JagNation has been previewing all of the positions, and will continue to all this week so you know exactly who you're looking at if you plan on being a spectator during this five week long event.
Today, we are going to examine some of the jobs that are available. Most NFL coaches would like you to believe that each of the 53 final roster spots must be earned over the period of training camp, but we all know that isn't the case. On the Jaguars roster for example, all of the first day draft picks (Nelson, Durant, and Walker) will earn a roster spot, as will the starting quarterback (Byron Leftwich for those of you that have been in a deep coma for the last six months or so), most of last years' starting offensive line (with the exception of Maurice Williams), last years first day draft picks (Lewis, Jones-Drew, and Ingram), all who have received big money contracts (Tony Pashos, Fred Taylor, and Dennis Northcutt), and defensive starters (Henderson, Stroud, Mathis, B. Williams, Sensabaugh, Peterson, D. Smith, and McCray). I will also bet my mortgage money that punter Adam Podlesh and kicker Josh Scobee will also earn spots. I am firmly standing out on a limb (not much of one) and saying that these 24 players will be on the Jaguars final 53-man roster, assuming they don't suffer any kind of serious injury during camp.
As for the other 29 spots, that is a little more up in the air. Lets start at wide receiver, where there is expected to be a lot of competition in camp. With Mike Walker and Dennis Northcutt being locks, the team will keep either three or four more guys. Reggie Williams, Matt Jones, Ernest Wilford, John Broussard, Charles Sharon, D'Juan Woods, Roosevelt Kiser, and Jimmy Farris are all vying for those remaining spots. I believe that Reggie Williams and Matt Jones are close to locks, and everyone else is competing for one or two spots. Wilford is probably the early favorite, due to having the best body of NFL work amongst the six, but don't discount John Broussard who has deep speed and return abilities. Charles Sharon looked good in non-contact drills in mini-camp, and Woods, Kiser, and Farris all have their work cut out for them. We will see how these battles continue to shake out during camp and preseason. If the Jaguars keep five receivers, we will have 26 spots left. We believe that Wilford will eventually win out for that final wide receiver spot.
One of the easier positions for the roster will be quarterback. It appears as if the Jaguars will not be in the market for Daunte Culpepper, so the team will likely retain David Garrard and Quinn Gray to backup starter Byron Leftwich. 24 spots left. At running back, we believe the Jaguars will keep five players. Aside from Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, we believe that a now healthy Greg Jones will make the team, along with Derrick Wimbush and LaBrandon Toefield. 21 spots left.
We have the Jaguars keeping four tight ends, and aside from last years number one pick (Marcedes Lewis), we believe that George Wrighster, Jermaine Wiggins, and Greg Estandia all find themselves on the final roster. The offensive line is a much tougher call. We know who the starters will be assuming health, but how many backups will the Jaguars keep? Jagnation is going to assume that they keep eight in total, and the three backups will be Dennis Norman, Uche Nwaneri, and Richard Collier. That leaves us with just 15 roster spots left.
On the defensive line, the Jaguars are likely to keep nine players in total. After already accounting for the great Stroud and Henderson, we believe that Paul Spicer, Reggie Hayward, Bobby McCray, Brent Hawkins, Rob Meier, Derek Landri, and Brian Smith will all find their way on the roster. That leaves us with just eight roster spots.
We know who the probable starters are at linebacker, and they've already been accounted for, as well as the Jaguars second round pick, Justin Durant. We believe that the Jaguars will keep one more linebacker for depth, and he will be Nick Greisen. Seven spots to go.
In the secondary, we've already given starting jobs to Mathis, Williams, Sensabaugh, and Nelson. We believe that there will be four more spots to go around for depth, and they'll go to Scott Starks, Dee Webb, Josh Gattis, and Jamaal Fudge. That leaves us with three remaining roster spots. We believe that those three remaining spots will be used for depth and special teams, and we have Chad Nkang, Tony McDaniel, and Kevin McCadam finding their way on the roster.