After a disappointing 8-8 season, many of the Jaguars players and coaching staff have a lot to prove…
2005 Rookie Class - What To Expect
Background- Matt Jones was somewhat of a reach with the 23rd overall pick in the 2005 draft. Jones was a combine hero, running a 4.38/40 and showing great hands. The Jaguars were in desperate need of a play-maker, so they gambled on the former University of Arkansas quarterback in hopes of turning him into a Pro Bowl receiver.
What he's done up to this point- Up to this point, Jones has underachieved, based on his draft status. He has shown flashes of brilliance, and has had great games, but doesn't run nearly as fast as advertised with the pads on. Jones has toughness issues, and is getting the reputation of not a hard worker.
What can we expect in '07?- There is significantly more competition at the wide receiver spot than ever before since Jones has been a Jaguar. Jones will either toughen up and play up to his abilities, or be cast aside as another first round bust. I think Jones settles in as a fine possession receiver, and catches 40-50 balls.
2. Khalif Barnes LT (second round, #52 overall)
What he's done up to this point- Khalif Barnes has over-achieved since first being inserted into the Jaguars lineup out of desperation in 2005. Barnes has been solid and steady at left tackle, and aside from one really bad night of drinking in October of 2006, Barnes has been a solid community guy.
What can we expect in '07?- I fully expect Khalif's game to continue to improve and he be a key member of one of the best offensive lines in football. If Barnes improves just a little bit, he could garner some Pro Bowl attention.
3. Scott Starks CB (third round, #87 overall)
What he's done up to this point- Scott Starks has been a backup nickelback, and special teams ace. Starks is probably the fastest member of the Jaguars, and his coverage skills were considerably better in '06 (from his rookie season).
What can we expect in '07?- I believe that Scott Starks will challenge for, and win the starting nickelback job from Terry Cousin in 2007. Starks has all the physical tools to be a regular contributer on defense, and will get the regular playing time sooner than later.
4. Alvin Pearman RB (fourth round, #127 overall)
What he's done up to this point- Alvin Pearman has been an all-purpose back for the Jaguars ever since being drafted. Pearman catches the ball well, has some running skills, and has served as the teams most reliable punt returner.
What can we expect in '07?- Alvin Pearman appears to be on the outside looking in, in terms of a roster spot. Pearman's punt return duties have been likely replaced when the Jaguars signed Dennis Northcutt, and Pearman is log-jammed at the back of probably the most talented stable of running backs in the NFL. Unless there is some kind of injury, Pearman is not likely to make the Jaguars in '07.
5. Gerald Sensabaugh SS (fifth round, #157 overall)
What he's done up to this point- Gerald Sensabaugh was the steal of the '05 draft for the Jaguars. Sensabaugh is a big, fast, hard-hitting safety, who has filled in for former Jaguars strong safety Donovin Darius admirably.
What can we expect in '07?- Gerald Sensabaugh will be the opening day starter at strong safety, as his solid play over the last two seasons has made veteran Donovin Darius expendable. Sensabaugh will likely get better with more experience, and will be a major part of what will be the Jaguars fastest defense in team history.
6. Chad Owens WR (sixth round, #185 overall) - released in '06
7. Pat Thomas LB (sixth round, #194 overall)
What he's done up to this point- Pat Thomas hasn't put up much statistics as a Jaguar, as he missed the '06 season on injured reserve. The team likes his speed and hitting abilities, and if it wasn't for his injury, could've seen a lot of playing time in '06.
What can we expect in '07?- Pat Thomas will have his work cut out for him if he's going to make the Jaguars in '07. With the emergence last year of Clint Ingram, the return of Mike Peterson, and the drafting of Justin Durant, Thomas will be fighting for a position that may already be gone. If Thomas is to make the team, it will likely be due to a special teams contribution.
8. Chris Roberson CB (seventh round, #237 overall)
What he's done up to this point- Not a whole lot. Roberson has spent much of the last two years on the Jaguars practice squad learning the system.
What can we expect in '07?- Roberson will have a tough time making the roster, as the team appears to be high on '06 seventh round corner, Dee Webb. Roberson will have to beat out Webb and make a special teams contribution to last until the final cuts.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Jagnation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com and Sportsillustated.com. Feel free to contact Charlie HERE
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