Each week during this year's offseason, Jaguar Report will take Jacksonville Jaguars-related questions from our readers across social media and answer them in a question-and-answer format, giving readers a chance to have their voices heard.
This week we take questions on Zach Ertz, the Jaguars' rookie contracts and more!
Q: In honor of your 25th birthday this week, who will be your favorite 25-year-old playing in the NFL next season and/or who is your favorite player ever to have worn No. 25?
A: I am going to count this as a happy birthday, so thank you! To answer your interesting and welcomed questions, I think my favorite 25-year-old playing in the NFL next year will be Nick Chubb. Chubb battled through a lot to become the player he is, and I genuinely don't think there is a more enjoyable runner to watch currently in the NFL. Speed, power, elusiveness, vision, Chubb has it all. I have a soft spot for running backs in terms of how much I enjoy watching them, too.
As for favorite to ever wear No. 25? I will be showing my recency bias, but I am going with Richard Sherman. Sherman's run as arguably the NFL's best cornerback during the Seahawks Super Bowl trips was as exciting and impressive as any cornerback play I have seen. He may not have been the best corner, but he acted and talked like he was, and he more often than not more than backed up those words. Seeing that kind of confidence always made the Seahawks appointment viewing for me during the 'Legion of Boom' days.
Q: If you had to predict one player to have a "down year" for the Jags, who would you choose?
A: This is a tough one, but I think I will go with Joe Schobert. Schobert turned his play up toward the end of the 2020 season after having some understandable struggles due to becoming the new signal-caller for a defense without having much of an offseason to learn the scheme. With that said, he just doesn't exactly seem like the type of downhill linebacker that fits defenses like the one the Jaguars are set to run. Schobert found his niche in Cleveland, but I think there is a more plausible chance that he runs into a second scheme that doesn't quite fit him in Jacksonville.
Other options could be James Robinson due to the addition of Travis Etienne, or Rayshawn Jenkins due to the fact that envisioning as a long-term starter is more of a projection than anything. DJ Chark is another candidate since the Jaguars have Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault to take targets from him, but Chark already had his down year last year. Schobert seems like the most logical option among this group.
Q: Why haven't we traded for Ertz?
A: While the Jaguars spent all offseason talking about how badly they wanted to upgrade the tight end room, they haven't spent much of the last month or so doing anything but throwing praise at the position. The Jaguars seem to be content with their current group, at least enough to the extent that they don't feel the pressure to force a deal for Ertz.
While Ertz would be the most established tight end on the Jaguars' roster from a pass-catching perspective, he will be 31-years-old in November and is fresh off the worst season of his career. Carson Wentz didn't make things easy, but Ertz was far from a quality tight end in 2020. Considering that Ertz will likely ask for a new contract in the event he is traded, the Jaguars are better off continuing to develop Chris Manhertz, James O'Shaughnessy and Ben Ellefson. The upside just isn't there to trade for Ertz, and it appears the Jaguars know so.
Q: Do you think it is likely or possible that either Cam Robinson or Jawaan Taylor can have a breakout season this year?
A: I do. Jawaan Taylor had an extremely encouraging rookie season in 2019 and looked like a legitimate future top-tier right tackle. He didn't take a step forward in 2020, primarily as a pass-rusher, but the Jaguars' tackles didn't exactly have an easy job considering the trio of quarterbacks who rotated in and out of the starting lineup. Taylor has the athletic traits and run-blocking ability already down. If he can become more consistent as a pass-blocker in his third season under offensive line coach George Warhop, then
As for Cam Robinson, I am not sure he has the ceiling that Taylor has that would really help him be a "breakout" player, if that makes sense. He is a solid left tackle with room to grow, but he is unlikely to take as big of a leap as Taylor. That isn't to say he can't have a good season or develop, more so to say that Taylor has the better makeup of a breakout-type.
Q: Why is it taken so long to sign our first-round picks?
It is never really a concern about rookies not yet signing their rookie deals. One way or another, they always get done. And as the Jaguars showed in 2015 with Dante Fowler Jr., injuries before rookie deals are signed don't have to create issues.
With that said, the Jaguars have two first-round picks who have yet to sign, while there are only eight first-rounders overall who haven't signed. None of the top-three picks, all quarterbacks, have officially signed their deals, however, so it isn't as if the Jaguars and Trevor Lawrence are lagging behind other teams who drafted quarterbacks early. The deals will get done eventually, which is the important part.
Q: Which player has the most pressure on them this year? Is it already Trevor?
A: I do think you can make an argument for Trevor Lawrence. There is pressure on him to produce and win games right away not because of where he was drafted to, but because of his status as a No. 1 overall pick and as a quarterback who was long ago appointed as a savior to whichever team drafted him. The expectations for Lawrence are sky high due to his reputation and star power, so there is immense pressure on him to meet those. If not, then expect for the wave of takes to flood about a quarterback who many have tabbed as the best to enter the NFL since Andrew Luck.
I think CJ Henderson has a lot of pressure on him to perform this year, too, along with Cam Robinson. Each player saw the Jaguars draft a prospect at their position in the second round, and while Tyson Campbell projects as a nickel in 2021 and Walker Little will be Robinson's backup as a rookie, the Jaguars have already made clear that they have backup plans in the event neither develops.
Q: Should the Jaguars trade James Robinson like Bleacher Report theorized?
They shouldn't. Robinson is the best bargain at running back in the entire NFL, having the talent of a top-15 back while on an undrafted rookie contract. Trading him away a year after he rushed for 1,000 yards and broke numerous records would be foolish considering how cheap it is to keep him, even if the Jaguars did draft a running back at No. 25 overall with Travis Etienne.
Along with that, Robinson is still the Jaguars' best running back until Etienne appears in the regular-season and stakes a claim that says otherwise. Trading Robinson before the Jaguars even know what they have in Etienne would be a mistake, even if Etienne is a first-round pick the Jaguars are clearly extremely high on. The Jaguars also have more expansive plans for Etienne than just running back, so the Jaguars have a need for Robinson on the roster.