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The 53: Breaking Down the Roster

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JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars on Tuesday reduced their roster to 53 players.

The roster breakdown as of Tuesday at 4 p.m.: 24 offensive players, 26 defensive players, a punter, a kicker and a long snapper. General Manager Trent Baalke and Head Coach Doug Pederson are expected to discuss the moves Thursday afternoon.

The Jaguars waived 26 players and released six Tuesday, with one other being waived/injured, two others placed on injured reserve and left tackle Cam Robinson placed on reserve/suspended for the first four games of the regular season. The NFL also announced that cornerback Chris Claybrooks has been placed on the Commissioner Exempt list following an incident this past summer.

NFL teams had until Tuesday at 4 p.m. to reduce rosters to the 53-player regular-season limit. Practice squads are expanded for a third consecutive season – with 16 players on the practice squad and six of those players allowed to be veterans of any experience.

A position-by-position look at the Jaguars' 53-man roster as of Tuesday at 4 p.m. ⬇️


Quarterbacks (2)

Projected starter: Trevor Lawrence (third NFL season). Others on roster: C.J. Beathard (seventh).

The Jaguars continue to be strong and stable here, with Lawrence – the No. 1 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft – the clear starter entering his third NFL season after a strong finish to 2022. Beathard remains Lawrence's backup for a third consecutive season and the Jaguars like his decision-making and experience. The Jaguars waived rookie Nathan Rourke, a former Canadian Football League standout with the British Columbia Lions who impressed observers during the 2023 preseason. Rourke is a candidate for the practice squad if he makes it through waivers.

Running Backs (4)

Projected starter: Travis Etienne Jr. (third NFL season). Others on roster: Tank Bigsby (rookie), D'Ernest Johnson (fifth), JaMycal Hasty (fourth).

This appears to be a position of strength – and it may be the team's strongest running-back group since Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew in the mid-to-late 2000s. Etienne rushed for 1,125 yards and five touchdowns in 2023, and has looked stronger and faster and more confident in the '23 preseason. Bigsby, a third-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, has looked like a starting-level back – and will add versatility and depth to the backfield. Johnson, after signing as an unrestricted free agent from the Cleveland Browns this past offseason, earned his way onto the roster with a strong preseason. Hasty's speed and Johnson's productivity forced the Jaguars to keep four here, possibly at the expense of other positions.

Wide Receivers (7)

Projected starters: Calvin Ridley (fifth NFL season), Christian Kirk (sixth), Zay Jones (seventh). Others on roster: Jamal Agnew (seventh), Elijah Cooks (rookie), Tim Jones (second), Parker Washington (rookie).

If the running-back position looks strong, this area looks stronger – and it was particularly strong and deep throughout preseason and training camp. Ridley, acquired in a November 2022 trade with the Atlanta Falcons, has looked explosive and healthy after not playing since October 2021 – and he figures to be a true No. 1 receiver. Kirk, who had 1,108 yards and eight touchdowns receiving last season, and Jones – who had 823 yards receiving and five touchdowns last season – appear to be improving timing and cohesion with Lawrence. That could give the Jaguars one of the best wide receiving corps in the NFL, with the speed of Agnew – one of the league's better kickoff punt returners – giving the offense a unique weapon at No. 4 receiver. Credit Cooks for making the team as an undrafted collegiate free agent and forcing the Jaguars to keep a seventh player at a loaded position. Jones made the team as a four-core special teams player and reserve receiver.

Tight Ends (3)

Projected starter(s): Evan Engram (seventh NFL season), Luke Farrell (third). Others on roster: Brenton Strange (rookie).

This is one of many positions on this team that has improved and solidified significantly over the past two offseasons/seasons, and it now enters 2023 with front-line talent and depth. Engram re-signed as an unrestricted free agent this past offseason after proving critical to the offense in his first season with the team last season. His presence gives the Jaguars four dangerous, reliable options at receiver/tight end. Farrell has developed in three seasons into a front-line blocking tight end capable of producing as a receiver. Strange also is a strong blocker who flashed in training camp, and should contribute significantly as a rookie with big-time future potential. Something of a surprise was the release of first-year veteran Gerrit Prince, who could be brought back on the practice squad.

Offensive Linemen (8)

Projected starters: Left tackle Walker Little (third NFL season), left guard Ben Bartch (fourth), center Luke Fortner (second), right guard Brandon Scherff (ninth), right tackle Anton Harrison (rookie). Others on roster: Tyler Shatley (tenth), Cooper Hodges (rookie), Cole Van Lanen (third).

