Kaye's Take: Predicting the Jaguars' 53-man roster before the preseason opener against the Patriots

Jaguars vs. Patriots: Beat writer Mike Kaye discusses the five things to watch

Following the completion of the team's first 10 training camp practices, the Jaguars are set to kick off the preseason against the New England Patriots on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.

The next four weeks will help the Jaguars finalize their roster. However, before we can get into the four-game slate, it's time to take another stab at the final outcome.

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Below you'll find my prediction for the team's initial 53-man roster as well as the first incarnation of the 10-man practice squad:

Quarterback (3, 3)

Who Stays: Blake Bortles, Chad Henne, Brandon Allen

Who Goes: N/A

Analysis: Bortles is the unquestioned starter, but he needs to become the player the Jaguars' front office envisioned when they drafted him with the third overall pick in 2014. If he falters early on, the Jaguars may be best served to bench him, so that he can avoid injury and a guaranteed fifth-year salary.

Henne has already been named the backup, a role he is very familiar with. He has been Bortles' backup for three seasons.

Allen has produced a consistent offseason, showing accuracy and potential in practice. It makes sense to keep him as a development arm, as the team did last season.

 

Running Back (4, 7)

Who Stays: Leonard Fournette, Chris Ivory, T.J. Yeldon, Corey Grant

Who Goes: Tim Cook, Tyler Gaffney

Analysis: Fournette was the fourth overall pick in April and has looked the part so far in training camp. He is expected to eventually be the workhorse back, but will likely split carries with Yeldon and Ivory early on.

Ivory will probably be the short-yardage back to start the season. Yeldon is expected to take on third-down duties as the strongest pass blocker and receiver at the position. Grant has stood out with his speed on special teams over the last two seasons. He offers quickness unparalleled on the roster.

Cook seems destined for the practice squad, while Gaffney was added to fill a temporary void in practice.

 

Fullback (1, 8)

Who Stays: Marquez Williams

Who Goes: Tommy Bohanon

Analysis: While Bohanon has handled most of the fullback duties throughout training camp, he hasn't necessarily taken advantage of the added reps. While Williams recovered from an undisclosed injury on the physically unable to perform list, Bohanon struggled with regular drops in team and individual drills. Williams seems to be the old school, hard-nosed type of fullback the Jaguars desire. The team spent a draft pick on the rookie, which plays into his favor as well.

 

Wide Receiver (6, 14)

Who Stays: Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee, Allen Hurns, Dede Westbrook (kick returner), Arrelious Benn, Rashad Greene (punt returner)

Who Goes: Shane Wynn, Jamal Robinson, Larry Pinkard, Amba Etta-Tawo, Keelan Cole, Kenneth Walker

Analysis: The top three wide receivers are obviously locked in. If the trio is healthy, they are among the best three-receiver sets in the league.

The Jaguars spent a fourth-round pick on Westbrook, who has begun to emerge in camp. He is likely to take on kick returner duties, along with Lee.

Benn is the special teams ace. He has received heaps of praise from Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone and special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis.

The only way Greene sticks around is by winning the punt returner job. He has produced a strong training camp and I expect him to stay with the team for his third season.

Wynn is probably the hardest cut to make on offense at this point. He has dominated individual drills against his cornerback teammates and has stood out in team drills as well. He may just get caught up in a numbers game in Jacksonville, but end up elsewhere.

Etta-Tawo, Cole and Robinson have all had their moments in camp, but the numbers seem heavily against them. Pinkard and Walker have also produced but seem destined for someone else's practice squad.

 

Tight End (3, 17)

Who Stays: Marcedes Lewis, Ben Koyack, Mychal Rivera

Who Goes: Neal Sterling, Alex Ellis, Caleb Bluiett

Analysis: Lewis is the steadfast, tenured tight end on the roster. He is the best blocking position player on the team and he is likely to play a massive role in the running attack. 

Koyack is a former seventh-round pick, who offers a mix of receiving and blocking potential. He has been very active during training camp, especially as a target across the middle.

Rivera was signed to be a threat in the receiving game, but is currently being held out of practice due to an undisclosed injury. If Rivera is out for a while, Ellis or Sterling could jump him in the lineup. Sterling will be a tough cut given his background as a draft pick.

Bluiett has "developmental practice squad player" written all over him. He needs to show more consistent hands in the preseason.

 

Offensive Line (9, 26)

Who Stays: Cam Robinson, Patrick Omameh, Brandon Linder, A.J. Cann, Jermey Parnell, Tyler Shatley, Luke Bowanko, Jeremiah Poutasi, Josh Wells

Who Goes: Earl Watford, Avery Gennesy, Chris Reed, Demetrius Rhaney, Malcolm Bunche, Nila Kasitati

Analysis: Robinson was drafted in the second round to battle with Branden Albert for the starting left tackle spot. When Albert decided to retire abruptly, Robinson was thrown into another competition with Wells. Robinson will be the guy protecting Bortles' blindside moving forward.

