5 Jaguars Who Could Make Their First Pro Bowl in 2020
Despite a 6-10 record in 2019, the Jacksonville Jaguars still managed to send three players to the Pro Bowl in Orlando with defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Josh Allen and wide receiver DJ Chark. Can they find similar success in 2020?
This year's Pro Bowl is set to take place in Las Vegas and while the Jaguars are projected by most to be among the weaker teams in the NFL in 2020, there are still countless candidates in Duval who could make their way to the NFL's annual All-Star game.
Jacksonville will, of course, be without two of their most recently frequent Pro Bowl players in cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive lineman Calais Campbell, each of whom has made the Pro Bowl every season since 2017 and each of whom has been traded by the Jaguars since October.
But Jacksonville still has a number of worthy candidates for this year's Pro Bowl. Allen and Chark are obvious candidates to repeat their Pro Bowl appearances, but Jacksonville also has several members of its locker room who are in the right situation to potentially make their first-ever Pro Bowls in 2020.
So, which Jaguars could find themselves in their first Pro Bowls during the event's first year in Vegas? We pick out the five most likely candidates to consider:
C Brandon Linder
It is likely a bit surprising that Brandon Linder has never made a Pro Bowl considering the fact he has played at a high level every year since being drafted in the third round in 2014, but it is the reality. The anchor of Jacksonville's offensive line for the last six seasons, Linder has been one of the NFL's most consistent interior blockers, but he has failed to garner much national recognition in large part due to Jacksonville's lack of success. When you are only on one winning team in your career, you are more likely than not going to be looked over. If Linder can stay healthy, and if the Jaguars can win some games, maybe he can make 2020 his year.
"Since entering the league in 2014, Linder ranks 11th among qualifying guards and centers in overall grade, and he ranks fourth among centers since taking over the starting job there in 2016, trailing only Jason Kelce, Alex Mack and Travis Frederick," PFF wrote earlier this offseason.
K Josh Lambo
While Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo was named to the Associated Press All-Pro Second Team in 2019, the steady special teamer is still looking to make his first-ever Pro Bowl. In 2019, Lambo posted the highest FG percentage (97.1) in the NFL among kickers with at least 15 attempts and tied for the fourth-highest connection rate in a single season in NFL history among kickers with at least 20 attempts. His 33 made FGs were the second-most in the league in 2019 and the most in a single season in franchise history. Lambo was also the only player in the NFL to connect on 100 percent of his FGs of at least 50 yards (minimum four attempts) last season, making him one of the most dependable kickers in the entire league. If he can continue his hot pace, he should at least earn consideration next season.
RT Jawaan Taylor
One of the best rookie offensive linemen in last year's rookie class, Jawaan Taylor is set to once again be slotted in as Jacksonville's starting right tackle. Taylor was impressive throughout his rookie season against a plethora of talented pass-rushers, and he will get the same chance in 2020 as he faces off against the likes of Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, Danielle Hunter and several other top edge defenders. If Taylor can once again hold his own he could have a decent chance at the Pro Bowl considering last year's crop of tackles was less than impressive with Taylor Lewan, Eric Fisher and Alejandro Villanueva.
"He’s long, he’s athletic and he plays with the tenacity that you love from a tackle. I am very excited to get to work with him at right tackle," offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said earlier this offseason. "He can run, he can pull, he can get out there on screens, he’s physical in the running game and he can pass protect, he’s got great feet. He’s got every quality that you want in an offensive tackle and the more experience he gets and handing some of the movement up front, the better he’s going to be. I think that he’s one of the best right tackles in the game athletically and the more he plays and the more he sees, the better he is going to get."
RB Leonard Fournette
While Leonard Fournette had arguably the most productive season of his career in 2019, a lack of touchdowns kept him out of the Pro Bowl, preventing him from making his first All-Star game. He ended up posting career-highs in rushing yards (1152), yards per carry average (4.3), receptions (76), and receiving yards (522 yards). The only area Fournette didn't take a big step forward in was touchdowns, scoring only three on the year.
Under new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, however, Fournette could have a chance to reverse his fortunes when it comes to finding the end zone. Fournette had a nose for the end zone his first two years but poor play-calling and execution hampered him and the rest of the offense last season. Under Gruden's watch, Jacksonville's red zone offense should see a big jump in production. With Fournette once again set to be a workhorse back in 2019, a better performance in the red zone could land him in the Pro Bowl.
LB Myles Jack
Myles Jack has had a rough go at it since being moved to middle linebacker at the start of the 2018 season, recording just four tackles for loss and just a handful of turnovers (two interceptions, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery) since he made the switch. Moving into 2020 however, Jack is slated to start at weak side linebacker, which is considered to be much more of a playmaker position than middle linebacker. For evidence, just look at the production and Pro Bowl accolades from ex-weak side linebacker Telvin Smith. With Jack at a position where he no longer has to do the thinking for the entire defense and can instead just play, there is a chance he could have a bounce-back year and earn himself a trip to Vegas.
"I've talked to Myles. He feels very comfortable over there. I think he feels a little bit more comfortable instead of making the calls. He's being able to listen," Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash said earlier this month. "I really look forward to him being at the Will spot where, you know, that's a really a great playmaking position. Telvin [Smith] did a great job with that in the past and now obviously we think Myles can be a great will linebacker also."