JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars on Saturday reduced their roster to 53 players.
And although Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin made clear Saturday afternoon that the team would seriously study the waiver wire Saturday night – making more moves Sunday possible and even likely – this is the roster as it stands now.
There were, as always, a few surprises to make the roster Saturday and a few surprises the other way. We'll take a look at both in this position-by-position look at the roster after the cut to 53:
Starter: Blake Bortles. Reserves: Chad Henne, Brandon Allen.
The main question here entering Saturday: whether the Jaguars would keep three quarterbacks – i.e., whether Allen had done enough to merit a roster spot. The issue wasn't so much Allen's play during the preseason – the second-year veteran performed well in three extensive appearances – as much as numbers and needs at other positions. Allen made the 53, and figures to be the third-team quarterback.
Running backs (5)
Starters: Leonard Fournette, Chris Ivory, T.J. Yeldon. Reserves: Corey Grant. Fullback: Tommy Bohanon.
This was a position with little mystery, particularly after the Jaguars waived/injured rookie fullback Marquez Williams Friday. Fournette, Ivory, Yeldon and Grant all appeared locks entering Saturday, with Grant earning a spot with another standout preseason. There was a question whether the Jaguars would keep a true fullback or let a tight end handle blocking. They opted to keep Bohanon for the role.
Offensive linemen (9)
Starters: Left tackle Cam Robinson, left guard Earl Watford/Patrick Omameh, center Brandon Linder, right guard A.J. Cann, right tackle Jermey Parnell. Reserves: tackle Jeremiah Poutasi, tackle Josh Wells, center/guard Tyler Shatley.
This as expected was an area most intrigue Saturday. The Jaguars traded guard/center Luke Bowanko – a starter at left guard in Preseason Week 3 – to Baltimore for an undisclosed draft selection early in the day, then kept nine linemen rather than eight on the 53. The Week 1 starting left guard remains a mystery, with Omameh having started there the first two preseason games and Watford starting there Thursday; Coughlin on Saturday praised Watford's play in the preseason finale. Coughlin also said Shatley's Thursday's performance made the team feel like they had depth at his position, and that Wells can be a swing tackle.
Wide receivers (6)
Starters: Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee. Reserves: Allen Hurns, Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, Arrelious Benn.
No major surprises here, with the lone mystery entering Saturday whether the team would keep a seventh receiver. They opted against it, waiving/injured second-year veteran Shane Wynn and placing third-year veteran Rashad Greene Sr. on injured reserve. Despite speculation to the contrary, Coughlin said Saturday the team never tried to trade Hurns. A notable player here is Cole, the only undrafted rookie to make the Jaguars' final 53 this season.
Tight ends (3)
Starters: Marcedes Lewis. Reserves: Ben Koyack, Neal Sterling.
If there is a surprise here it's that the team kept just three players at the spot. Don't be surprised if Alex Ellis – among the players released – ends up on the practice squad. He played six games for the team last season.
Defensive ends (4)
Starters: Yannick Ngakoue, Calais Campbell. Reserves: Dante Fowler Jr., Dawuane Smoot.
A couple of minor surprises here, as both Jonathan Woodard and Malliciah Goodman were released. All four of the above-listed players figure to play major roles.
Defensive tackles (5)
Starters: Malik Jackson, nose Abry Jones. Reserves: Sheldon Day, Michael Bennett, Stefan Charles.
Day, Bennett and Charles all played in the preseason finale, which raised questions if all three would make the 53-man roster. The number here is a little deceiving because Campbell can move inside from end in passing situations. This is an area where the Jaguars could look at the waiver wire, particularly at reserve nose tackle.
Starters: Weak-side Telvin Smith, middle Paul Posluszny, strong-side Myles Jack. Reserves: Hayes Pullard III, Blair Brown, Lerentee McCray.
If there was a surprise here, it was the release of linebacker Josh McNary. His release meant two veterans signed as special-teams possibilities in the offseason – McNary and linebacker Audie Cole – didn't make the 53-man roster. Pullard, Brown and McCray all figure to be major players on special teams, with McCray having played well at the strong-side linebacker position after moving there late in preseason.
Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye. Nickel: Aaron Colvin. Reserves: Jalen Myrick, Tyler Patmon.
One minor surprise here was Myrick making the roster over veteran Brian Dixon, who played extensively with the first team in preseason/training camp. Coughlin said Saturday Myrick's speed and athleticism earned him a roster spot. This is another area that could change Sunday. Ramsey, Bouye and Colvin are front-line corners, but the rest of the corner position struggled at times in the preseason.
Starters: Free safety Tashaun Gipson, strong safety Barry Church. Reserves: Peyton Thompson, Jarrod Wilson.
No surprises here whatsoever. Gipson and Church are the clear starters, and Thompson and Wilson are both solid backups having spent last season as reserves at their respective positions. Thompson has added versatility because he can play cornerback.
Kicker Jason Myers, punter Brad Nortman, long snapper Matt Overton.
No surprises here. All three entered the weekend as the only players on the roster at their respective positions.