JACKSONVILLE – The offensive picture is clearer now. Much clearer.
The Jaguars in the last week have made a slew of roster moves to start of the NFL's 2021 League Year. The moves affecting the offense involved signing multiple receivers and skill players as free agents, also allowing multiple players to leave as free agents.
The result: a roster reset, with the receiving corps taking on a dramatically different look and with potential starters and roles for the 2021 season still to be determined.
And, of course, we're still more than a month from the 2021 NFL Draft – and all that implies.
So, where does the Jaguars' offense stand a few days into the league year and entering the team's offseason program? Here's a look:
Position coach: Passing-game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.
Projected starter: To be determined.
On the roster: C.J. Beathard, fifth season; Gardner Minshew II, third season; Jake Luton, second season.
Offseason to date: The Jaguars allowed veteran Mike Glennon, who started five of the last six games last season, to leave as an unrestricted free agent. They signed Beathard, who spent his first four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, on Wednesday.
About the position: This is the Jaguars' most high-profile, most-important position of the offseason – with outside expectations being that the team will address quarterback with the No. 1 overall selection in the draft. While most analysts believe that selection will be Clemson University quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Head Coach Urban Meyer said last week: "There's a lot of anticipation about the first pick. I understand there has been a lot of conversation out there, but there have been no decisions made. Gardner's done some very good things here in Jacksonville and he's a competitive maniac, which I really appreciate that about him. So, there's been no decisions made." Minshew, a sixth-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, has started 20 games over the last two seasons with a 7-13 record; Luton, a '20 sixth-round selection, went 0-3 as a starter as a rookie.
Running back (6)
Position coach: Bernie Parmalee.
Projected starter: James Robinson, second season.
On the roster: Robinson; Carlos Hyde, eighth season, Ryquell Armstead, third season; Dare Ogunbowale, fourth season; Nathan Cottrell, second season; Devine Ozigbo, second season.
Offseason to date: The Jaguars signed Hyde as an unrestricted free agent from the Seattle Seahawks and allowed Craig Reynolds to leave as an unrestricted free agent.
About the position: This remains an intriguing position as the draft moves closer. Robinson, who signed as a collegiate free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft, emerged as a surprise story and a more-than-capable starter by rushing for 1,070 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie; he also showed versatility and consistency as a blocker and receiver. The addition of Hyde, a 1,000-yard rusher with the Houston Texans in 2019 who has 4,726 yards and 36 touchdowns in his career, should mean the Jaguars don't have to over-rely on Robinson next season. But General Manager Trent Baalke before free agency spoke of adding explosiveness here – and it would make sense to add an explosive, young running back with one of the team's 10 draft selections.
Wide receiver (9)
Position coach: Sanjay Lal.
Projected starters: DJ Chark Jr., third season; Laviska Shenault Jr., second season; Marvin Jones Jr., 10th season.
On the roster: Chark; Shenault; Jones; Jamal Agnew, fifth season; Phillip Dorsett II, seventh season; Collin Johnson, second season; Terry Godwin, second season; Josh Hammond, first season; Jon'Vea Johnson, second season.
Offseason to date: The Jaguars signed Jones (Detroit Lions), Agnew (Lions) and Dorsett (Seahawks) as unrestricted free agents and allowed Chris Conley, Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook to leave as unrestricted free agents.
About the position: This has been an area of major change this offseason, but what remained the same was a young core with the potential to be one of the NFL's better young receiving duos. That young core is Chark and Shenault, of whom Jones said this week: "They can flat out ball." Chark, a Pro Bowl selection in 2019 and a second-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, has shown traits of a No. 1 receiver in three seasons – and caught 53 passes for 706 yards and five touchdowns last season. Shenault, a second-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, flashed at times as a rookie with rare physicality for a receiver and caught 58 passes for 600 yards and five touchdowns. This will be a fascinating area to watch as the team moves Jones into the mix among the top three receivers, with Dorsett adding explosiveness and speed. Johnson, a fifth-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, showed rare ability to make plays on the ball in the air as a rookie and caught 18 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns. A storyline to watch is the draft, with the possibility of adding a speed to the group from what many analysts considered a strong, deep receiving class. It wouldn't be a shock if the Jaguars used one of their five selections in the first three rounds to add a playmaker here.
Tight ends (4)
Position coach: Tyler Bowen.
Projected starters: Chris Manhertz, sixth season; to be determined.
On the roster: Manhertz; James O'Shaughnessy, seventh season; Tyler Davis, second season; Ben Ellefson, second season.
Offseason to date: The Jaguars signed Manhertz as an unrestricted free agent from the Carolina Panthers and allowed veteran Tyler Eifert and Eric Saubert to leave as free agents. They also re-signed O'Shaughnessy shortly after free agency began.
About the position: This remains one of the most-discussed positions on the roster, with Meyer saying last week that the position was a "high priority" entering free agency and with the team signing Manhertz to play the team's "Y" – or blocking – tight-end position. "We identified the guy, had him at the top of the list and that's [Chris] Manhertz and we got him," Meyer said. The Jaguars re-signed O'Shaughnessy at the "F" – or receiving tight-end position, with Meyer saying while the team will count on O'Shaughnessy, "We have not finalized that piece of the puzzle yet." Jaguars tight ends caught 68 passes for 637 yards and two touchdowns last season, with Eifert catching 36 for 349 yards and two touchdowns and O'Shaughnessy – in his first year removed from a 2019 season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament – catching 26 passes for 262 yards and no touchdowns. Look for this to be a heavily discussed position as the draft approaches, with one of the first five selections used here a real possibility.
Offensive line (13)
Position coach: George Warhop.
Projected starters: Left tackle Cam Robinson, fifth season; left guard Andrew Norwell, eighth season; center Brandon Linder, eighth season; left guard A.J. Cann, seventh season; right tackle Jawaan Taylor, third season.
On the roster: Robinson; Norwell; Linder; Cann; Taylor; Tyler Shatley, seventh season; Will Richardson Jr., fourth season; Ben Bartch, second season; KC McDermott, third season; Austen Pleasants, first season; Tre'vour Wallace-Simms, second season; Derwin Gray, second season; Garrett McGhin, second season.
Offseason to date: The Jaguars placed the franchise tag on Robinson and re-signed Shatley before free agency began but made no other moves at this position.
About the position: Meyer since shortly after his hiring has talked about liking the offensive line, and the team's moves around the start of the league year supported that stance. Those moves also ensured the offensive line will enter 2020 with as more continuity than any other position on the roster, with Robinson, Norwell, Linder, Cann and Taylor essentially entering their third consecutive season forming the starting line. The decision to tag Robinson means he likely will play the season on a one-year contract or re-sign a long-term deal with the team. "Coach Warhop feels very strong about his future and the development," Meyer said of Robinson. "We realize he has a great future. His ceiling is very high." Meyer also addressed the line overall shortly after free agency began, saying: "Especially the interior line, I feel really good about them. Norwell, Linder, and A.J. – those guys are good and our right tackle, I feel like his future's ahead of him too. So, the offensive line, they should be better than a year [ago]. The expectation is that the offensive line will be much better next year."