The Jacksonville Jaguars reduced their roster to 53 players on Saturday night.
Most of the transactions went as expected, as is usually the case with roster reductions, although there were some surprises.
The head-turners were the Jaguars trading for New York Jets defensive back Dwight Lowery and placing backup running back Rashad Jennings on Injured Reserve.
Before we analyze who made the final cut, here’s a list of the players who did not make the team:
OT Daniel Baldridge, WR Armon Binns, DB Don Carey, LB Jacob Cutrera, S Matt Estrada, TE Tommy Gallarda, G/C Wade Grayson, RB DuJuan Harris, DE Larry Hart, TE Joey Haynos, CB T.J. Heath, LS Jake Ingram, WR Dontrelle Inman, CB Jalil Johnson, DT Andrew Lewis, LB Mike Lockley, LB Scott Lutrus, TE Kyle Miller, G/T Tony Moll, DE Odrick Ray, CB Terrence Wheatley and RB Albert Young.
According to Jaguars.com, Jennings was placed on IR with Jennings, CB David Jones, DE Aaron Morgan, RB Richard Murphy, and DT D’Anthony Smith. RS Scotty McGee was waived/injured. If he clears waivers, he will revert to the Jaguars’ injured reserve list.
Now for some thoughts and observations on the Jaguars’ transactions.
1.) Lowery is a big haul for Jacksonville, which gave up a conditional pick for him. The 25-year-old can play cornerback in a zone scheme or safety, where he will likely line up for the Jaguars. He was well respected with the Jets but was overshadowed by the team’s other star-studded defensive backs. Lowery should start immediately for the team, or at least as soon as he gets acclimated.
2.) With Jennings being placed on IR, the team opted not to retain Harris, who had a phenomenal preseason as an undrafted rookie. That move was a bit surprising. The Jaguars seemed content with retaining fullbacks Montell Owens and Brock Bollen. Obviously Greg Jones will be back too. The theme here (and through ought the roster moves) is that the Jags picked versatile players over a one-dimensional guy like Harris, as Owens, Bollen and Jones have all shown the ability to run with the football. Another telling sign from not keeping Harris is that the Jaguars must be happy with Maurice Jones-Drew’s recovery and also feel that Deji Karim is capable of being the No.2 back.
3.) The Jaguars kept six wide receivers, which is one more than what you usually see on an NFL roster. Mike Thomas, Jason Hill and Cecil Shorts were givens to make the team and Jarrett Dillard showed enough quickness for Jacksonville to keep him around as a slot receiver. The other two guys, Kassim Osgood and Jamar Newsome, have a lot of special teams value, enabling the Jaguars to justify having six wide outs. Newsome, a UDFA from UCF, can return or cover kicks and displayed enough explosiveness as a receiver to make the cut.
4.) Looking at the linebackers, the Jaguars again appeared to opt for versatility. Young guys like Cutrera and Lutrus had good preseasons but Jacksonville seemed more comfortable with Kyle Bosworth and Russell Allen. Both guys had more experience with the Jaguars’ playbook and that familiarity seemed to help. They also displayed better athleticism than Lutrus and Cutrera.
5.) One of the pleasant surprises of the roster cuts was seeing Nate Collins’ name. The second-year defensive tackle was dominant in the Jaguars’ preseason finale and really deserved to make the team. His play, along with Leger Douzable’s, seemed to give Gene Smith and the front office enough confidence to keep them around has rotation guys and move Smith to the IR.
6.) I’ll follow a surprise with a disappointment. I loved Estrada’s energy and ferociousness at safety but he only played in about half of the preseason games because of injury so it was hard to keep him around. Still, he could have added value but the Jaguars seemed intent on retaining draft picks Chris Prosinski and Rod Isaac.
7.) Going off of the previous point and my first point, the Jaguars clearly were not satisfied with their defensive back play this preseason. The team struggled to get off the field on third down and while that could be blamed on a mediocre pass rush, the Jaguars’ safeties were usually slow to react. Bringing in Lowery is a clear indication of that. He can move back to safety and start opposite of Dawan Landry or play corner and have Derek Cox switch to safety. Either way he gives the Jaguars more depth at a position of need.Tags: Dwight Lowery, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jamar Newsome, Maurice-Jones Drew, New York Jets, Rashad Jennings