Jaguars Mailbag: Who Has Been a Surprise Offseason Standout?

We take more questions from fans in this week's Jaguars mailbag, including our top three surprise offseason standouts through OTAs and minicamp.
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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.

You can submit your questions every week by tweeting them to the Jaguar Report Twitter handle or by submitting them here.

This week we take questions on the surprise standouts, who we think the No. 4 WR is and more.

Q: Who has been the most impressive new addition in OTA’s? Free agency or draft. Try not to use Lawrence to make it a little harder

This is tough for a few reasons. For one, new additions along the defensive line can't really be judged right now due to the nature of what offseason practices consist of in terms of minimal contact. Secondly, there have been a number of new additions who have truthfully stood out. Travis Etienne has looked immensely comfortable as a receiver and Marvin Jones Jr. has been the clear safety blanket of the offense at times.

With this in mind, I am going with Shaquill Griffin. Griffin has been a revelation for the Jaguars both on and off the field. He has been the epitome of a vocal and emotional leader, already drawing immense respect from both his teammates and the coaching staff. He has also backed up his talk on the field, making numerous impressive breakups and looking like a natural fit in the new scheme during OTAs.

Q: I saw strength and conditioning coach Anthony Schlegel for the first time this week, what a character! What do you know about his background and what are your thoughts about having him as part of this Jags setup?

He is someone who worked under Meyer for a short time at Ohio State, so the former Buckeyes and NFL linebacker knows what Meyer expects. He is also a student of Mickey Marotti, the Assistant Athletic Director for Football Sports Performance at Ohio State and arguably the most important person in the program outside of Meyer during the former Buckeyes head coach's tenure.

In general I think it is smart to bring in someone with good knowledge of both what it takes to make it to the NFL level in terms of training and conditioning, as well as someone who is familiar with Meyer and the sports performance program he has planned out for the Jaguars. Plus, the Jaguars' roster has already noted positive gains from the program, so something must be working. All things considered, I think he is a positive addition.

Q: Does Walker Little have a chance to start in 2021?

Unless an injury happens to either Cam Robinson or Jawaan Taylor, I don't think so. And there is a chance Will Richardson Jr. would back up Taylor instead of Little, anyways. The Jaguars drafting Little as highly as they did tells you they see him as a starter sooner than later, but it is looking like it will be later when you consider the investment the Jaguars made in Robinson this offseason.

Robinson thus far has been the clear-cut No. 1 left tackle for the Jaguars this offseason, and the fact that he is the team's second highest-paid player in 2021 essentially drives home the fact that he is the present-day left tackle starter. I think Little will have a great chance to open 2022 as a starter, but 2021 is Robinson's year as long as he is healthy.

Q: Has any player or anyone else surprised you this offseason in a good way?

Chris Manhertz has genuinely stood out to me time and time again. When the Jaguars signed him, I didn't think much of the move since his career production and Meyer's own definition of his role made it appear that he would be purely a blocker. And while he wasn't exactly fed a large dosage of targets throughout OTAs and minicamp, it would be tough to say Manhertz didn't surprise in a positive way when he was given chances as a receiver this summer. He looked quicker than he did in 2020, while also bringing in several tough sideline grabs.

Secondly, I think Phillip Dorsett has stood out. Dorsett is another player who was seen as more of a fringe contributor when he signed, with many outside the Jaguars' building wondering if he was indeed a lock to make the Jaguars' 53-man roster due to his past injuries and lack of production. But throughout the offseason, Dorsett has answered the call over and over when given a chance. His deep speed is legit but his hands and body control are what have most impressed, as well as his ability to build quick chemistry with both Gardner Minshew II and Trevor Lawrence.

Finally, I think Jalen Camp has stood out in a big way for a receiver who was more or less labeled as a special teams player and project receiver once he was drafted in the sixth-round. His speed is legit and his hands have impressed over and over.

Q: Who do you see on the interior in pass-rush situations?

Roy Robertson-Harris will absolutely be one of the players. He was signed because he has the traits and past flashes of a player who can get after the quarterback from multiple alignments, including from the interior. Behind him, I think the Jaguars will start off with Jay Tufele, DaVon Hamilton, and Taven Bryan as the players getting reps inside when the Jaguars have multiple defensive tackles on the field in pass-rush situations. Malcom Brown should be a good bet to stay on the field and see some snaps as a pass-rusher as well.

Q: Is Collin Johnson guaranteed to be the No. 4 WR?

I don't think so. In fact, I think Phillip Dorsett is the leader in the clubhouse to be the team's top backup receiver. Johnson has more speed than he is given credit for, but Dorsett was handpicked by this regime to be a contributor, has experience with Brian Schottenheimer and Sanjay Lal and has impressed over and over throughout the offseason. This isn't to say Johnson hasn't made plays himself, but Dorsett has stood out a bit more and has been more of a featured piece.

As of today, I would say Johnson is the No. 5 receiver, with Jamal Agnew behind both him and Dorsett. Johnson should still see snaps in a rotation and in the event injuries take place, but I am hesitant to put him in front of Dorsett on the depth chart unless something changes during training camp.

Q: What could the Jaguars get for Gardner Minshew?

As of right this second? I am not sure they could get enough to justify trading him. I think earlier in the offseason the Jaguars could have gotten a fifth-round or even a fourth-round pick for the third-year quarterback, but that was before teams like the Eagles, Broncos, and the Panthers made additions at quarterback. Since the Jaguars stood pat and kept Minshew on the roster, the number of potential suitors has essentially dwindled down to zero.

The upside is that a player's trade market is fluid. Just because it wouldn't make sense for other teams to look into Minshew today doesn't mean they won't want to when August rolls around and either injuries or poor performance makes them look at alternative quarterback options.

Q: Does the Travis Etienne pick look better now than it did on draft night now that we know their plans?

I personally think so, even though it was already clear from the second the pick was announced that Etienne would play a big role as a pass-catcher. Urban Meyer has always leaned on speedy space players to take handoffs, screens, drags and other concepts, so Etienne was an expected and logical fit even before the draft.

With this in mind, the Jaguars stating over and over again that they don't see Etienne as just a running back does improve the value of the pick, which was the biggest knock on it at the time. While one could ask why the Jaguars didn't just draft a receiver, it is important to note that Etienne will play both roles. Him being asked to function as an extension of the passing game only increases his value as a player. The pick will always receive criticism nationally and on social media, but it is one that looks better today than in April.