Jaguars Rumors

Ten First-Round Picks Remain Unsigned

This year, NFL teams have been quick to tackle their rookie paperwork. Still, there are a decent number of unsigned draft picks remaining, including ten of this year’s first-rounders: 

In a sense, this is a sign that things are back to normal in football following the pandemic. For example, by June 12th of 2019, 22 first-round picks had put pen to paper, with 222 rookies inked on the whole. However, around this time last year, there were just two first-round picks officially in the fold – Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Panthers defensive lineman Derrick Brown.

Offset language and similar minutia could be holding these ten deals up, but there’s no reason to panic. In all likelihood, these rookie contracts will be squared away before the start of training camp this summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Sign Laquon Treadwell

The Jaguars have signed Laquon Treadwell, per a club announcement. Treadwell participated in the Jaguars’ minicamp as a tryout player earlier this week and wound up earning a spot on the 90-man roster. 

Treadwell, 26, came into the league as a first-round pick for the Vikings. Scouts had high hopes for the Ole Miss product, but he has yet to reach his potential. Across four seasons in Minnesota, Treadwell recorded a total of 65 receptions for 701 yards and two scores. His best season came in 2018, when he set career-highs in receptions (35) and receiving yards (302). For what it’s worth, he finished the ’19 slate with a 20.4-yard-per-catch average, but did so on just nine catches.

Last year, he hooked on with the Falcons’ practice squad and saw some time on the varsity roster. In 2020, he notched six grabs for 49 yards and two TDs in five games. Now, he’ll look to solidify his spot behind Jacksonville receivers D.J. Chark, longtime Lions WR Marvin Jones, and Laviska Shenault. Phillip Dorsett and veteran returner Pharoh Cooper are also among those vying spots.

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Jaguars To Hold QB Competition

Trevor Lawrence is the Jaguars’ quarterback of the future, but that doesn’t mean he’s their starter of the present. On Wednesday, Jags passing game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer stressed that the team has yet to name its QB1. 

It’s still too early to say how this thing’s going to play out,” Schottenheimer said (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Michael DiRocco).

Gardner Minshew was the Jaguars’ rookie sensation not too long ago and he’s still on the roster as Lawrence’s expected QB2. At the same time, there’s been months of trade speculation around him. In 2019, Minshew set franchise records in yards (3,271) and touchdowns (21) for rookie QBs. Last year, he flip-flopped with Mike Glennon amidst the Jags’ 15-game losing streak. All in all, he was 1-7 in his starts with 2,259 yards and 16 touchdowns against five interceptions. Needless to say, it was assumed that the No. 1 overall pick would start immediately.

For his part, Lawrence says he’s still getting to know the playbook. So, presumably, he’s okay with competing for his spot alongside Minshew and the rest of the camp QBs, including Tim Tebow.

I want to just master the offense,” Lawrence said. “I want to have complete control, know everything and be comfortable. You can’t really play free and play really well if you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s the goal, to master the offense by the time training camp comes around so in training camp we can focus everything forward on being the best team we can come August 14 and then going on into the regular season as well.”

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Jaguars Notes: Lawrence, Chaisson, Tebow

Trevor Lawrence made his way back from offseason shoulder surgery and progressed to working out with his Jaguars teammates during OTAs. The No. 1 overall pick, however, has run into injury trouble on a new front. Lawrence battled left hamstring tightness last week, and after attempting to return to work during the first day of Jacksonville’s minicamp Monday, he aggravated the injury, Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com notes. Urban Meyer said Lawrence will likely sit out team drills Tuesday, and it certainly would not surprise if the franchise’s QB1 is done with seven-on-seven or 11-on-11 activity until training camp. C.J. Beathard and the now-mullet-less Gardner Minshew split the reps in Lawrence’s absence.

Here is the latest out of Jacksonville:

  • K’Lavon Chaisson will miss all of Jacksonville’s minicamp due to a positive COVID-19 test, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The second-year defensive end attended Von Miller‘s annual pass rush summit in Las Vegas over the weekend. The event had coronavirus testing, per Chaisson (on Twitter).
  • The Jags have used a 4-3 defense as their primary look throughout their 26-season history, but new defensive coordinator Joe Cullen will switch to a 3-4 alignment. Meyer confirmed as such Monday, via News4Jax.com’s Jamal St. Cyr. Dating back to their Marcus StroudJohn Henderson D-tackle duo through the “Sacksonville” period, the Jags preferred a 4-3 look. While the distinction means less nowadays, given teams’ sub-package reliance, it is notable the Jags will make this switch.
  • Tim Tebow has bulked up to 255 pounds, up nearly 20 from his quarterback days, and will be attempting to make a rare transition. Washington tight end Logan Thomas, who is 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, provides a reasonable example of a quarterback-to-tight end switch working, DiRocco writes. Thomas, however, first worked out as a tight end in 2016 and said it took him two years to feel comfortable at the position. The former Virginia Tech quarterback made the transition in his mid-20s; Tebow will attempt to do so at 33. Thomas noted blocking will be Tebow’s most difficult task, but the Jags may not have a pure tight end role in mind for the former Heisman winner. The prospect of using him as a wildcat quarterback has surfaced.

Laquon Treadwell Visits Jaguars

Laquon Treadwell will participate in the Jaguars’ minicamp as a tryout player, per a club announcement. He’ll be joined by a handful of other roster hopefuls, including cornerbacks Simenon Thomas and KeiVarae Russell and offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins.

