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The 53: Breaking down the roster

Breaking-Down-The-Roster

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

The breakdown as of Tuesday at 4 p.m.: 23 offensive players, 26 defensive players, a punter, two kickers and a long snapper.

"It's getting there," General Manager Trent Baalke said late Tuesday afternoon. "It's getting to what we envisioned, not only what we're looking for physically, but we keep alluding to the character of the football team, the character of the men in the locker room, the character of the men who are going to go out in Duval County and represent the organization …

"That's important to us. We feel really good about the men in that room. We're going to continue to build upon that."

The Jaguars waived 14 players Tuesday and waived/injured two others. They released four players, waived six others and traded wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. to the Carolina Panthers on Monday. NFL teams had until Tuesday at 4 p.m. to reduce rosters to the 53-player regular-season limit.

The Jaguars because they finished with the NFL's worst record last season have the No. 1 position on the NFL waiver wire.

"We're going to do our due diligence," Baalke said. "If there's a player on the cut list that we feel can upgrade the roster, we'll make that decision."

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.

"We feel good," Baalke said. "We've added quite a few new faces. There are a lot of new players in that locker room over the last two years that we've added to it. We feel good about the men in that locker room? That's why they're here.

"Do we feel like there are positions we could upgrade? The answer is yes, but you could come off a Super Bowl year and you're still feeling the same way. You're always looking to add to the depth of your roster."

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

Quarterbacks (2)

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

The drama here this week was deep on the depth chart, with Lawrence – the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft – the clear starter and the veteran Beathard locked in as Lawrence's backup for a second consecutive season. The Jaguars on Tuesday waived rookie E.J. Perry, a coveted free-agent signing shortly after the draft. Perry makes sense as a practice-squad player if he goes unclaimed by another team.

Running backs (3)

Projected starter(s): James Robinson (third NFL season)/Travis Etienne Jr. (second NFL season). Others on roster: Snoop Conner (rookie).

The Jaguars are potentially very good here, with the major concern Robinson and Etienne continuing to return from serious injuries sustained in 2021. Robinson, the Jaguars' leading rusher the past two seasons, has returned rapidly from an Achilles injury sustained in late December and the Jaguars are optimistic he will contribute early. Etienne, the No. 25 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, has looked quick and confident returning from an August 2021 Lisfranc injury that cost him his entire rookie season. Baalke on Tuesday said the Jaguars feel good about both players' health and that the team likes Conner's development thus far. "We feel good, but it's a position we'll continue to look at, monitor and add to if necessary," Baalke said. The Jaguars waived running back Ryquell Armstead Monday and running back Mekhi Sargent Tuesday, keeping Conner – a fifth-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft – as the third back.

Wide receivers (5)

Projected starters: Christian Kirk (fifth NFL season), Marvin Jones Jr. (11th), Zay Jones (sixth). Others on roster: Jamal Agnew (sixth), Tim Jones (first).

The Jaguars were busy here in recent days. Jones, who originally signed with the Jaguars as a collegiate free agent following the 2021 NFL Draft, led the team in the preseason with 14 receptions for 219 yards. The Jaguars on Monday released wide receiver Laquon Treadwell and traded wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. – a second-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft – to the Carolina Panthers. They also waived Jeff Cotton Jr., rookie Kevin Austin Jr. and Willie Johnson this week.

Tight ends (4)

Projected starter(s): Evan Engram (sixth NFL season), Chris Manhertz (seventh). Others on roster: Dan Arnold (sixth), Luke Farrell (second).

There were no real surprises or drama here this week, with Engram and Arnold – as expected – projected to enter the season as the top two receiving tight ends and Manhertz remaining a front-line run-blocker. The Jaguars waived rookie free-agent Gerrit Prince Tuesday, but he could be a good selection for the practice squad.

Offensive linemen (9)

Projected starters: Left tackle Cam Robinson (sixth NFL season), left guard Ben Bartch (third), center Luke Fortner (rookie), right guard Brandon Scherff (eighth), right tackle Jawaan Taylor (fourth)/Walker Little (second). Others on roster: Tyler Shatley (ninth), Will Richardson Jr. (fifth), Cole Van Lanen (second).

A position of intrigue appears to be settled as the regular-season approaches, with Head Coach Doug Pederson on Tuesday saying a decision has been made about who will start at right tackle between Little and Taylor. Pederson said he will wait to announce the decision until next week. Bartch has worked with the first team at left guard in recent weeks after Shatley began the preseason there, and Fortner – a third-round selection in the '22 draft – has worked as the first-team center since the start of 2022 Training Camp. The team waived offensive linemen Coy Cronk, Nick Ford and Darryl Williams – a day after releasing offensive lineman KC McDermott and waiving offensive lineman Badara Traore.

