Continuing our team by team review, it's time to take a look at the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Record - 3-13
Finish - 3rd AFC South
Round 1 Pick 3 – Blake Bortles QB
Round 2 Pick 39 – Marqise Lee WR
Round 2 Pick 61 – Allen Robinson WR
Round 3 Pick 93 – Brandon Linder G
Round 4 Pick 114 – Aaron Colvin CB
Round 5 Pick 144 – Telvin Smith LB
Round 5 Pick 159 – Chris Smith DE
Round 6 Pick 205 – Luke Bowanko C
Round 7 Pick 222 – Storm Johnson RB
Undrafted Free Agent – Allen Hurns WR
Draft Grade Review – C-
There is more good than bad in Jacksonville's 2014 rookie class. However, the difficulty is that even it's best bits aren't that great.
The good is pretty much as follows. At running back Storm Johnson looks like he might have a future as a change of pace back. On the offensive line Brandon Linder looks like he could be a competent guard, but his best moments came against the hapless Titans and Luke Bowanko at least picked up lots of playing time.
It's when we turn to the wide receiver position though that the unappetising nature of Jacksonville's draft becomes clear. In what was set to be a bumper wide receiver draft class the Jaguars bet big on the position using two second round picks on pass catches. Second round wide receiver duo Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson looked okay but couldn't quite muster 1,000 yards between them, and the best rookie the Jaguars picked up was undrafted free agent Allen Hurns. Hurns led the Jaguars in receiving yards and showed the ability to put out explosive performances, having two touchdown 100 yard plus performances against the Eagles and Bengals.
If not disastrous then it would be hard pressed to see the Jaguars draft class as being an immediate success.
Best Player - Sen'Derrick Marks
It kind of says it all about the Jaguars 2014 season that there is no real standout candidate for this high, high honor.
In the end though Sen'Derrick Marks deserves the nod. Even household name defensive tackles don't get all the love they deserve, and Marks is not a household name. With 8.5 sacks, Marks led the Jaguars in getting after the quarterback and that ain't nothing.
Season Grade - D+
In week one of the NFL season - with one quarter gone - the Jaguars looked like they could be about to shock the NFL by being relevant and competitive. An Eagles comeback though put paid to such dreams though, and the Jaguars set about being as bad as everyone feared they might be.
Hope for the future: Who knows?
Whether this season will be remembered at all by Jaguars fans depends solely on the career of one player - quarterback Blake Bortles. If Bortles goes on to be a franchise quarterback with a career akin to Ben Roethlisberger's, or even Andy Dalton, then 2014 will be seen as the start something worth remembering. If Bortles' career fizzles out like Blaine Gabbert's then 2014 will be seen as just another year of struggle for a struggling franchise.
With 11 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, it's fair to say that Bortles' first season wasn't great. All hope isn't lost though. Remember Gus Bradley initially wanted to give effectively red shirt Bortles for his rookie year so the coaches perhaps knew that Bortles wasn't going to dazzle in season one. Plus much of Bortles' problems were due in large part to the abysmal offensive line play. Playing as a rookie QB in the NFL is tough enough. Trying to do it behind this car crash of an offensive line was often impossible.
The 2015 season will be crucial to Bortles and the entire franchise. If the line improves maybe Bortles can build on his glimpses of promise. Whether this can happen though who knows?
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