Telvin Smith’s Play is Encouraging for Jacksonville’s Future
The Jacksonville Jaguars found a gem in rookie linebacker Telvin Smith. He’s been playing at a high level since stepping into the linebacker lineup and he’s managing to gain some attention for his hard work. The good guys over at Pro Football Focus recently posted about Smith’s emergence.
Here’s what they had to say about the rookie:
"After starting his rookie campaign slowly with a -5.3overall grade as a rotational player in the first six games, Smith seems to have turned the corner. Abreakout performance (+5.6 overall) in Week 7 combined with the loss of starting linebacker Paul Posluszny, has given Smith a larger role since, and he hasn’t disappointed. In his last five games Smith has a cumulative +10.7 overall grade, eighth-best among all NFL linebackers over that period of time.Smith has been particularly strong in coverage, ranking second among qualifying 4-3 outside linebackers by allowing just 0.61 Yards per Cover Snap, conceding 25 catches for 146 yards and one touchdown, while also bagging an interception and batting two passes."
Losing Paul Posluszny made us all hesitant as the depth at linebacker seemed worrisome to most of us who pay attention to the Jags. Smith’s emergence has largely made our concerns unfounded and turned the linebacker unit into one of the better strengths of a young, fast defense.
PFF’s piece came out a few days ago, so they can’t tack on the 10 more tackles the linebacker was in on against the New York Giants. He was all over the field once again, proving to be a reliable presence no matter what the offense was doing.
It’s great to have the young player suiting up for the Jags each week and he embodies the future of the organization. The Jaguars have managed to find some great young players this season (notably at linebacker and wide receiver) and if they continue to emerge through the year, the Jaguars future looks much brighter.
For all the heat the Gus Bradley has been getting lately, he’s coaching a very young team and those inexperienced players are beginning to over-perform their draft position (if they had one) and they will continue to get better under his guidance. Kudos to GM Dave Caldwell for finding good players even in late rounds, like Smith.