Ends/linebackers (5)

Projected starters: Josh Allen (fourth NFL season), Travon Walker (rookie). Others on roster: K'Lavon Chaisson (third), Jamir Jones (second), De'Shaan Dixon (rookie).

Allen and Walker give the Jaguars significant front-line talent here, with Allen selected No. 7 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft and Walker selected No. 1 overall in '22. Chaisson, the No. 20 overall selection in '20, figures to be a key reserve and special teams player with Dixon making the roster after signing in April as a collegiate free agent from Norfolk State. The Jaguars waived outside linebacker Rashod Berry Tuesday.

Nose tackles (1)

Projected starter: DaVon Hamilton (third NFL season).

This position featured one of Tuesday's surprises, with the Jaguars waiving second-year veteran Jay Tufele – a fourth-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. That left Hamilton as technically the lone "nose tackle" on the roster, but end Foley Fatukasi can play the position and is also a space-eating, run-defending down lineman in this scheme. The Jaguars also waived defensive lineman Israel Antwine and waived/injured defensive lineman Raequan Williams Tuesday after waiving defensive lineman Auzoyah Alufohai Monday. Pederson said with offenses moving toward more "11 personnel" – three-wide receiver formations, there are fewer snaps for nose tackle and pure defensive tackles. He also said he likes the versatility of the Jaguars' defensive front. "There are a lot of combinations that can take the place if DaVon has to come out," Pederson said. "We're happy where we are with that group."

Defensive ends (5)

Projected starters: Roy Robertson-Harris (sixth NFL season) Foley Fatukasi (fifth). Others on roster: Arden Key (fifth), Dawuane Smoot (sixth), Adam Gotsis (seventh).

This appears to be one of the deepest, most-experienced positions on the roster, with Fatukasi (calf) the lone player with a significant injury as the preseason ends. Fatukasi, while listed as a defensive end, also plays interior line and gives the Jaguars depth and stoutness on the interior defensive front. Key, who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent from the San Francisco 49ers, had three sacks in the preseason; he and Smoot could give the Jaguars pass-rushing depth and the ability to have the defensive line play in "waves."

Linebackers (4)

Projected starters: Foye Oluokun (fifth NFL season), Devin Lloyd (rookie). Others on roster: Chad Muma (rookie), Shaquille Quarterman (third).

This position featured major offseason turnover with the Jaguars signing Oluokun as an unrestricted free agent from the Atlanta Falcons in March before selecting Lloyd in Round 1 and Muma in Round 3 of the 2022 NFL Draft. That leaves Quarterman – a fourth-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft from Miami – as the lone returner. The team released linebacker Tyrell Adams and waived linebacker Chapelle Russell Tuesday.

Cornerbacks (7)

Projected starters: Shaquill Griffin (sixth NFL season), Tyson Campbell (second). Others on roster: Darious Williams (fifth), Tre Herndon (fifth), Chris Claybrooks (third), Montaric Brown (rookie), Josh Thompson (rookie).

This is a deep area, with the Jaguars keeping seven corners – an indication of the need for depth here and the need for fast, athletic defenders on special teams. Thompson made the 53 a collegiate free agent with the team waiving '22 sixth-round selection Gregory Junior Tuesday. Look for Junior to be on the practice squad if he goes unclaimed.

Safeties (4)

Projected starters: Rayshawn Jenkins (sixth NFL season), Andre Cisco (second). Others on roster: Daniel Thomas (third), Andrew Wingard (fourth).

This is an area of familiar names, with all four players on the Jaguars' roster last season. The Jaguars on Monday released special teams ace/safety Rudy Ford. They waived safety Ayo Oyelola Tuesday, but he is eligible for the international player practice squad exemption.

Specialists (4)

Kicker James McCourt (rookie), kicker Jake Verity (first NFL season), punter Logan Cooke (fifth), long snapper Ross Matiscik (third).

The Jaguars retained two kickers, with McCourt and Verity both claimed off waivers last week. "It's an ongoing battle," Pederson said. "It's an important position to us and we want to get that right. We still have a little time before we play a meaningful game but it's important to make that decision smartly." Pederson said the competition could extend into next week.

Check out top photos of each member of the 2022 Jaguars 53-man roster.

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