Ranking the NFL’s WR Cores.

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(Image by USATSI)

By: Zack Hochrien

It’s been a while as we all have been on a bit of a hiatus from IES due to our busy schedules and working on a new site. But as promised we do plan to occasionally post on here from time to time and that’s exactly what I’m here to do today. Here is our latest post by Zack as he takes a look at each of the WR units in the NFL and ranks them. Hope you all enjoy it. 

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Early Jags 53 Man Roster Predictions By Zack.

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(Image by Jacksonville.com )

By: Zack Hochrien 

As of recently, a hot topic in the Jaguars hashtag of Twitter has been early roster predictions, and though I have yet to check out any of the links on Twitter with these projections, our own Zach Hochrein sent me his early roster projections and I must say…it’s a rather interesting write up. And yes, we’re are well aware we are months away from final cuts, but here at IES we like to keep things interesting. That said, enjoy. 

2014 Post Draft Depth Chart Predictions – Jacksonville Jaguars

Total number of active players: 53 with 1 projected to the PUP list.

QB
1. Chad Henne
2. Blake Bortles
3. Stephen Morris
RB
1. Toby Gerhart
2. Storm Johnson
3. Terrence Cobb

4. Denard Robinson
WR

1. Allen Robinson
2. Marqise Lee
3. Ace Sanders
4. Cecil Short III
5. Allen Hurns
6. Damian Copeland
7. Tandon Doss (Special Teams Ace)

TE
1. Marcedes Lewis
2. Clay Harbor
3. Marcel Jensen

OL
LT - Luke Joeckel
LG – Zane Beadles
C – Brandon Linder
RG – Tyler Shatley
RT – Austin Pasztor
OL Depth

Patrick Lewis, Jacques McClendon, Luke Bowanko and Cam Bradfield
LEO
1. Chris Clemons
2. Jason Babin
3. Andre Branch
4. Chris Smith
1T
1. DeAndre Coleman
2. Jordan Miller
3T
1. SenDerrick Marks
2. Ziggy Hood
5T
1. Red Bryant
2. Abry Jones
WILL (Weakside LB)

Dekoda Watson
MLB

Paul Posluszny
SAM (Strongide LB)

Geno Hayes
LB Depth

Telvin Smith, Spencer Shuey and Ryan Davis
CB 1

Alan Ball
CB 2

Dwayne Gratz
Nickel

Will Blackmon
FS

Winston Guy
SS

Jonathan Cyprien
DB Depth

Demetrius McCray, Craig Loston, Rashaad Reynolds, Jeremy Harris,
K

Josh Scobee
P

Bryan Anger

Notable PUP Players 

Aaron Colvin


 

I guess I’ll start with the QB’s as I believe both Henne and Bortles make the teams (shocker, right?). I highly doubt Morris does, though, being that teams don’t really keep 3 QB’s on their roster anymore . I think it’s more likely he’ll be on the practice squad when it’s all said and done.
I was also surprised to see that Zack had Shorts as the #4 WR on the roster. According to reports, the Jags have been interested in extending him and for what he’ll get paid, I can’t help but think he’ll be one of the top two wide-outs on the roster. Also, I don’t think Hurns and Copeland will both make the roster as one will likely go to the teams practice squad if the other makes it.
On the offensive line I was surprised to see Shatley starting at RG over Linder who was at center. I personally don’t think Linder has the strength to hold up against the nose tackles of the league and would prefer him at RG over C. As for Shatley, I do think he makes the roster as Zack does (possibly as a starter, but likely as a backup).

Now on the defensive end I noticed that Roy Miller wasn’t on the roster. To me he wasn’t exactly spectacular though he has battled through several injuries. It wouldn’t surprise me if he is cut during the teams final cuts before week 1 of the regular season, but due to the fact that the team would have to rely on an undrafted rookie in Deandre Coleman to man the middle the whole season, I think they will lean towards keeping Miller. It would likely take a very spectacular training camp for Coleman to win the starting NT job over Miller, though I do think he’ll make the roster as a backup. Unlike Zack, I also believe Tyson AluAlu will stick around. I feel as he’d compliment Red Bryant perfectly as the teams second five-technique as opposed to Abry Jones.

