[Editor note: This might be Zoltan’s best article. Please give it a read!]
Terry and I will start a series here on Black & Teal to give a deep look and expectation of the ’10 Jaguars roster. We will look into each area of the offense, defense and special teams. Of course Part 1 cannot be anywhere else except the defensive line!
The defensive line will be in the spotlight the whole season and probably decide not only how the team performs but also the fate of Jack Del Rio. After drafting 4 defensive lineman with our first 4 picks, how can we expect anything else?
14 sacks last year rang out loud and clear and Wayne Weaver wanted change, Ted Monachino went and Joe Cullen arrived, and soon after the Jaguars made a big splash in free agency with the signing of former 2-time pro-bowl DE Aaron Kampman. He is coming from off of an ACL tear so in the first couple of games the Jaguars may limit his playtime. After that move, the Jaguars brought back Reggie Hayward, considered the best DE of the Jaguars, who had a very short ’09 season because he suffer an injury which landed him on IR after week 1. And then the draft. Gene Smith selected 4 D-lineman all with a reputation of going after the QB. Even the DT are expected to get sacks because both Tyson Alualu and D’Anthony Smith have that kind of ability. The 2 DEs selected in the 5th round (Larry Hart and Austen Lane) are both considered sack specialist (both recorded 20 sacks each in their last 2 campaign with their teams). Then Gene Smith made roster moves on Monday releasing long time icon and multiple Pro Bowler “Big” John Henderson (officially ending the Stroud-Henderson age in Jacksonville); and Montavious Stanley.
After all of these moves, (and the jump) let’s see how this unit will look.
Probable starters: Aaron Kampman (RDE) and Derrick Harvey (LDE).
Reserves: Gene loves to keep his draft choices so can we expect Austin Lane (LDE backup) and Larry Hart (RDE backup) are locks if they pass the camp battles. I also consider Reggie Hayward as a RDE backup as well. I think his place can be challenged, but as an insurance policy I would like him in the 53 roster for 2 reasons: A: If Kampman’s ACL does not recover that well or that quick as predicted; he could still present a quality DE in the RDE position. B: I have some issues with the Larry Hart pick. I see him more of a 3-4 OLB then a true 4-3 DE (I hope he will prove me wrong). Even the Jaguars front office said he was drafted for the role Quentin Groves was to play which was the designated pass rusher. That role has been hard to fill and is a big expectation placed on a 5th round rookie. I expect players like Bryan Smith and Julius Williams compete for a roster spot and if one of them can make the team, the other goes to the practice squad.