022 offseason is upon us.

We'll move forward in the offseason examining the Jaguars' offense, which ranked 27th in the league in total yards and 32nd in points in 2021. Here's a position-by-position look:

Quarterbacks (2)

2021 starter: Trevor Lawrence (17).

Others on the roster: C.J. Beathard.

Pending free agents: None.

Season in review: Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, stated all 17 regular-season games as a rookie – struggling early, playing well through a midseason stretch, struggling again and finishing with his best performance of the season in the season's final game. Lawrence showed poise and pocket presence throughout the season and grew as a team leader/franchise quarterback despite off-field issues surrounding the team much of the season. He completed 359 of 602 passes for 3,641 yards and 12 touchdowns with 17 interceptions, completing 23 of 32 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in a 26-11 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the regular-season finale at TIAA Bank Field.

Possible first-round quarterbacks: Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh; Matt Corral, Mississippi; Malik Willis, Liberty.

Chances of Jaguars selecting a quarterback in the first or second round: Next to none.

Too-early look at the offseason: This position appears essentially set, with Lawrence entrenched for the long-term as the franchise's starter and team leader. Beathard, a veteran who signed as an unrestricted free agent last offseason, is signed through 2023. The Jaguars could draft a developmental quarterback late in the draft or sign one in collegiate free agency.

All the best photos of the men under center for the Jacksonville Jaguars from the 2021 season.

Running backs (7)

2021 starters: James Robinson (13), Dare Ogunbowale (2), Carlos Hyde (2).

Others on the roster: Travis Etienne Jr., Ryquell Armstead, Nathan Cottrell, Mekhi Sargent.

Pending free agents: Ogunbowale (restricted).

Season in review: Injuries hurt here last season, with Etienne – the No. 25 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft – sustaining a season-ending Lisfranc foot injury during the preseason and Robinson dealing with a midseason heel injury before missing the final two games of the season with an Achilles injury. Robinson when healthy remained one of the NFL's better backs, rushing for 767 yards and eight touchdowns on 164 carries and catching 31 passes for 222 yards. Robinson rushed for a season-high 149 yards and a touchdown in a Week 5 loss to the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field, then sustained a heel injury that limited his time/productivity in the second half of the season before a season-ending Achilles injury in a Week 15 road loss to the New York Jets. The Jaguars finished 22nd in the NFL in rushing overall 103.2 yards per game, with Hyde rushing for 253 yards and a touchdown and Ogunbowale rushing for 137 yards and a touchdown.

Possible first-round running backs: None.

Chances of Jaguars selecting running back in the first or second round: Possibly in Round 2, but perhaps more likely in Round 3.

Too-early look at the offseason: This is an offseason position to watch because of the season-ending injuries to Etienne and Robinson. If both are healthy, this position will be one of the deepest – and most talented – on the roster. Robinson is a reliable, productive runner who can produce in any system and Etienne has game-breaking ability as a receiver/runner. But both players' injuries are serious, particularly for running backs. Signing a back in free agency or selecting one on Day 2 of the draft is possible if there are health concerns about either player.

Take a look at the best shots of the running back group from the 2021 season.

Wide receivers (11)

2021 starters: DJ Chark Jr. (4), Marvin Jones Jr. (16), Laviska Shenault Jr. (10), Laquon Treadwell (7), Tavon Austin (3), Jamal Agnew (2).

Others on roster: Jeff Cotton Jr., Terry Godwin, Josh Hammond, Tim Jones, Jaydon Mickens

Pending free agents: Chark, Austin, Treadwell, Godwin (exclusive rights free agent).

Season in review: The Jaguars struggled here at times, particularly with drops – and the position was unquestionably hurt when Chark sustained a season-ending broken ankle in a Week 4 loss at Cincinnati. Chark's injury left the team needing a deep threat to stretch defenses and ease pressure from the short- and intermediate passing game and the running game. Jones, a 10-year veteran who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent last offseason, led the team with 73 receptions for 823 yards and four touchdowns. Chark caught seven passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns – and Jones/Chark were the only Jaguars wide receivers with multiple touchdown receptions. Shenault caught 63 passes for 619 yards and no touchdowns and Treadwell caught 33 passes for 434 yards and a touchdown. Agnew made high impact as a returner and all-everything threat before a season-ending hip injury, catching 24 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown.

Possible first-round wide receivers: Garrett Wilson, Ohio State; Jameson Williams, Alabama; Treylon Burks, Arkansas; Chris Olave, Ohio State; Drake London, Southern California; Jahan Dotson, Penn State.

Chances of Jaguars selecting wide receiver in first round: Relatively high, particularly in Round 2 (No. 33 overall).