At the LEO position the depth chart is a little crowded to say the least. Chris Clemons was signed by the team, and they also brought back veteran pass-rusher Jason Babin. Below the both of them are Andre Branch, who most would say flashed a bit last season and a former undrafted DE in Ryan Davis. The team also recently added Arkansas DE Chris Smith through the 5th round of the draft this year, giving the position 5 players fighting for a spot. That said, I’d like to keep all 5 personally, but I think that maybe highly unlikely in the end. When it’s all said and done, I think the team may reluctantly pull the plug on Davis, who is the youngest and least experienced of the the veterans, to make a spot for Chris Smith. Zack, on the other hand believes Davis may be able to change positions to OLB, but I personally don’t know if that position fits his skill-set.

Aside from the positions above, I agree with Zack’s projections for the most part. In all likelihood, we could both be way off however as there is a lot of time for the roster to shape up. One thing that is for certain though, and that’s the fact that the Jags are going into this season’s training camp with a lot more experience and talent than last year, and that into consideration you can put some money on it that this will be the most interesting training camp we’ve seen in a while.

Feel free to give us your feedback and roster projections, and also stay tuned as we’ll have more of these projections to come in the next few months leading up into the season.

And as usual we appreciate the views. Feel free to follow Zach as he can be found on Twitter under the handle of @ZhochZeus.

A Look at the Jag Draft Class: Scouting Report/ Thoughts on the Selection of Blake Bortles.

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(Image by USA Today)

By: James Johnson 

The Jacksonville Jaguars sent shock-waves through the city and league as they drafted Blake Bortles with the #3 overall pick Thursday night in the 2014 NFL Draft.  The selection came as a surprise to most (including myself) as it was believed that the Jags were leaning towards taking Sammy Watkins,  Khalil Mack, or even another QB in former Heisman trophy recipient Johnny Manziel. But Dave Caldwell, being the wizard he is, thought otherwise and decided to pull the trigger on the nearby Oviedo Florida native. 

Tapes of choice to evaluate: Thanks to the good people at Draftbreakdown.com I’ve broken down roughly over 8 of Bortles’ games, but the tapes I choose to rewatch for the sake of this scouting report were the Louisville, Baylor, Penn State, and South Carolina tapes. They all can be found through the links below.

Louisville: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTNvSHLhf9M

Baylor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4iDpPeoaKI

Penn State: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6JLz-M9E8E

South Carolina: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYd29xlmc04

 

What He Does Well/Pros

  • I want to start by saying an underrated part of his game is his abilities as a scrambler. He’s more than capable at it ,and I’d go as far as saying he’s a little better than Andrew Luck in terms of athleticism. Also worth noting is that he was a former LB in his early days of high school.
  • He has prototypical NFL size at 6-5, 232 lbs.
  • He steps up and moves well in the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield. It appears he really has a good sense of what is going on around him.
  • He’s hard to bring down, and is much like Ben Roethlisberger when trying to sack.
  • He’s resilient in crunch time.  I can recall him bringing back UCF in a game winning drive vs Louisville in the first ever game I evaluated him in last year. He’s also brought his team back in many occasions from behind.
  • At times he’s shown the ability to throw in windows, but will be asked to do it more often in the league.
  • I like his ability to take advantage of unaware defenders. I’ve seen him throw some solid back shoulder throws and some jump balls over DB’s who have their backs turned.
  • He understands when to resort to a checkdown.
  • He’s an intelligent player with a high football I.Q. His father was (and may still be) a football coach so it’s fitting that Blake knows the game well and how to make a good impression with football personnel.
  • I think another aspect of his game that has gone unnoticed is that at times he’s shown the ability to operate his offense as a field general. I’ve often seen him communicate with his lineman and RB’s before snapping the ball.
  • He’s a leader and a competitor, which are two traits Gus Bradley was high on about him.
  • He’s proven to be coachable.
  • He has a high ceiling.