Omameh showed promise last season as the starting left guard, but eventually suffered a season-ending injury. He will get a chance to return to that success this year. Linder and Cann will return to their spots at center and right guard this season. Parnell will also continue to man the right tackle position.

Wells seems locked into the swing tackle position. Shatley, Bowanko and Poutasi provide versatile depth and experience within Nathaniel Hackett's offense.

Gennesy and Kasitati are likely practice squad candidates. The team signed Watford in free agency, but it's hard to make the team when you're missing practices due to injury. Reed is one of the few returning offensive linemen that is seemingly losing his footing on the roster.

Rhaney and Bunche were added as linemen with experience to take on reps and compete.

 

Defensive Line (9, 35)

Who Stays: Yannick Ngakoue, Malik Jackson, Abry Jones, Calais Campbell, Dante Fowler, Dawuane Smoot, Stefan Charles, Sheldon Day, Michael Bennett

Who Goes: Malliciah Goodman, Lerentee McCray, Jonathan Woodard, Hunter Dimick, Carroll Phillips, Tueni Lupeamanu, Kevin Maurice

Analysis: Ngakoue set the team record for sacks by a rookie last season and he seems poised to repeat that performance this year. The team paid Jones and Campbell a lot of money to man the nose tackle and strong-side end positions, respectively. Jackson has Pro Bowl potential in his second year at three-technique.

Fowler and Smoot will back up the defensive end positions. Their draft pedigrees will keep them on the roster ahead of the likes of Goodman, McCray, Dimick, Phillips and Woodard. If Fowler continues to act up in practice and fails to deliver in the preseason, he could find himself on the trading block. 

Day and Bennett will likely stick around as interior depth with Charles serving as the backup at nose tackle. 

Maurice seems to be a good bet for the practice squad, while Lupeamanu's size could hurt his standing.

 

Linebacker (6, 41)

Who Stays: Telvin Smith, Myles Jack, Paul Posluszny, Josh McNary, Audie Cole, Hayes Pullard

Who Goes: Blair Brown, P.J. Davis, Justin Horton

Analysis: Smith and Jack are locked into their roles as the starting WILL and MIKE linebackers, respectively. Posluszny converted to SAM linebacker this offseason and he has yet to really lose a step in practice. The preseason will be his biggest test.

McNary and Cole were brought in to play special teams. Cole could have a bigger role at SAM linebacker if Posluszny fails to adapt.

Pullard has been around the ball a lot during training camp and having a playmaker at that position is advantageous.

Brown will be a tough cut as a fifth-round pick, but this season is about picking up wins and performing. He is probably the toughest cut on defense. Horton or Davis will likely join him on the practice roster.

 

Cornerback (5, 46)

Who Stays: Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, Aaron Colvin, Josh Johnson, Tyler Patmon

Who Goes: Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Brian Dixon, Jalen Myrick, Ezra Robinson, Doran Grant, Charles Gaines

Analysis: Ramsey and Bouye form one of the strongest cornerback duos in the league (on paper). When Ramsey (core) and Colvin (ankle) recover from their respective injuries, it will stabilize what has been a rough training camp for the Jaguars cornerback unit.

Johnson and Patmon offer experience and potential play-making ability. The team needs depth and both can play inside and outside. 

Jean-Baptiste has come on strong with interceptions as of late, so he could be in contention for a spot. Grant is another depth player who may have a shot.

Myrick was a seventh-round pick but he has been repeatedly beaten during individual and team drills this offseason. He is likely to return on the practice squad. 

Dixon, Robinson and Gaines will likely need to look for work elsewhere.

 

Safety (4, 50)

Who Stays: Tashaun Gipson, Barry Church, Peyton Thompson, Jarrod Wilson

Who Goes: Jarrod Harper, Tracy Howard, Jeron Johnson

Analysis: The starters are set with Gipson and Church receiving big money deals in back-to-back offseasons. Behind them, there is little question that Thompson and Wilson are the best options.

However, Wilson's recent injury woes (undisclosed) have kept him out of practice. His absence has led to some compelling uncertainty at the backup strong safety spot. 

Still, Harper and Howard have yet to stand out this offseason and Johnson was added just a few days ago.

 

Special Teams (3, 53)

Who Stays: Matt Overton (LS), Jason Myers (K), Brad Nortman (P)

Who Goes: N/A

Analysis: Overton was signed to replace long snapper Carson Tinker, who suffered a torn ACL last week. Myers and Nortman have yet to receive competition this offseason.

 

10-Man Practice Squad

Who Stays: Jalen Myrick, Blair Brown, Jonathan Woodard, Doran Grant, Amba Etta-Tawo, Keelan Cole, Kevin Maurice, Tim Cook, Caleb Bluiett, Avery Gennesy

Analysis: Myrick, Brown and Woodard are all former picks with upside. Etta-Tawo, Bluiett, Cole, Grant and Cook have all shown promise, but the numbers game won't be kind to them. Maurice and Gennesy offer youthful depth for both lines.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

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