With free agency on the horizon, it is as good a time as any to take an in-depth look at the performance of each position group on the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013. As a standard metric to start the conversation, Pro Football Focus grades were used to get an initial look at how each player fared in the 2013 regular season. Specific information about how Pro Football Focus comes up with their grades is available in their FAQ.
Today we take a look at defensive end, one of the primary needs for the Jacksonville Jaguars this offseason. We heard a lot about the LEO position being a big part of Gus Bradley’s defense, and that role was filled by Jason Babin and Andre Branch in 2013. Additionally, Tyson Alualu made a switch from tackle to end partly to hide his lack of pass rushing ability.
|Sacks||Hits||Hurries||Tackles||Pass Rush||Run Def.||Overall|
There aren’t too many surprises in this table, as the numbers seem to match up with what we saw on the field. If you’re thinking the math doesn’t add up for Babin’s overall grade, it’s because he had a whopping 11 penalties that dragged it down. He has some value as a pass rusher, but he needs to be more disciplined and stop hurting the team with dumb penalties. The Jaguars aren’t cap-strapped so they don’t need to cut Babin, but he likely only plays one more season in Jacksonville.
Tyson Alualu is tougher to grade because he really wasn’t asked to do what a traditional 4-3 defensive end does. Alualu wasn’t much of a threat to rush the passer, but he did a decent job of being disruptive and holding the point. Like Babin, Alualu is serviceable and has value until an upgrade can be found.
Andre Branch showed significant improvement in Bradley’s scheme, but he still has a lot of flaws holding him back as a pass rusher. Most of his sacks were manufactured, and he doesn’t have nearly the bend or dip to consistently get to the quarterback. He’s young and athletic, so let’s see how much progress he makes with this staff for a second year in a row.
Jeremy Mincey never really had a role in this defense, so his release after missing some team meetings wasn’t very shocking. He wasn’t particularly effective before being cut, and his absence opened up some playing time for Ryan Davis. In his short stint, Davis showed some upside as a pass rusher and he should get plenty of chances in training camp to break the rotation.
Overall, the Jaguars didn’t get nearly enough pressure on the quarterback over the course of the season. A considerable upgrade is needed if they want to compete anytime soon.
2013 Position Grade, Defensive End- D+
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