For the first time in a decade, the Jacksonville Jaguars appear to have a franchise quarterback. Trevor Lawrence isn't Blaine Gabbert or Blake Bortles -- two of the biggest quarterback busts Jacksonville has ever selected -- as he's expected to make an instant impact on a Jaguars team that is ushering in a new era for the organization.
The Jaguars hired Urban Meyer -- one of the greatest college football coaches ever -- to help the franchise establish a winning tradition it hasn't seen since the late 1990s. Meyer, a surprising hire, is trying to establish a new culture in Jacksonville -- an organization that has just one winning season since 2007. Jacksonville had a strong draft, as Meyer has been working to create a deep roster in order to compete with the top-tier teams in the league.
Jacksonville was active in free agency on the defensive side of the ball, signing Shaquill Griffin and Rayshawn Jenkins to huge contracts, while filling a need at defensive tackle by signing Roy Robertson-Harris. They also selected cornerback Tyson Campbell and safety Andre Cisco in the first three rounds of the draft. The Jaguars added wide receiver Marvin Jones and running back Carlos Hyde in free agency, while making the running back competition even more intriguing by selecting Travis Etienne in the first round. There will be plenty of competition heading into training camp.
The Jaguars are coming off their worst season in franchise history, but Jacksonville will be competitive in every game with Lawrence at quarterback. Here's a look at how the Jaguars roster stacks up heading into Year One of the Meyer-Lawrence era.
Rookies denoted by (*)
Lawrence is going to start Week 1, but what will his running back situation look like? Robinson was one of the best undrafted rookie free agents ever -- yet Jacksonville signed Hyde and drafted Etienne in the first round. The Jaguars will line up Etienne at wide receiver on certain snaps, but he'll primarily be used as the third-down running back. Robinson should still have the starting role, even though Hyde will be taking some snaps away from him.
Jones will start at wide receiver alongside Chark and Shenault. Meyer challenged Chark this offseason by saying he's a big receiver who plays small, and Chark is embracing the challenge, ready to play the way Meyer wants him to. Collin Johnson showcased last season he provides valuable depth -- at the very least.
So where does Tim Tebow fit in? Does he have a shot at tight end? The tight end position isn't strong, as Manhertz will compete for the starting job with Farrell and O'Shaughnessy. Neither of the veterans are mainstays, so Tebow has a shot at the No. 3 tight end job.
The offensive line doesn't have much depth outside of Little at tackle, who is expected to compete for a starting job at some point this year. Offensive line will be Lawrence's biggest obstacle in 2021, so expect Jacksonville to focus on the run so the rookie doesn't get beat up by midseason.
Adam Patrick, Kenny Randall
Josh Jones, Brandon Rusnak
The Jaguars' defensive line should be strong against the run as Jacksonville transitions to a 3-4 under new defensive coordinator Joe Cullen. Bryan and Costin move from defensive tackle to lining up on the edge, but expect them to be a presence on the interior. Tufele could make an impact at the nose and compete for starting snaps.
Linebacker is the top unit in Jacksonville, as Allen and Chaisson are going to be relied upon to get to the quarterback. They'll both play on the edge as Schobert and Jack will play in the middle. Where does Wilson -- who is good enough to start -- fit in the equation? He could compete with Scobert for playing time, or perhaps spell both Schobert and Jack. Jacksonville needs depth at inside linebacker, so moving on from Wilson isn't ideal.
Henderson and Campbell will battle for a starting job at cornerback, as Griffin has the other spot locked down. When Jacksonville goes to three cornerbacks, Campbell is the favorite to line up in the slot. Jenkins has one of the starting safety spots secure while Cisco should give Wilson some competition for playing time. Jacksonville has depth at cornerback and safety in 2021, which was a major issue for one of the league's worst defenses in 2020.