Treadwell, who just turned 26 today, came into the league as the No. 23 overall pick in the 2016 draft. That didn’t pan out for the Vikings. He caught just one pass as a rookie, and never topped 302 yards during his four years in Minnesota. The Vikes declined his fifth-year option, leading him to the Falcons last year. He was used sparingly in Atlanta, recording just six grabs for 49 yards in five games. On the plus side, two of those catches were for touchdowns.

The Jaguars’ WR depth chart is headlined by D.J. Chark, veteran Marvin Jones, and Laviska Shenault. Currently, the Jaguars count 12 receivers on their 90-man roster, including notable names like Phillip Dorsett and return man Pharoh Cooper. No one’s expecting the Ole Miss product to fulfill his draft day expectations, but he could have a chance to make a dent with Urban Meyer & Co.

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Jaguars Sign WR Pharoh Cooper

The Jaguars have agreed to sign wide receiver Pharoh Cooper (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Terms of the deal are not yet known, but it’s likely a low-cost one-year deal given Cooper’s recent track record. 

[RELATED: Tim Tebow To Play Taysom Hill Role?]

Cooper, 26, put himself on the map in 2017 when he earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2017 as a return man. That year, he handled 66 combined kick and punt returns and led the NFL in yards per kickoff return (27.4). His 2018 encore wasn’t as impressive — he spent much of the year on IR, got waived by the Rams in December, and picked up by the Cardinals. Since then, he’s bounced around a bit, spending time with the Bengals and Panthers.

Cooper is now a few years removed from his best work and he hasn’t done much offensively, save for that ’17 season when he managed 32 catches for 399 yards. But, with the Jags, he’ll have a chance to reassert himself and compete with incumbent punt returner Chris Claybrooks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Jaguars’ Tim Tebow

As you might have heard, the Jaguars signed Tim Tebow earlier this month. According to head coach Urban Meyer & Co., Tebow will be competing for a roster spot as a tight end. But, around the league, executives believe that Tebow is actually being groomed as more of a wildcat quarterback (Twitter link via ESPN’s Dianna Russini). 

[POLL: Will Tim Tebow Make Jaguars’ Roster?]

Given Tebow’s background, a Taysom Hill type of role could make sense. A hybrid position also give him a better chance of making the final cut. The Jaguars already have a full house at tight end, with Chris Manhertz, fifth-round rookie Luke Farrell, Tyler Davis, James O’Shaughnessy, and Ben Ellefson on board. Ditto for quarterback, where No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence is backstopped by Gardner Minshew, C.J. Beathard, and Jake Luton. Whether or not Minshew stays, the Jags will carry no more than three QBs on their Week 1 roster with three or four tight ends, max. In theory, Tebow could provide a bit of roster flexibility if he’s slotted as the No. 3 QB/No. 4 TE.

In any event, it’s hard to peg Tebow’s odds of actually making the roster. At last check, ~46% of PFR readers said that Tebow will make the 53-man roster, ~29% predicted he’ll be dropped entirely, and ~25% said he’ll land on the taxi squad. And, in case you’re wondering, Tebow still has the No. 1 selling jersey in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars To Hire Nick Sorensen As Special Teams Coordinator

The Jaguars’ special teams coordinator search is expected to end with a familiar name. Former Jags special-teamer Nick Sorensen is on track to take over in this role, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

A former 10-year NFL veteran, Sorensen played for the Jaguars for four seasons in the 2000s. Sorensen, 42, has spent the past eight seasons as a defensive and special teams assistant in Seattle, where he was on staff with previous Jags ST coordinator Brian Schneider.

Jacksonville needed to make this unusual mid-offseason coordinator hire after Schneider stepped down from his new post for personal reasons earlier last week. This marked the second straight year Schneider left a job; he vacated his 10-year post as Seahawks ST coordinator for personal reasons in 2020 but opted to join Urban Meyer‘s staff in Jacksonville. Now, one of Schneider’s former Seahawk coworkers will land the gig.

With the Jags from 2003-06, Sorensen served as a special teams captain before moving into coaching during the 2010s. Sorensen’s first Seahawks season doubled as the franchise’s Super Bowl-winning slate. The Jags, who have Carlos Polk in place as their assistant special teams coach, also interviewed former Lions ST coordinator Brayden Coombs for the job.

Jaguars Executive Leaves Organization

Another recent hire is leaving the Jaguars. ESPN’s Michael DiRocco writes that senior vice president of football operations and strategy Karim Kassam has left the organization.

Kassam was a bit of an unconventional hire, as he had most recently served as the Minnesota Twins’ director of baseball research. However, he did have some NFL experience on his resume, having spent half a decade as the Steelers analytics research coordinator. Kassam was hired by the Jaguars back in February, and he was expected to “oversee the team’s football technology and analytics department” while also assisting with the salary cap (per DiRocco).

The team didn’t reveal the reason for Kassam leaving the organization, but they released a statement describing the decision as mutual.

“Karim and the team have come to the conclusion that it is in our mutual best interest to move in different directions. We wish Karim nothing but the best,” said Tony Khan, the Jaguars’ chief football strategy officer.

Earlier this offseason, Chris Doyle was hired as the team’s director of sports performance, but he resigned following negative reactions to the hiring. Doyle previously worked at Iowa, where he was accused of bulling players and making racist remarks.