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Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

4 Jacksonville Jaguars Deserve a Place in the NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2024

By meerna Jul11,2024
4 Jacksonville Jaguars Deserve a Place in the NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2024

Every year, the NFL creates a list of the 100 best players from the previous season. It was just announced that the 2024 version will premiere on Monday, July 22. There will be nine episodes, each revealing 10 players. The numbers 10 through 1 will air Friday, August 2, live on NFL Network. Last year, the Jacksonville Jaguars had just one selection, Trevor Lawrence.

Lawrence came in at No. 96 despite being a key reason the Jags won the AFC South and made it to the divisional round of the playoffs. It will be interesting to see how many of their players make it through the 2024 draft.

Even though the Jags finished the season 9-7 and missed out on the playoffs in 2023, many of their players, including Steezy Trev, were in the spotlight regularly, so several of them should make it into the top 100. These four in particular should be pleased with their chances to make the cut.

In 2022, the Jaguars needed a linebacker, so they turned to free agents for help, ultimately signing Foyesade Oloukun. Drafted in the sixth round by the Atlanta Falcons in 2022, the Yale alum wasted no time turning what was previously a weakness into a strength, finishing his freshman season in Jacksonville with 184 tackles and two sacks.

Oluokun was even better in 2023, totaling 173 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and his first-ever interception return for a touchdown. The Missouri native was set to become a free agent in 2024, but because management was so happy with him, they went ahead and gave him a three-year extension this offseason.

Last year, 15 linebackers were named to the Top 100, but it’s worth noting that the league lumps outside linebackers and off-linebackers together. Either way, Oluokun did enough in 2024 to make an appearance.

After the Urban Meyer era, the Jags had some holes to fill, so they went on a spending spree in free agency. Most of the players they signed became major contributors, and several of them are still with the team two years later. One of them, tight end Evan Engram, enjoyed a career revival in Jacksonville.

A first-round pick in 2017 by the New York Giants, Engram has regularly flashed his playmaking skills. But his time in the Big Apple has been marred by mental lapses. His downfalls in particular have become a cause for concern. When the former Ole Miss Rebel standout became a free agent, the Giants let him go. Jacksonville swooped in and signed him.

The Jags wanted him to sign a long-term deal, but he opted for a one-year deal to prove himself. He was right to bet on himself, as he set a career-high in catches in a season and broke several team records. Although negotiations dragged on for a while, the center fielder ultimately landed a top-market contract in 2023. He then went on to have another season of greatness.

Engram broke multiple records he had set the year before, with his 114 receptions being the second most in a single season in franchise history, behind Jimmy Smith’s 116 in 1999. Although the Georgia native was not a first-round Pro Bowler after 2023, he was ultimately selected as a reserve.

Last year, three tight ends made the NFL Top 100: Mark Andrews, George Kittle and Travis Kelce. With Andrew set to miss most of the 2023 season, Engram could join Kittle and Kelce in no doubt earning a nomination.

While Foye Oluokun has been the Jaguars’ most consistent defender over the past two seasons, Josh Hines-Allen, formerly known as the better Josh Allen, has been the most dominant in the 2023 season.

Allen had 10.5 sacks and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie, but struggled with consistency the next three years. He was occasionally devastating, but he wasn’t as consistent as the Jaguars’ brass would have liked. That’s why they let him finish out his rookie contract before rewarding him. He kept his word in 2023, and then some.

In addition to setting a new franchise record for sacks in a season with 17.5, Allen’s 90 pressures tied him for sixth in the league among pass rushers. He held up his end of the bargain, so he wanted the Jags to hold up theirs. It took them a while, but they eventually gave him a huge contract extension that reflected his status as one of the league’s best edge rushers.

But as productive as Allen was last year, he’s not resting on his laurels. Next on his to-do list was changing his name to honor his family. With that box checked, he’ll focus on becoming a Defensive Player of the Year candidate and helping Jacksonville reach the Super Bowl. Along the way, he should make his first appearance in the NFL’s top 100.

Trevor Lawrence should have a good chance at a second straight top-100 pick in 2024. Sure, he’s coming off an injury-plagued season, but he was a big part of the reason the Jags started the season 8-3. When he got hurt, the team fell apart.

You could cite Lawrence’s 2023 numbers as a reason he shouldn’t appear on the countdown. That’s what his critics have done, but the truth is his supporting cast has been far from ideal. Plus, his defense has been among the worst in the league, and injuries have exposed the Jags’ overall lack of depth.

With an improved supporting cast, Lawrence should reclaim his spot as one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks. For now, a top-100 appearance will suffice.

More Jaguars analysis here:

By meerna

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