Paul Spicer will be 33 years old when the season starts and his best football is behind him. He may have to be counted on more so as a backup than as a full-time starter that he was last year. With the uncertainty surrounding both Reggie Hayward and Bobby McCray, the Jaguars will make defensive end their top priority. They acquired Hayward through free agency two years ago and had it not been for the severe Achilles tendon injury in 2006, it would have been a good move. They could duplicate such a deal once free agency starts in March.
General thought is that free agents quarterback Quinn Gray, wide receiver Ernest Wilford, offensive lineman Maurice Williams and McCray will all find new deals elsewhere. Wilford led the team in receiving with 45 catches but hasn't shown the consistency the team is looking for in his four years with the club.
1. Defensive end: Spicer was the best of the four players at this position in 2007 but his age factor and the uncertainty of Hayward and McCray leave a very big question mark for the Jaguars. The club got just 20 total sacks from their defensive ends last season, an indication opposing passers had too much time to look for receivers.
2. Defensive tackle: Several years ago Marcus Stroud and John Henderson were as potent a combination at this position as there was in the league. But neither had a good year last season, with Stroud missing four games due to alleged steroid use. There's not enough quality backup other than Derek Landri who had a good rookie season and Rob Meier who was solid at both tackle and end. Free agency or draft picks will be needed to strengthen this position.
3. Wide receiver: It sounds like a broken record but the Jaguars still have not solved their needs at the wide receiver spot. Reggie Williams caught a team best 10 TD passes and had 629 yards, but only had 38 grabs for the season. Ernest Wilford led the team in number of catches (45), one more than Dennis Northcutt. When no one on the team can average 4 catches and 40 yards a game, there's a problem.