Too-early look at the offseason: This figures to be a major offseason focus, with the team needing more big plays moving forward. Jaguars receivers produced just seven plays of 30 or more yards in 2021, and the unit's nine total touchdown receptions tied the second-lowest total in franchise history. A top priority: the future of Chark, a second-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the start of the 2022 NFL League Year in March. Chark, a Pro Bowl selection following the 2019 season, figures to draw significant interest if he becomes a free agent because of his potential as a starting-level wide receiver and potential big play threat. A major free-agent signing and early draft selection seems possible here.

Check out the best pictures of the Jacksonville Jaguars' wide receiver core from the 2021 season.

Tight ends (6)

2021 starters: Dan Arnold (3), James O'Shaughnessy (6), Chris Manhertz (10), Luke Farrell (4), Jacob Hollister (2).

Others on roster: Kahale Warring.

Pending free agents: Hollister.

Season in review: This was a Jaguars position strongly affected by injury in 2021, with a major positive being the play of Arnold when healthy. Arnold, acquired in a September trade with the Carolina Panthers, emerged quickly as the Jaguars' best receiving tight end in recent memory; he caught 28 passes for 324 yards and no touchdowns in eight games and gave the team an athletic middle-of-the-field threat it has needed. O'Shaughnessy played just seven games while also dealing with injury issues, catching 24 passes for 244 yards. Manhertz, signed as an unrestricted free agent last offseason, played mostly as a blocking tight end and caught six passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. Jaguars tight ends as a group caught 74 passes for 730 yards and two touchdowns.

Possible first-round tight ends: None.

Chances of Jaguars selecting tight end in the first or second round: Low.

Too-early look at the offseason: This has been a major need in recent offseasons, but Arnold and Manhertz may change that. While Arnold missed the final five regular-season games with a knee injury, he showed enough in the middle of the field that the Jaguars may not prioritize pass-catching tight end this offseason. With O'Shaughnessy, Farrell, Arnold and Manhertz, the Jaguars have a serviceable tight end group capable of run-blocking and giving Lawrence options in the passing game. The team could look to upgrade if the right prospect or veteran is available, but it doesn't have an urgent feel.

All of the best photos of the Jaguars tight end group from the 2021 season.

Offensive line (14)

2021 starters: LT Cam Robinson (14), LT Walker Little (3), LG Andrew Norwell (17), C Brandon Linder (9), C Tyler Shatley (8), RG A.J. Cann (4), RG Ben Bartch (11), RG Will Richardson Jr. (2), RG KC McDermott (1), RT Jawaan Taylor (17).

Others on roster: Coy Cronk, Jared Hocker, Badara Traore, Tre'Vour Wallace-Simms.

Pending free agents: Robinson, Norwell, Cann, Richardson.

Season in review: The Jaguars entered the 2021 season with stability and continuity here, with all five Week 1 starters – Robinson, Norwell, Linder, Cann and Taylor – having started all or much of the previous two seasons when healthy. Taylor started all regular-season games for a third consecutive season, while Linder's nine games started marked the fourth time in eight NFL seasons he has started nine or fewer games. Shatley once again proved a capable backup at center with comparatively little drop-off at the position when Linder was injured. Bartch, a fourth-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, played consistently a starter after Cann sustained a Week 4 season-ending knee injury. Little, a second-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, played well in three starts for Robinson. The presence of Bartch, Shatley and Little made this one of the Jaguars' deepest positions. The Jaguars finished the season tied for seventh in the NFL at 4.5 yards per carry and allowed 32 sacks – ninth fewest in the NFL.

Possible first-round offensive linemen: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama; Ikem Ekwonu, OT, North Carolina State; Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State; Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa; Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M; Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan; Jaxson Kirkland, OT, Washington; Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa.

Chances of Jaguars selecting offensive line in first round: Very high, with a possibility of using the No. 1 overall selection on the position.

Too-early look at the offseason: This will be a major area of focus this offseason, with free-agent decisions to be made on Robinson, Norwell and Cann. Robinson, a second-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, played under the NFL's franchise tag in 2021; the Jaguars have the option of re-signing him to a long-term contract, franchising him again or allowing him to become a free agent. The emergence of Little late this past season could give the team flexibility, and he could start at left tackle if Robinson does not return. Bartch's emergence could allow the Jaguars to allow Cann to leave, and the team must decide whether to re-sign Norwell – who started 57 of 65 possible games since signing with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in 2018. Another factor: The Jaguars hold the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, and multiple offensive tackles are considered worthy of the selection.

See the best photos of the the Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line from the 2021 season.