The Jaguars have seen plenty of players leave in recent months and weeks. Which means they’ll have plenty of new players this season.
The team’s new players include a whopping 16 rookies on the initial 53-man roster.
“We feel good about it,” G.M. Dave Caldwell told reporters on Saturday. “Our only message was, ‘Let’s keep the 53 guys that deserve to be on this team.’ [Owner] Shad [Khan] gave us a directive to put the best team out there, and we feel like we did that with the players that we have.”
The 16 rookies are, in alphabetical order, cornerback Luq Barco (undrafted), offensive lineman Ben Bartch (fourth round), defensive end/linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson (first round), defensive back Chris Claybrooks (seventh round), defensive tackle Doug Costin (undrafted), tight end Tyler Davis (sixth round), defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton (third round), cornerback C.J. Henderson (first round), receiver Collin Johnson (fifth round), quarterback Jake Luton (sixth round), long snapper Ross Matiscik (undrafted), linebacker Shaquille Quarterman (fourth round), running back James Robinson (undrafted), cornerback Josiah Scott (fourth round), receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (second round), and safety Daniel Thomas (fifth round).
The Jaguars open with the Colts and Titans. Those will be early tests in determining whether the new-look Jaguars can it done.
“Before we decide where we are or where we stand, let us play some games, and let’s see where we are,” Caldwell said. “And let’s see where these young guys are. I know the 53 players in this locker room are excited to be here, and are excited for their ability to go out there and put a good brand of football out there.”
Whether they do or don’t, the bar is currently as low as it can be for the Jaguars. With outside expectations so low, anything positive they do will be regarded as an important piece in the foundation for current or future success.
Despite the low expectations, Caldwell echoed the notion that the Jaguars aren’t tanking.
“Don’t count this team out yet,” Caldwell said. “We can’t afford a rebuilding year.”
Indeed they can’t. Another lost season for the Jaguars likely will mean that Caldwell and coach Doug Marrone will lose their jobs.