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Jaguars News (5/7): Jacksonville’s young core ranks seventh according to ESPN

Jaguars News (5/7): Jacksonville’s young core ranks seventh according to ESPN

Jaguars News (5/7): Jacksonville’s young core ranks seventh according to ESPN

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Here’s today’s roundup of the latest news, rumors and analysis surrounding the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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Jaguars Podcast: 2024 AFC South Draft Players (Big Cat Country)

John and I conducted a fantasy draft of 2024 AFC South players. Since a two-man draft doesn’t make much sense, we invited former BCC writer and current Jaguars Wire editor Zach Goodall to join us.

O-Zone: Keep Dancing (Jaguars.com)

I think linebacker Devin Lloyd is a central story for the Jaguars’ defense — and their season — in 2024. The 27th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Lloyd in two seasons has been good at times. He’s also been very good at times. He’s also been inconsistent. Can defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen “unlock” Lloyd’s potential by simplifying the scheme and Lloyd’s role in it? Can he thrive by chasing the ball and showing athleticism? That’s the idea. That’s the hope. Stay tuned.

Underrated players on every 2024 AFC team: Evan Engram and Raheem Mostert lead the list (CBS Sports)

Engram is perennially overlooked as one of the best tight ends the NFL has to offer. Last season, the 29-year-old broke out with 114 receptions and 963 yards, which were both career-highs. To put Engram’s season in better context, he was fourth in the league among pass catchers in receptions, behind CeeDee Lamb, Tyreek Hill, and Amon-Ra St. Brown. While he won’t be lauded for his ability as a blocker, he has proven to be a reliable pass-catching weapon at the position.

‘Show your ability’: Antonio Johnson still has a problem entering his second year (Times-Union)

“I tell people all the time that the best thing is to get the call,” Johnson said when reflecting on his position in last year’s draft. “Some people don’t get the call. You have to accept it as it is and prove yourself.”

The lure of the links has appealed to Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Pederson since childhood (Times-Union)

“There’s always something that frustrates you in this game,” he said. “You can never get good at it. Football was my craft. I spent time getting better at it. But I don’t think you ever get to the point where you think you’ve made it in golf.”

Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson reflects on Andy Reid’s impact on his NFL career (Chiefs Wire)

“As the longest-tenured coach in the National Football League right now, I mean, it’s for a reason, and it’s because of the success that he’s had on the football field, and obviously, to me that’s a Hall of Fame-worthy career, without a doubt,” Pederson said. “I learned a lot from him as a player when he coached me and Brett Favre in Green Bay, which are still some of the things that I use as a head coach now in Jacksonville.

“Then when I started working for him in Philadelphia when he was the head coach there, and I became his assistant coach, I just watched how he came to work every day and his attention to detail, his focus and drive, and how he leads his football teams.”

2024 NFL season: Predicting the MVP for every AFC team (NFL.com)

I’d really be surprised if we didn’t see Lawrence take a step in the right direction again this season. Does he need to stop fumbling and getting sacked as much as he has? Absolutely. Those have been my biggest criticisms of him. But the foundation for a good offensive line seems to be forming, and I’m not as down on Jacksonville’s receivers as some seem to be. In the hands of Doug Pederson and offensive coordinator Press Taylor, Lawrence is ready to bounce back, and that leans me slightly in his direction over Allen, who seems to be the focus of every offense he faces this season.

NFL Under 25 Talent Rankings: Texans and Lions lead the list (ESPN)

One of the questions that came up when putting together this ranking was how much to penalize Jacksonville, since its top young asset, Lawrence, is no longer cheap. His new $275 million contract is important, because one of the benefits of youth is rookie contracts. But Lawrence still has room to grow and develop as a quarterback, and the Jaguars have other young talents alongside him.

That starts with the first overall pick in the 2022 draft, Walker, who will be 23 this season. Right tackle Harrison is just 22 and started every game his rookie season, ranking fourth at his position in pressure rate allowed. Cornerback Tyson Campbell and safety Andre Cisco lead the youth movement in the secondary. We also give the Jaguars credit for this year’s draft picks, including wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. (who will start as a rookie) and defensive tackle Maason Smith.

Editor’s Pick

NFL teams don’t need a number one receiver and here’s why (SB Nation)

“I always felt like I had to do something to get them the ball,” Brady said of the specter of a true No. 1 player. “I want him to keep running hard. I want him to be ready when the ball comes.”

“The last thing you want is for your No. 1 receiver to go two-and-a-half quarters of a game and not see a ball… because he’s going to get discouraged.”

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