Things we so bad for the Jaguars last season with Urban Meyer that you want to say things have to be better by default ... but we kind of said that when they hired Meyer, too. We do expect this offense to take a step forward, but Trevor Lawrence has a lot to prove after a pretty terrible rookie season, and it's not clear how much better the Jaguars actually got despite a free agent spending spree.
Record: 3 - 14 (31)
PPG: 14.9 (32)
YPG: 305.4 (27)
Pass YPG: 202.1 (22)
Rush YPG: 103.2 (22)
PAPG: 35.5 (11)
RAPG: 23.1 (30)
2021 Fantasy finishes
Number to know: 20.5%
That was Trevor Lawrence's bad-throw percentage last season, the fourth-highest in the league. And he did that with a pretty middling average intended air yards and pressure rate, so it's not exactly clear the degree of difficulty was high enough to write it off.
The Jaguars' offense was a mess – heck, the whole organization was a mess with Urban Meyer in charge – but it's also true that Lawrence just didn't play well. That's a concerning sign from a guy with a ton of college experience despite being an early declare. Lawrence led the NFL in interceptions with 17, while his 6.0 yards per attempt was one of the lowest marks of any qualifier. If you're looking for reasons to be optimistic about Lawrence from his rookie season, you don't have much to go on.
That's not to say there is nothing to be optimistic about, of course. The Jaguars added a lot of help for Lawrence this offseason, including new head coach Doug Pederson, who helped Carson Wentz take a big step forward in his second season in Philadelphia. And Lawrence is still a big, mobile quarterback with the physical tools to be a superstar. The question is whether he was exposed as overrated as a rookie, or whether he learned too many bad habits to figure things out in a better situation.
I want to be optimistic about Lawrence, but my faith is definitely shaken after such a rough season. And, despite the Jaguars spending spree, I'm not convinced that the additions of Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and Evan Engram make this much more than a below-average group of skill players. I need to see something from Lawrence quickly to have faith.
WR Christian Kirk, WR Zay Jones, TE Evan Engram, OL Brandon Scherff, LB Foyesade Oluokun, DT Folorunso Fatukasi
0 carries, 0 RB targets, 122 WR targets, 48 TE targets
Chris Towers' projections
|QB||Trevor Lawrence||PA: 598, YD: 4007, TD: 21, INT: 12; RUSH -- ATT: 62, YD: 278, TD: 3|
|RB||Travis Etienne||CAR: 185, YD: 797, TD: 5, TAR: 66, REC: 49, YD: 395, TD: 2|
|RB||James Robinson||CAR: 144, YD: 577, TD: 4, TAR: 42, REC: 29, YD: 220, TD: 1|
|WR||Christian Kirk||TAR: 102, REC: 66, YD: 794, TD: 5|
|WR||Marvin Jones||TAR: 94, REC: 61, YD: 768, TD: 6|
|WR||Zay Jones||TAR: 98, REC: 56, YD: 756, TD: 5|
|TE||Evan Engram||TAR: 60, REC: 39, YD: 406, TD: 2|
Did the Jaguars add enough help?
The Jaguars spent a lot of money on their offense in free agency, signing Brandon Scherff, Christian Kirk, Evan Engram, and Zay Jones to big deals, all but Engram's being multi-year contracts. But when you take a step back and look at the playmakers on this offense, it still looks pretty underwhelming. Maybe Travis Etienne will be an impact player coming off his broken foot, or maybe James Robinson will recover from his Achilles injury and return to form quickly, but if not, you've got Kirk and Marvin Jones as the top pass-catchers for an unproven QB, which is pretty hard to get excited about. This offense could be pretty underwhelming yet again unless Lawrence makes a leap.
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One sleeper, one breakout and one bust
The Giants were seemingly happy to let Engram walk, and he settled for a one-year prove-it deal with the Jaguars. He still has that tantalizing athleticism and a potentially significant role in the rebuilt Jaguars passing game, but he just hasn't been particularly good throughout his career – just one season of better than 6.9 yards per target out of five. I wouldn't be willing to go into the season with Engram as my only starter, but Doug Pederson's offense leaned heavily on Zach Ertz back in Philadelphia, so there's certainly a chance Engram has a post-hype breakout season.
The hope is that Etienne will be healthy and ready to take on a significant workload as the lead back, at least until Robinson is back from his torn Achilles. If he can do that and provide a badly needed spark for this offense, it's entirely possible he takes the job and runs with it, given his all-around skill set. A healthy Robinson is a roadblock, but the nature of Robinson's injury makes it unlikely he'll be himself this season, so Etienne has a big opportunity here. I'd love to see some reports of the Jaguars using him as a receiver in camp because the likeliest path to stardom is probably with a significant passing game role. If he has that, Etienne could be a must-start Fantasy option.
I don't necessarily dislike Kirk's price as the 102nd player off the board in NFC drafts, but I don't really have much interest in drafting him. The Jaguars gave him, quite frankly, a ridiculous amount of money, but he was still just WR38 in points per game last season in a much better offense. If Lawrence takes a significant step forward, maybe Kirk can be a viable Fantasy option, but I doubt he's going to earn a ton of targets or be much more than a bench piece, and I'd rather take a swing on higher-upside guys in that range – Robert Woods, Russell Gage, and Kadarius Toney are all behind Kirk in ADP with significantly more upside, in my eyes. I think Kirk is just a guy.