This was perhaps the most intriguing position leading to Tuesday. One of the roster's deepest areas, it also sustained multiple injuries/health issues in training camp that necessitated some adjustments as the Jaguars trimmed the roster. The projected starters appear healthy entering the regular season, with Bartch having returned for Preseason Week 3 after starting training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament that ended his 2022 season in Week 5. Little is expected to start the first four regular-season games with 2017-2022 starting left tackle Robinson missing that period because of an NFL suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. Fortner and Scherff are entering their second seasons starting at their positions, and Harrison – the No. 27 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft – played well in two preseason starts. The team opted to keep Hodges on the 53 even though he has a patellar injury that will keep him out early in the season. Look for the team to potentially add a player here in the coming days for early-season depth.

Outside Linebackers (4)

Projected starters: Josh Allen (fifth NFL season), Travon Walker (second). Others on roster: K'Lavon Chaisson (fourth), Yasir Abdullah (rookie).

This is an area to watch early in the regular season, with improving the pass rush a big early-season storyline. Allen, the No. 7 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, and Walker – the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft – had solid and healthy preseasons. Head Coach Doug Pederson said Chaisson, the No. 20 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, is entering the season as the third rusher. Abdullah, a fifth-round selection in the 2023 NFL, stood out during the preseason with an interception and a sack along with multiple pressures.

Defensive Linemen (6)

Projected starters: DaVon Hamilton (fourth NFL season), Roy Robertson-Harris (seventh), Foley Fatukasi (sixth). Others on roster: Adam Gotsis (eighth), Tyler Lacy (rookie), Jeremiah Ledbetter (sixth).

This is another area to watch early in the season, with an area of strength something of a concern because of injuries/health issues. Hamilton, who signed a contract extension in the offseason, missed Preseason Week 3 with a non-football-related back issue and his early-season status is unknown. Fatukasi, a veteran who signed as an unrestricted free agent in the 2022 offseason, was having a strong preseason and training camp before missing the last two preseason games with a foot issue. Robertson-Harris, who also signed a contract extension in the offseason, followed a strong performance at the end of the 2022 season with a consistent and strong preseason/2023 training camp. Ledbetter shined in the preseason and Gotsis has been a consistent reserve in recent seasons.

Inside Linebackers (5)

Projected starters: Foye Oluokun (sixth NFL season), Devin Lloyd (second). Others on roster: Chad Muma (second), Shaquille Quarterman (fourth), Caleb Johnson (third).

No major surprises here. Oluokun led the NFL in tackles for a second consecutive season last season, and Lloyd – the No. 27 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft – had a strong preseason and training camp. Muma, a third-round '22 selection, gives the Jaguars front-line depth here. Quarterman and Johnson are four-core special teams players and solid returning reserves.

Cornerbacks (6)

Projected starters: Tyson Campbell (third NFL season), Darious Williams (fifth). Others on the roster: Gregory Junior (second), Tre Herndon (sixth), Christian Braswell (rookie), Montaric Brown (second).

This was another area without major surprises, with Campbell – one of the NFL's top young players at the position – and Williams long-established as starters. Junior and Herndon battled for the third cornerback position and give the team solid depth there. The team likes Braswell's potential as a future significant contributor, and Brown made the roster as a second-year player after playing mostly as a reserve in eight games last season.

Safeties (5)

Projected starters: Rayshawn Jenkins (seventh NFL season), Andre Cisco (third). Others on roster: Daniel Thomas (fourth), Andrew Wingard (fifth), Antonio Johnson (rookie).

Another position with few surprises. Jenkins and Cisco enter their second consecutive season as the starting safety duo, with Thomas and Wingard both four-core special teams players and key reserves together for a fourth season. Player to watch here: Johnson, a fifth-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft who has impressed in training camp and preseason. He is currently out with a hamstring injury, but could figure in the backfield rotation upon his return.

Specialists (3)

Kicker Brandon McManus (tenth NFL season), punter Logan Cooke (sixth), long snapper Ross Matiscik (fourth).

No surprises here. Cooke returns for a sixth season as one of the top punters in the NFL, and Matiscik is expected to be ready for Week 1 after a preseason shoulder issue. The Jaguars signed McManus as a free agent this past offseason.