We all know the Jaguar’s Defensive Line needs to tighten up for the Jaguars to get competitive. A little more pressure on the QB and a much stronger front to shut down the run and we are good to go for developing a very stingy defense.
Here is how our guys are grading out according to Pro Football Focus:
Player Position Run Stop Pass Rush Salary
Roy Miller DT -8.2 -6.2 $2,200,000
Sen’Derrick Marks DT -5.2 +13.7 (#6) $1,500,000
Tyson Alualu DE +3.7 -15.3 $5,600,000
Andre Branch DE +5.0 (#13) -5.1 $1,275,000
Jason Babin DE -3.4 +3.0 (#15) $5,800,000
As you look this over, you see the run stopping up the middle is coming from the linebackers and the pass rush is coming from Sen’Derrick Marks and Jason Babin. So let’s see who is coming available in free agency that can help. Playing David Caldwell, we have to limit our search to 27 years old and younger. David may change and get older veterans but that isn’t how he operated in the past, so for now, we will stay with youth.
Defensive Tackle Free Agents:
Top Choice: Sen’Derrick Marks. Yes, that’s right, we only signed Sen’Derrick for one year at $1,500,000 and he is free to move on. He is 26 years old and healthy. Our first priority needs to be resigning Sen’Derrick and it will probably cost more than $1,500,000 per year. Good thing Gus Bradley is the coach so we might have some loyalty advantage in keeping him.
Good choice: Vance Walker from Oakland. Vance is 26 years old making $2,000,000 per year. Pro Football Focus has him rated as +0.9 pass rush and +2.7 run stopping. Vance was a 7th round selection in 2009 and has been in almost every game from 2010 on. He was drafted by Atlanta and hit free agency last year where Oakland gave him a one year $2,000,000 deal. Through 13 games in 2013 he has 3 sacks, 4 QB hits and 25 QB hurries. These are Jason Babin type numbers but from the DT position. He is a great target acquisition for us in 2014. Young, healthy, experienced and a good run stopper.
Possible home run choice: Henry Melton from Chicago. Now this is a risky choice but one David Caldwell may want to look at. Henry Melton is 27 years old and was drafted in the 4th round in 2009 by the Chicago Bears. In 2011 he had 7 sacks as a defensive tackle and for the 2012 season he had 32 tackles and 6 sacks and made the pro bowl. Pro Football Focus rated him as +15.8 pass rush and -1.5 run stopper. Chicago hit him with the franchise tag for the 2013 season and his salary jumped to $8,500,000. In the third game of the season, he tore his ACL and went on season ending injured reserve. The question is how well will he recover and how much will he cost. With Jeremy Mincey, Tyson Alualu and Jason Babin all making over $5,000,000, the debate is whether Henry Melton would be worth more to the team than one of those three. His recovery would need to be assessed but if he is in shape the middle of our defensive line would be monstrous.