Narrowing this list down to 10 players was a more difficult task than I anticipated going into it. The Jacksonville Jaguars have talent all over the roster with a good mix of veterans and rising stars. With that said, looking at the quarterback depth chart is a major buzzkill and ultimately pumps the brakes on any hope for playoff expectations this year.
The NFL is a quarterback-driven league and the success of the 2017 Jaguars lies in the hands of fourth-year signal-caller Blake Bortles, who was recently announced as the Week 1 starter. Bortles has been a disappointment in key situations for Jacksonville and his long-term future with the team is very much in question.
Whether Bortles takes a considerable step forward or the team moves on after the season, the surrounding talent is still in place for the Jaguars to have success. Here are the 10 best players on the team:
10. Yannick Ngakoue, DE
Ngakoue was a success as a pass rusher, making eight sacks in his rookie season, which set a franchise rookie record. A PFWA All-Rookie Team selection, Ngakoue is primed to have an even better sophomore season considering the improved talent around him on the defensive line.
9. Brandon Linder, C
In July, Linder signed a five-year, $51.7 million extension with the Jaguars, which made him the highest-paid center in NFL history. After starting his career at guard, Linder found a home at center, where he is one of the top interior blockers in the game. He will be relied on to anchor the offensive line for years to come.
8. Paul Posluszny, LB
Making over 100 tackles in eight of the last nine seasons, Posluszny has been a consistent performer throughout his career. Entering his 11th season, Posluszny is still playing quality football and is a leader and standout on the defense.
7. Jermey Parnell, OT
Entering his third season as a full-time starter, Parnell was a terrific pickup in 2015. A converted defensive end, Parnell bounced around to several teams to start his career but came into his own as a reserve for the Dallas Cowboys and is now a starter for the Jaguars.
6. Allen Robinson, WR
A historically great receiver crop in 2014 pushed Robinson to the end of the second round but Jacksonville got a steal in the former Penn State wideout. After a 2015 season in which he totaled 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns, Robinson’s production dipped last season as Bortles’ play regressed. He still has the makeup of a legitimate No. 1 target in the NFL.
5. Telvin Smith, LB
Smith may be on the small side but that hasn’t stopped him from starting his NFL career with three consecutive 100-tackle seasons. A perfect fit for today’s NFL linebacker, Smith diagnoses plays quickly and has the lateral movement skills to make plays at every spot on the field.
4. Malik Jackson, DL
There is a theme among the defensive linemen that Jacksonville employs — they are all long, athletic and powerful. In his first season with Jacksonville after signing a six-year, $90 million contract in 2016, Jackson had a career year. With Campbell now in the mix, Jackson could be even better in 2017.
3. A.J. Bouye, CB
An undrafted free agent in 2013, Bouye has grown into one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks. Paired with fellow standout Ramsey, the Jaguars have one of the leagues best duos. Jacksonville added him via free agency in March along with Campbell, adding much-needed veteran leadership around its budding starts to the defensive unit.
2. Jalen Ramsey, CB
Ramsey quickly earned the status of a shutdown corner after putting together a tremendous rookie season. He instantly became the standout that Jacksonville was hoping for after using a top-five selection on him in 2016. Coming out of Florida State, Ramsey was considered a blue-chip prospect and has the upside to become one of the best corners in the league.
1. Calais Campbell, DL
Campbell is one of the most dominant defensive lineman in the game and is the best player on the Jaguars. Inking a four-year, $60 million contract in March, Campbell offers a rare blend of size, length, power and athleticism. On a front seven loaded with talent, Campbell is primed to continue his dominant career.
MORE JAGUARS COVERAGE
- Starting Chad Henne move Jacksonville had to make
- Myles Jack building a case for more playing time with Jacksonville
- What does a successful season look like for Jacksonville?
- What Yannick Ngakoue did well in 2016 and can improve on in 2017