Kaye's Take: Final Jaguars 53-man roster projection

The Jaguars concluded the preseason Thursday night in a 17-15 loss to the the Atlanta Falcons on the road.

The depth groups took center stage, so the game's outcome may have had some potential ramifications for the players fighting for roster spots. 

Here is how I see the Jaguars' initial 53-man roster shaking out:

Quarterback (3)

Blake Bortles, Chad Henne, Brandon Allen

Rationale: I have probably been the biggest advocate for the Jaguars keeping a developmental quarterback. 

Allen plays at a premium position and has shown enough during the offseason (especially the preseason finale) to prove he's worth stashing on the active roster. It impacts the numbers game, but Allen could eventually be the long-term backup to Bortles. That job could come as soon as next year, depending on his progress.

Running Back (4)

T.J. Yeldon, Chris Ivory, Corey Grant (KR), Joe Banyard

Rationale: The dynamic duo will have a pair of speedsters behind them. Grant has seemingly locked up the kick returner job and has shown flashes on offense this preseason.

Banyard has put together a very impressive offseason, showing off both speed and power. I think Denard Robinson has served his purpose over the last three years, but I'm not sure he is worthy of carrying the torch in the rotation if Ivory or Yeldon are injured. Banyard has proven he can move the rock like a legit NFL running back, so he gets the nod for me.

Wide Receiver (5)

Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee, Rashad Greene, Bryan Walters

Rationale: The first four have been written in pen since the jump, but the fifth spot comes down to being consistent and reliable. Those two traits describe Walters well. He has special teams prowess and offers punt return ability. Most importantly, Walters offers proven availability. It would be tough to keep Arrelious Benn and Marqise Lee together in the group of five because of their injury histories.

Tight End (4)

Julius Thomas, Marcedes Lewis, Braedon Bowman, Neal Sterling

Rationale: Bowman had a sensational offseason program and I'm not sure he dropped a pass all summer. He reminds me of Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek, who offers a mix of receiving and blocking skills. Like Celek, Bowman can also run efficient routes. He may be the long-term heir to Lewis. 

The Jaguars have used Ben Koyack at fullback to some success in the preseason, but he hasn't really shown good hands or route running ability this offseason. On the other side, Sterling has been heavily involved in the depth group's offense and has performed well throughout camp. He also allows the Jaguars to keep a fourth tight end and a sixth receiver with just one spot.

Offensive Line (9)

Kelvin Beachum, Luke Joeckel, Brandon Linder, A.J. Cann, Jermey Parnell, Tyler Shatley, Chris Reed, Josh Wells, Patrick Omameh

Rationale: This group has a lot of unknowns. Will Beachum be able to play at a high level early on and stay healthy? Can Joeckel actually play left guard? Who is the full-time swing tackle? 

Joeckel is likely to be Beachum's backup at left tackle, which would slide Shatley in at left guard if needed. The team seems to really like Reed and Shatley, as they've been around and understand the offense. Wells continues to recover from his thumb surgery but seems like he is close to a comeback. 

I'm not sold on Omameh, but the Jaguars need some sort of tackle depth if Wells can't go by Week 1. He has starting experience which is important and he can play multiple roles.

I have the team letting go of Mackenzy Bernadeau after a lackluster offseason. I think Rashod Hill and Pearce Slater are practice squad guys.

Defensive Line (10)

Dante Fowler, Malik Jackson, Roy Miller, Jared Odrick, Sen'Derrick Marks, Tyson Alualu, Abry Jones, Yannick Ngakoue, Sheldon Day, Chris Smith (Injured Reserve: Michael Bennett)

Rationale: The Jaguars need experience at Leo and Bennett's calf injury allows the team to hold onto him and keep a third pass rusher. I think Smith is the guy. Otherwise, the unit seems to be pretty predictable. Tyrone Holmes and Richard Ash can be stashed on the practice squad.

Linebacker (6)

Telvin Smith, Paul Posluszny, Dan Skuta, Myles Jack, Ryan Davis, Jordan Tripp

Rationale: The linebacker position is probably the easiest to predict outside of whether or not the team will keep seven linebackers.

I think Hayes Pullard has earned a roster spot, whether it's in Jacksonville or somewhere else in the NFL. However, with the numbers game the way it is, it would be hard to justify seven linebackers with Jack and Tripp being so versatile.

Cornerback (5*)

Davon House, Jalen Ramsey, Prince Amukamara, Dwayne Gratz, Josh Johnson (Suspension: Aaron Colvin)

Rationale: The Jaguars will obviously keep the first three, but I think the emergence of Gratz and Johnson has been a big deal in the short-term for the Jaguars. Gratz has played well inside and out and is in a contract year. He should be playing at the highest level of his career and will fill in quite a bit early on as Colvin is serving a four-game suspension.

Johnson has been a pleasant surprise this offseason. He offers play-making ability that few have shown on the Jaguars roster. He also has the ability to return kicks, return punts and play gunner. A CFL redemption story, Johnson makes the roster over the initially-favored Nick Marshall.

Safety (4)

Tashaun Gipson, Johnathan Cyprien, Peyton Thompson, Jarrod Wilson

Rationale: The starters are locked in and I put Thompson as close to lock status as you can get without being etched in stone. The final safety spot is now down to Evans and undrafted rookie Jarrod Wilson.

Despite a stellar offseason performance, Wilson hasn't shown the same play-making ability in actual games. However, he has shown the ability to play both safety spots and possesses rare size at his position.

Josh Evans is consistently overlooked every year and still finds a way to stick around. It's tough to bet against history and Evans' knowledge and ability to play both safety spots, but his play in the finale was rough. He whiffed badly on two big plays in the game. He could use a change of scenery.

Special Teams (3)

Jason Myers, Brad Nortman, Carson Tinker

Rationale: This group was decided earlier in the week.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.


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