Jaguars Week 13 Rookie Report: Depth of Rookie Class Shines in Loss to Buccaneers
The Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8) have gotten significant contributions from this year’s crop of draft picks – varying from starters to key role players. Let’s take a look at how the Jaguars' stars of the future fared in Sunday’s 28-11 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
DE Josh Allen (Round 1, 7th overall)
In 44 snaps, Allen contributed 4 tackles and a sack, in a game where the defense struggled to stymie another multi-faceted offense. Still considered a favorite for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, the Kentucky product now has 9 sacks on the season, further distancing himself from San Francisco’s Nick Bosa in a race that is sure to come down to the wire.
After seeing an uptick in snaps on Sunday, expect that trend to continue, as the team looks to get their talented rookie as much as experience as possible heading into next season.
RT Jawaan Taylor (Round 2, 35th overall)
Taylor, who has looked tremendously fluid all season up to this point, struggled against a formidable Tampa Bay pass rush. Early in the game, he was beat of the edge by Shaq Barrett, who strip-sacked Nick Foles, which led to a Devin White touchdown.
Aside from the occasional blunder, Taylor has looked fantastic and will be a pillar on the edge for years to come. When he does endure his few lapses, they are mostly footwork related, which is easy to address. He will need to bounce back next week, however, with an equally potent Los Angeles Chargers pass rush coming to TIAA Bank Field.
TE Josh Oliver (Round 3, 69th overall)
Oliver was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 18 with a back injury.
LB Quincy Williams (Round 3th, 98 overall)
After reclaiming his starting role last week, Williams went on to play 73 snaps against Tampa Bay, contributing one stop on the afternoon. It has been a turbulent rookie season for Williams, who has dealt with the highs and lows of starting, demotion, and dealing with injury. Williams will need to be more consistent on defense if he wants to hold onto his starting role in 2020.
RB Ryquell Armstead (Round 5, 140th overall)
Armstead played 8 offensive snaps against the Buccaneers, but failed to appear on the stat sheet. Leonard Fournette was the Jags’ lone ball carrier, registering 14 totes in the contest.
QB Gardner Minshew (Round 6, 178th overall)
Starting the game behind struggling Nick Foles once again, Minshew got the nod in the second half. The rookie gave the offense a bit of a shot in the arm, completing 16-of-27 passes for 147 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. On Monday, Jaguars coach Doug Marrone announced that Minshew will be the team’s starting quarterback for the rest of the season.
Minshew will have a chance to build on his earlier success over the next four weeks, proving to coaches that he is the franchise’s quarterback of the future.
DT Dontavious Russell (Round 7, 235th overall)
The burly defensive tackle was a healthy scratch on Sunday. Russell appeared to have finally carved out a role against the Titans, contributing 26 snaps, but it seems he is destined for the inactive list for the remainder of the season.
RB Devine Ozigbo (UDFA)
After leap-frogging fellow running back Tyler Ervin for a spot on the 46-man game day roster, the undrafted rookie appeared in his fifth NFL game, but played exclusively on special teams. Third in the pecking order behind Fournette and Armstead, the trend is likely to continue next week, though he may begin to earn some reps at the tail-end of a lost season.
S Andrew Wingard (UDFA)
Starting in place of an injured Ronnie Harrison, Wingard had an active afternoon. The Wyoming alum produced 6 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble in his second consecutive game of extended snaps. The undrafted rookie looked remarkably improved with a week to prepare. Already the teams top special teams performer, look for Wingard to figure into the defensive plans more over the next four weeks. He has the ability to became the all-important third safety on defense in 2020.
WR Michael Walker (UDFA)
Walker played in his fourth NFL game against Tampa Bay. The Boston College alum saw time as the primary kick returner, returning 1 kick for 25 yards, and 7 snaps on offense. He caught one pass for six yards.
LS Matthew Orzech (UDFA)
The 24-year-old undrafted free agent appeared in his twelfth game as the Jaguars’ long snapper.