Jacksonville entered the 2021 season with some hope after a 1-15 victory a year ago landed the team its franchise quarterback in Trevor Lawrence. But fans hoping to see tangible improvement were left disappointed as the team battled their way to a 3-14 finish that again earned them the first overall pick.
It goes without saying that this year’s squad hasn’t been very successful, but a few players have had solid seasons, especially in the second half of the year. As we turn our attention to the offseason — including a coaching search to replace Urban Meyer, who was fired 13 games into the season — let’s take a look at what the Jaguars need to build around.
These were the five highest-ranked Jacksonville qualifiers in the 2021 season, according to Pro Football Focus.
EDGE Josh Allen (78.6)
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Allen still hasn’t been able to match his rookie season production, but 2021 has been a milestone after being injury-limited in his second season. He finished with 7.5 sacks on the year, and his best game came against fellow Josh Allen when the Jags upset the Buffalo Bills, with Jacksonville’s Allen tallying a sack, an interception and a fumble recovery in the win. .
He recorded a passing rating of 71.3 for the season and had a very good coverage rating of 81.6 despite only playing 60 return snaps on the year. He was the 18th leading forward in the league, according to PFF, and he remains one of the players this franchise needs to be built around.
CB Shaquill Griffin (73.2)
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Griffin was the headliner of free agency additions last offseason after spending four years with the Seattle Seahawks, and while he wasn’t exactly a transformative player on defense, he did experience a very strong season. He earned a 72.6 cover rating, and while he rarely rushed the passer, he had an 80.5 rating on all three of those shots.
However, Griffin still needs to improve against the run, where he posted a 68.5 rating, and he recorded career lows in tackles (49) and pass deflections (seven). He also hasn’t recorded an interception despite entering the year with six in his career and reaching a career high with three in 2020. Still, Griffin ranked 20th league rank this season.
WR Laquon Treadwell (71.9)
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Treadwell was easily the biggest surprise on the entire roster this season. After DJ Chark Jr. and Jamal Agnew were injured for the season, Treadwell, who started the year on the Jags’ practice squad, became the team‘s highest-ranked receiver. He was third in yards with 434, and despite only finding the end zone once, he was Lawrence’s favorite target all season. His receiving rating was just average at 69.8, but he made plenty of contributions even when the ball wasn’t coming his way, racking up an 84.4 rating in run blocking.
No one expected Treadwell to play as big of a role as he did this year, but after the most productive season of his entire career (in which he was ranked 48th in the league in receivers) , he’s probably earned a role in next year’s squad, as well.
S Andrew Wingard (69.9)
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Wingard was often used as a scapegoat in the secondary, and he was arguably outplayed by rookie Andre Cisco after missing the final games of the season with injury. Still, Wingard was better than believed in PFF’s eyes, especially in coverage where he scored 75.2. After totaling a career-high 88 tackles (which was third on the team) to go along with an interception, Wingard — the league’s No. 34 safety — proved he could at least be a role player. in the team in the future.
OT Walker Small (68.8)
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Few Jacksonville rookies were able to make a big impact in 2021, but Little showed positive signs in the action he saw. He started three games in the year, including the last two of the season, and he was very solid as a pass blocker, with a rating of 70.2. His 61.9 run blocking rating leaves a lot to be desired, but the offensive line hasn’t seen much regression with him in the lineup.
Considering the Jaguars have a decision to make regarding Cam Robinson (and given Jawaan Taylor’s ongoing struggles), the team will likely rely on him to start at one of the tackle points next season.