Jaguars Mailbag: Should there be concern about the defense? Did Jacksonville whiff on the OL?

Jaguars Mailbag: Beat writer Mike Kaye answers questions about the fullback position, offensive line

Entering the final week of the preseason, this edition of the Jaguars Mailbag features questions about the trade market, the defense and the offensive line.

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Randall Robinson asks: With the grim outlook of the Jaguars' 2017 season and other teams hit with injuries and roster gaps, which Jag players are potential trade candidates?

Mike Kaye: The obvious guy is wide receiver Allen Hurns, though I wouldn't say the Jaguars are eager to deal him. The New England Patriots lost a wide receiver, Julian Edelman, this weekend and the Chicago Bears may be without wide receiver Cameron Meredith for some time. The wide receiver trade market seems as compelling as ever right now.

Hurns would not cost the Jaguars anything to trade. While he is making a lot of money as a No. 3 receiver, he could be a No. 2 in Chicago, which may make him worth the price. He is also still only 25 and his contract has no guaranteed money past this season. 

T.J. Yeldon (when healthy) and Chris Ivory may appeal to teams with running back issues. It's going to be hard to get both involved when Leonard Fournette eventually takes on the lion share of the carries. Yeldon would probably benefit from a change of scenery after seemingly being replaced in back-to-back offseasons.

Sheldon Day would be an intriguing piece for a team missing depth at three-technique. Day has had his moments in the preseason and he could potentially be swapped for offensive line or cornerback depth.

Paul Martin asks: How worried should we be about the defense? They haven't seemed too strong the past 2 games. Is it just because of Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye out?

MK: I think the cornerback injuries are part of the struggles. Teams are willing to target the likes of Tyler Patmon and Brian Dixon in preseason games.

Ramsey has played about 10 snaps in the preseason. Outside of that very limited work, no member of the top cornerback trio has played significant snaps. 

Still, the opposing offenses have run on the Jaguars' defense at will. That is a huge issue because the run defense was considered the strength of this team last season. Calais Campbell hasn't stood out in that area and neither has Abry Jones. The Jaguars paid the pair of linemen a ton of money this offseason.

There is some room for concern, but I think the Jaguars can tighten up the run game with time. The preseason is a feeling out process, but so far the feeling isn't a great one.

JM asks:  Does starting Blake Bortles because of his mobility partially mean the front office is admitting they whiffed on the offensive line?

MK: I think that's a fair conclusion to jump to. The offensive line struggled mightily against the Carolina Panthers with sacks and penalties. 

The Jaguars are set to go into the regular season with one starter who is new to the franchise. They will start that player, rookie Cam Robinson, at left tackle.

Robinson has been up-and-down during the preseason, so the Jaguars should be somewhat encouraged by his brighter moments. Rookies are expected to have some struggles, which is part of the reason why starting Bortles early makes sense.

Left guard has been a disaster of a competition thus far. The team hasn't announced the clear starting line for Week 1 yet and they are two weeks away from the season opener in Houston.

Tyler Shatley had the left guard role in the offseason program, Patrick Omameh carried the torch for most of training camp and Luke Bowanko has been a late addition to the fray. 

A.J. Cann is still struggling at right guard in his third season. He was a college left guard, so it may make sense to move him back to that spot. However, with not a lot of time to get settled, that would further mix up the formation.

The team whiffed on the offensive line, so starting Bortles because of his mobility could be an admittance of that.

Joshua Reed asks: How has Calais Campbell impacted the team in the locker room?

This is a great question. That's why I asked some folks who probably have a better understanding than I would. Kudos to the Jaguars' locker room for this mailbag assist.

Offensive Tackle Josh Wells: "Intensity, leadership. He's a great guy. A great pro but also just someone you can talk to, someone who has probably been in the situations you've been in no matter what you're going through. It's been really cool to get to know him. I kind of like how we're around different guys now [in the locker room] and it's been an opportunity to get to know him."

Linebacker Telvin Smith: "He's definitely brought that veteran mindset to the team and a fresh mindset. With a lot of guys who have been around the organization for a little while, it takes a toll on you and [Campbell] coming in with a fresh mindset, definitely trying to get us to the playoffs, I definitely commend him for bringing that to the team."

Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue: "Leadership, he's a great mentor. He just gives back as far as everything he's learn from being a rookie all the way up to where he is at right now."

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter and ask him your mailbag question at @Mike_E_Kaye. You can also ask questions on Facebook.

Listen to "Teal & Black Blitz with Mike Kaye and Mike DiRocco (Podcast) 8-28" on Spreaker.

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