clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jacksonville Jaguars 2011 Team Needs: After Draft, Focus Turns To Linebacker

The Jacksonville Jaguars won eight games last season and hope to fill a couple more needs in free agency in order to bump that win total in 2011.

Whenever free agency starts, the Jacksonville Jaguars won't be looking for a quarterback as they moved up for QB Blaine Gabbert in the 2011 NFL draft. There are still a few tweaks for this team, who had a shot at winning the AFC South last year. 

It's time to take a look at what the Jaguars did in the draft and where they need to go from here. 

Needs addressed in the 2011 NFL draft: Clearly the biggest need addressed was quarterback when the Jags moved up from the 16th to the 10th pick to select QB Blaine Gabbert. They have their quarterback of the future for better or worse (for better, in my opinion). They also added Will Rackley who can step in and start at guard immediately so the offensive line received a boost. WR Cecil Shorts may not be an immediate starter but he gives the Jags another body at the slot and some flexibility at returner as well. They picked up S Christopher Prosinski as well but I'm not sure he's immediately ready to fill the need at safety.

Remaining needs: It seems that Jacksonville could always use a receiver, especially with Gabbert coming up to bat soon. The Jaguars picked up SB Nation's Big Cat Country points to the linebacker group as the biggest need that wasn't addressed. 

The biggest need the Jacksonville Jaguars failed to address in the NFL draft was in their linebacking group. The front office made a point after the draft to mention they did not think it was a strong linebacker class, so that was part of the reason they didn't have any high grades on anyone.

Options in free agency: This is going to be a watered-down crop of free agents, especially if the lockout persists so the Jags can't count on finding a ton of help on the open market. That said, there are options out there and Big Cat Country has an idea on a few of those candidates at safety and linebacker:

While safety is also a concern and someone like Eric Weddle, Quinten Mikell, and Michael Huff will likely be targets in free agency, as it stands two of the Jaguars three starting linebackers from 2010 are slated to be free agents and it doesn't appear as if they're interested in bringing back Justin Durant or Kirk Morrison. I'd expect them to look for potentially two starting linebackers in free agency. I'd expect them to look long and hard at someone like Barrett Ruud from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He's been very productive, would start immediately at middle linebacker, and is at the perfect age to be a long-term solution at the position. He just seems to fit what the Jaguars typically target in free agency.

So to sum the Jags' offseason up, their biggest move from here will be to look for linebacker options in free agency. It's also possible that one or more of the current players are brought back. With the NFL lockout, teams haven't had the full opportunity to re-sign their own players so we're not completely sure who is coming back and who isn't.