What can He Work On/Cons

  • His biggest flaw to me is that he stares defenders down at times. There’ve been multiple times when I’ve seen a defender follow Blake’s eyes on his target and, as a result, pick him off.
  • Some question his velocity/arm strength (which I think is fine, just not elite); most also feel that due to his velocity he’ll have to make quicker decisions in the league.
  • I believe his lower body mechanics are a big reason his velocity is questioned at times. I think that if he practiced consistently stepping into his throws that would improve the velocity on some of them. As Matthew Fairburn of SB Nation mentioned, Bortles seems to have recognized this problem seeing as he showed the ability to drive behind his throws at his pro day.
  • Another flaw that I goes back to his lower body mechanics is the fact that he takes false steps at times while dropping back.
  • He’s a bit careless with the ball in terms of fumbles.
  • Didn’t play against an elite level of competition for the most part.
  • His deep ball accuracy could use some work.
  • He often throws off his back foot while under pressure.
  • His throws have a bit of a wobble to them. He’ll need to work on tightening his spiral.
  • He needs to work on consistent ball placement as he doesn’t always hit his WR’s in stride.

 

So why Bortles? 

Well aside from the obvious answer of the Jags needing a franchise QB, there were a variety of reasons that the Jags drafted Bortles. I believe one of the biggest variables in their decision was the combine/interview process, which I had read that Bortles exceeded in. I remember reading Ryan O’Halloran saying that Bortles “Took over the room” when the Jags met him in Indianapolis for the combine. Gus also mentioned after Bortles was drafted that he liked Blake’s willingness to compete as he did everything at the combine, something very uncharacteristic in today’s QB’s when entering the combine. So for anyone that believes that throwing at the combine isn’t a big deal, well…. it can be. Looking at where Bortles was drafted over Manziel, and Bridgewater, I think it’s safe to say in this case it made a HUGE difference. The interview process for Bortles also pretty much solidified everything that Caldwell and Bradley needed to know in terms of whether they found the right man to potentially lead this franchise to the promise land.

Below is a video segment  I saw on NFL Network of Bortles being interviewed by Steve Mariucci during the combine process. He instantly struck me as a young man with sharp communication skills (which isn’t surprising because he’s a Communication major), and a high football IQ. Obviously, he was just as sharp while speaking to the Jags during the process, who got a lot more time with him than Mariucci.

Comparison

So I’d guess the next question is on who could this young man exactly become? Well, nothing is guaranteed of course, but I’d agree with those who have compared Bortles to a young version of Ben Roethlisberger. As I mentioned above, I also see shades of a slightly better version of Andrew Luck in terms of athleticism (NOT as a passer to be clear). Being that he has a ways to go in terms of mechanics, yet showcases solid arm strength when using proper mechanics, I’d say that he’s about on the same level Colin Kaepernick was coming out of Nevada in terms of a passer. Kaepernick, however, possessed a noticeably stronger arm.

Blake_Bortles_vs_Baylor_2014_F_650d3be2712490a75cd026126f2fcd61
(Like Big Ben as you can see it’s very hard to bring Bortles down. Yet, despite the pressure his eyes stay down field as he escapes multiple arm tackles to find his RB for a check down )

 

HD_Ben_Roethlisberger_Ultra_ey_3d07fca6a45cedfa613a1e27c1a2a6ac
(Big Ben to this day is known for his ability to shrug off tackles and make plays down field afterwards, much like we see in the play above)

 

NFL Outlook.

I think the x-factors in the equation to develop Bortles of course lie in his coaches, most notably Jags offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, as well as Jags QB coach Frank Scelfo, both of whom who have succeeded in recent times with coaching young talent. Fisch, recently worked as Miami University’s offensive coordinator before coming to Jacksonville, and aided Stephen Morris and company to become one of the better offenses that Miami has had in a long time, while Scelfo recently did his due diligence in developing Nick Foles back in the 2010-2011 season as Arizona University’s QB coach. Both also showcased their abilities to work with and develop young talent in their short time in Mobile Alabama for the Senior Bowl, as both Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo showed great strides throughout their week of practice under the Jags coordinators. So, needless to say, this is nothing new for either coach.

All that into consideration, it’s hard to say whether Bortles will start year one over six year veteran Chad Henne, as the Jags declared him the starter back when he resigned in free agency this season. Even after drafting Bortles, the team has been on record for basically saying they would ideally like Bortles to sit under Henne, but only time will tell if that will happen or not. I personally believe that Fisch and Scelfo have shown enough in developing young talent to make me believe that it’s quite possible they could have Bortles ready to start week one, but again, only time will tell. One thing is for certain, however, and that is the fact that the QB battle between Henne and Bortles will certainly be the most watched competition this summer at Jags training camp, as well as one of the most watched in the league.

