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Jaguars Stock Report: Cooper Hodges, Gregory Junior on the Rise After Cowboys Win

Which Jaguars are seeing their stock rise and which are falling after the preseason opener?

The Jacksonville Jaguars are riding high entering the second week of the preseason.

There wasn't much to be upset with after their 28-23 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday, with the Jaguars' starting offense scoring a touchdown while the starting defense forced two punts. The backup units then held on for the win, with both the second- and third offenses leading scoring drives. 

“I guess some good and some bad, obviously. Start with the good, how the offense rebounded and was able to put the ball in the end zone after the special teams play. I think defensively, too, to come away with some takeaways right there," Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said on Saturday.

"I think some of the young guys in the second half, our quarterback, Nate, did a nice job of stepping in and making some plays. Just coming up big when we needed those guys to make plays. Overall, a lot of things to clean up but there is some positive that we’ll take a look at and build on.”

So, which Jaguars have their stocks rising after the first preseason game, and which players may have some ground to make up? We break it down below. 

Stock Up

The tight ends: The Jaguars could make the tight end room a focal point of their offense on a weekly basis, showing more 13 personnel looks in a limited sample size vs. the Cowboys than we had seen from them in the past. The Jaguars really do have a perfect storm brewing at the skill positions that will allow them to throw different looks at defenses, with the tight ends playing a key role. 

Evan Engram is a willing blocker from several alignments and can also split out and function as a slot receiver, giving the Jaguars mismatches in the passing game. Luke Farrell looks primed to excel in a blocking role, with Brenton Strange's blocking ability and athleticism allowing him to play on the line of scrimmage alongside Farrell. Combine this with the fact that the Jaguars now have a wide receiver in Calvin Ridley who can dominate as an isolated receiver on the outside and the tight end room could give them unlimited potential on offense.

CB Gregory Junior: It feels like a lock for Gregory Junior to have a spot on the 53-man roster after the training camp he has had. You can also throw in the fact that he was solid in coverage against Dallas, allowing zero catches and just one target in over 20 coverage snaps, and was able to record both a forced fumble and a fumble recovery on two different plays. Junior has been a standout success story so far and the preseason continued the trend. 

WR Seth Williams and WR Jacob Harris: The Jaguars will have a lot of tough decisions to make at wide receiver. The simple fact is they will be cutting talented players in two weeks, with a number of their wide receivers seeming like strong candidates to be picked up on waivers. Throw in the fact that the Jaguars have four receiver spots already secured and potentially a fifth in sixth-round draft pick Parker Washington, and the Jaguars have a number of players fighting for a sixth spot in the receiver room. 

Two receivers who have stood out throughout both training camp and the first game of the preseason have been Seth Williams and Jacob Harris, with Williams catching two passes for 23 yards and Harris standing out with a stellar 42-yard catch, the biggest play of the day for either team. Williams showed good hands and Harris looked like a legit jump ball specialist. What each does in Detroit this week will say a lot.

CB Christian Braswell: The Jaguars have a number of young cornerbacks fighting for a spot on the roster, but one who simply looks like he belongs already is sixth-round cornerback Christian Braswell. The Rutgers product missed most of the first two weeks of camp with a hamstring injury but has looked like a potential Day 3 gem since hitting the practice field. He continued this vs. Dallas with a strong day in coverage and one interception.

OG Cooper Hodges: Another Day 3 pick who has made a big impression in Jacksonville early on is clearly seventh-round guard Cooper Hodges. The college right tackle has been impressive as the second-team right guard behind Brandon Scherff throughout training camp, looking like he belongs with NFL-ready strength and physicality. This carried over to Saturday, too, with Hodges having legit flashes in both the run and pass game. He simply looks like an NFL guard and isn't as far off as anyone would expect a seventh-round guard to be this early. 

QB Nathan Rourke: This goes without saying. It is tough to say Rourke will have a chance to battle C.J. Beathard for the No. 2 quarterback role, but the young passer was electric vs. Dallas and showed that he belongs at this level in some capacity. The Jaguars found an exciting and talented third quarterback to develop, something they didn't have last year. 

Stock Down

RB Snoop Conner: In a game where the Jaguars had three different running backs find success on the ground, Snoop Conner had some tough sledding. He was the fifth running back to enter the game behind Travis Etienne, Tank Bigsby, JaMycal Hasty, and D'Ernest Johnson but looked like he lacked the extra gear the other four backs on the roster had. He did pick up 21 yards on a screen, but he also averaged just 2.1 yards per carry on seven carries and didn't have a carry go for more than four yards. Add in a fumbled exchange between Conner and Nathan Rourke and it wasn't the most impressive outing for a running back who is fighting for his spot on the roster.

WR Kevin Austin Jr.: The Jaguars got the entire depth chart involved in the passing game on Saturday, throwing passes to 20 different players. Only two players saw more than two targets in the spread out attack: Kevin Austin Jr. and Brenton Strange, each who got three targets. Austin didn't see any of his targets convert into catches, though, with one potential drop in the mix. Considering other receivers impressed, it wasn't ideal for Austin to not stand out vs. Dallas.

OLB K'Lavon Chaisson: There is some context needed with K'Lavon Chaisson's role in the Jaguars' defense. He typically lines up to the strong side of the offensive formation when he is in on base defensive snaps, which means he sees more tight end chips and running backs in pass protection. But on a night when several other pass-rushers stood out, it didn't seem like Chaisson had the kind of performance against a backup offensive line that would be expected from a fourth-year pass-rusher.