Jaguars beef up run game, add pass-catchers in offseason

Andrew Norwell adds an intimidating presence to an offense that was already among the NFL's best at running the ball last season. AP Photo/John Raoux

The Jacksonville Jaguars ended their offseason program on June 14. Here's a look at how they fared:

Offseason goals: Find more playmakers in the passing game for quarterback Blake Bortles and get better along the interior of the offensive line to make a run game that led the NFL in 2017 become more consistent. The defense was one of the NFL's best last season -- though coordinator Todd Wash admitted there were too many lapses and big plays allowed in the latter part of the season. Becoming more consistent on offense was the top priority so the defense doesn't have to carry such a large burden. All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell was the Jaguars' top target in free agency and is a huge boost for the line. The addition of tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and receivers Donte Moncrief and D.J. Chark, gives Bortles more options. That should help open up the run game, too (the Jaguars faced more defensive fronts with eight-plus men in the box than any other team).

How they fared: Above average

Move I liked: Adding Norwell was the best thing the team could have done to beef up a run game that averaged 51.3 yards rushing fewer over the final six weeks of the regular season than it did through the first 11 weeks. Norwell slides in at left guard between tackle Cam Robinson and center Brandon Linder, and the Jaguars should be very good running to the left in 2018.

Move I didn't like: Giving Moncrief a one-year deal for $9.6 million guaranteed is a little confusing considering Moncrief has caught more than 32 passes in a season just once in four years. The Jaguars might have been overcompensating after losing Allen Robinson to Chicago (they declined to use the franchise tag on him) and overspent to land Moncrief, whose best season (64 catches, 733 yards, six TDs) came when quarterback Andrew Luck was still on the field for Indianapolis. Moncrief is a big receiver (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) who can run and make plays downfield, but he's had consistency issues. He definitely was worth signing to give the team a downfield threat, but the price seemed a bit high.

Biggest question still to be answered in training camp: Myles Jack moves to middle linebacker full-time, and how quickly he adjusts bears watching. The team tried to move him there last season, but he struggled with the transition and Wash eventually moved Paul Posluszny from strongside linebacker back into the middle on first and second downs. Jack spent a lot of time during OTAs and minicamp working on coverages and drops while he rehabbed a hand injury.

Quotable: "I still talk about laying the foundation. We talked to the players the other day about, 'These bricks that you lay early in this foundation, we have to lay them perfectly and right where they can't crack or splinter, because if they do in this foundation, then as soon as we try to start going up, it's all going to collapse.' For me, the message has always been, 'Let's lay this foundation.' We are doing that, and it takes a while. It's not something that we're going to say, 'Day 1 we laid the foundation. Let's move.' We are doing that. We are still going to continue to do that all the way until we get to training camp. We will start with that foundation again. We will start building it up and try to build it up with us going into the season trying to build upon the hard work we put in. I think at the end of the day when I look at it, I tell the players, 'Make no mistake about it. We have a lot of work in front of us to be where we want to be as a football team.'" -- Jaguars coach Doug Marrone

Salary-cap space: $20,152,231, which is the eighth highest in the NFL. (source: ESPN's Roster Management System)

2018 draft picks: 1. DT Taven Bryan (Florida); 2. WR Chark (LSU); 3. S Ronnie Harrison (Alabama); 4. OT Will Richardson (NC State); 6. QB Tanner Lee (Nebrask); 7a. LB Leon Jacobs (Wisconsin); 7b. P Logan Cooke (Mississippi State).

Undrafted rookie free agents signed: CB Dee Delaney (Miami); CB Tre Herndon (Vanderbilt); DT Mike Hughes Jr. (UNLV); LB Manase Hungalu (Oregon State); LB Reggie Hunter (North Carolina Central); DL Darius Jackson (Jacksonville State); DE Lyndon Johnson (Cincinnati); WR Allen Lazard (Iowa State); OT KC McDermott (Miami); CB Quenton Meeks (Stanford); WR Dorren Miller (Carson-Newman); LB Andrew Motuapuaka (Virginia Tech); S C.J. Reavis (Marshall); OT Brandon Smith (East Carolina).

Unrestricted free agents signed: S Don Carey (Lions); FS Cody Davis (Rams); DB D.J. Hayden (Lions); WR Marqise Lee (Jaguars); LB Lerentee McCray (Jaguars); WR Moncrief (Colts); G Norwell (Panthers); TE Niles Paul (Redskins); TE Seferian-Jenkins (Jets).

Restricted free agents signed: None

Players acquired via trade: QB Cody Kessler (from Cleveland).