Overview: GM Gene Smith is married to QB Blaine Gabbert, who looked completely lost while starting 14 games as a rookie. Smith put a strong support staff around Gabbert, tabbing head coach Mike Mularkey, offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski and QB coach Greg Olson to develop the young signalcaller. The next step is to put better weapons around Gabbert. Smith is entering Year Four as Jacksonville’s lead decision maker and his tendency to go against conventional wisdom on Draft Day has become common, but the home runs have been too few and far between.
Need No. 1: Wide receiver
For as much criticism as Gabbert received for his wretched rookie campaign, his WR corps deserves almost as much blame. Few NFL teams were as poorly equipped at receiver as Jacksonville was last season. Thus, the Jaguars overpaid for Laurent Robinson after wide receivers began quickly flying off the free-agent board for boatloads of money. In Robinson, the Jaguars get a dynamic playmaker who can find the endzone and take the top off a defense. What they didn’t get was a guy who consistently can stay on the field. As a result, Jacksonville still covets a No. 1 wideout who can take the pressure off Robinson and help make Gabbert look good.
Need No. 2: Defensive end
Although the Jaguars re-signed Jeremy Mincey before he could escape to Chicago, they still don’t have a guy who can consistently draw and beat double-teams off the edge. Mincey is a hard-hat and lunch-pail type of player who won’t be outworked, but he is not a superior athlete. Jacksonville has been searching for a game changer at defensive end for the better part of the past decade, and with the rest of the defense taking great strides last season, such a player could put this unit over the top and help maximize Mincey’s skills.
Need No. 3: Outside linebacker
Last offseason, the Jaguars took arguably the weakest position, linebacker, and turned it into a team strength. In his first year with the club, Paul Posluszny was everything Jacksonville had hoped for and more. The same can’t be said for Clint Session, whose season ended early because of multiple concussions. Missing time is nothing new for Session — he has appeared in 16 games only once in his first five seasons — and the Jaguars would be wise to plan ahead. Re-signing the unsung and versatile Russell Allen was a good decision, but more help is needed, particularly with “Poz” requiring offseason shoulder surgery.