And the Verdict on This Pick…

Even my initial reaction at the time the pick was was to give it a B +. Why? Because at the time, I felt that the Jags “reached” for Bortles here and quite possibly could have traded down for Bortles. I also personally had one QB in Teddy Bridgewater graded higher than Bortles. However, reports surfaced that Dave Caldwell felt that the Jaguars couldn’t have been the only other team with Bortles as their #1 rated QB, and that after round 1 he asked a couple other organizations in the top 10 if they had him graded the same. Well….low and behold, some did. That said, a trade back could’ve had dire repercussions….. and that was the possibility of Caldwell losing the QB/prospect he had as the #1 overall prospect on his board for months.  Jacksonville’s own Pete Prisco of CBS Sports even confirmed these reports himself.

All that into consideration, I bumped my initial grade up to an A – for the selection of Bortles. I must give Dave Caldwell credit here for believing in his board and not passing up the opportunity to get a potential franchise QB that he felt strongly about. Now it’s all just a matter of developing him with the staff that both he and Gus Bradley put in place  to work with young players like Bortles. And if Bortles himself does what he’s done throughout his collegiate career  (and that’s develop over time), Dave Caldwell and company just might’ve struck gold with this pick.

So what do you guys think? Feel free to share your draft thoughts and questions with me on Twitter under the handle of @IES_Don, and as always we appreciate your views. 

Also, stay tuned as my next article will be an in-depth scouting report on the Jags first second round pick Marqise Lee. 

April Surprise MLB Teams.

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By: Charles Booth 

(USA Today)

The first month of the season is about to come to a close, and I wanted to look at the surprise teams in the MLB: one in the AL one in the NL. The NL team is a no brainer because it is the resurgent Milwaukee Brewers who have baseball’s best record. The AL team was more of a tossup, but I decided to go with the Minnesota Twins because who would expect them to be near .500 – let alone being one game over and one game behind the Detroit tigers for first place in the AL Central? I think the Brewers will contend for the NL Central title, and they will definitely be able to secure a wild card spot if everything holds up. The Twins will probably regress towards .500 unless the pitching holds up. I want to take some time to look into these two teams and how they’re doing it.

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IES Gridiron Season: Last Day Jags Draft Buzz w/ Mike Dempsey .

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(Gridiron Season Logo)

By: James Johnson

As I mentioned in my post prior, it’s Draft Day, and here at IES we’ve been putting in the work this year all to get you prepared for the moment. In out latest episode of Gridiron Season we were joined by Mike Dempsey, the host of 1010XL’s new Jaguars broadcast Jaguars Today. He shared with us his thoughts on what Jacksonville could do once they’re on the clock tonight, and he also talked with us on the Houston Texans, the St. Louis Rams, and 1010xl’s latest announcement of Frank Frangie becoming the new voice of the Jags along with more!

Afterwards, Phil and I continued part two of our annual NFL mock drafts as we took a look at picks 16-32. (Picks 1-16 can be found here)

To listen simply click on the Mixlr link below. Feel free to give us your thoughts on our discussions as well folks!

For out Twitter followers out there who want to follow Mike he can be found under the handle of @MD_1010xl.

http://mixlr.com/inside-edge-sports/showreel/gridiron-season-draft-special-w-mike-dempsey-2/

Full NFL Mock Draft 1.0 by the Don.

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By: James Johnson 

For the past couple years I’ve stuck to just releasing one full NFL Mock a year to build anticipation. That said, I promised I’d have one up and done on draft day. Well…… as Caleb the Geico camel would say “Guys, guess what day it issssss????” That’s right, Draft Daaaaay!!!!  Enjoy!

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Top 10 WR’s Rankings of the 2014 NFL Draft.

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By: James Johnson

(Image by Nike)

It’s been a while since I wrote my last true article, but I’ve been fairly busy. Have no fear though because with the draft coming next week I’m going to really put in some work to get as much draft content out as possible on my end by May, 8. You all have already seen my QB rankings, now as I pick up where I left off, we’ll continue on the offensive end with my WR rankings. Hope you all enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »