Jacksonville Jaguars Rookie Roster Battle – Defensive Tackle
The 2015 NFL Draft is under wraps and the Jacksonville Jaguars have 8 new players to show for it. Unfortunately, first round pick Dante Fowler Jr. will be sitting out the 2015 season with an unfortunate knee injury sustained during rookie mini-camp, but the Jaguars still have 7 new players who could contribute in 2015.
Over the past 2 seasons, draft selections came in with an almost guaranteed roster spot. In fact, most draft picks in 2013 and 2014 had a clear path to the starting job. Thanks to sound drafting and quality free agent acquisitions, general manager David Caldwell finally has the roster in a respectable enough state that rookies need to come in and actually earn roster spots.
Consequently, in this series we’ll analyze each draft selection and see how the positional depth chart shakes out with their addition.
After looking at second round pick T.J. Yeldon, third round guard A.J. Cann, 4th round safety James Sample, and 5th round pick Rashad Greene, let’s turn our attention now to sixth round pick Michael Bennett.
The Jacksonville Jaguars biggest strength in 2014 was probably their defensive line, as evidenced by the 45 sacks they accumulated over the course of the season. Still, the team needed a more consistent edge rushing presence, as well as youth and depth along the defensive front. Obviously the team went all in with that sentiment by taking defensive end/LEO Dante Fowler Jr. with their first round pick, but unfortunately he won’t be seeing the field in 2015.
The Jaguars didn’t ignore the defensive line during the rest of the draft however, as they selected Ohio State defensive tackle Michael Bennett in the sixth round. So where does he fit? Here’s the depth chart from 2014 along with stats and grades from Pro Football Focus.
[table id=52 /]
Dec 18, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Sen
Like T.J. Yeldon, Bennett appears to be one of the rookies with a very obvious role early on. Sen’Derrick Marks was one of the best pass rushing defensive tackles in the entire NFL last season before tearing his ACL in the last game of the year. He should be ready to go to start the season, but he certainly won’t be getting a very heavy workload right away. So where will his snaps go?
The next guy up is Ziggy Hood – a late free agent signing in 2014 – and he was serviceable if unspectacular last year. Roy Miller and Abry Jones are rotating in during rushing downs, and after that there really isn’t much depth.
I included Ryan Davis here just because he’s used more as an interior rusher, but he’s moved around quite a bit on the defensive line and really should be listed as defensive lineman rather than just a defensive tackle.
Bennett should get his number called early in the season as someone who rotates in at the three technique spot to spell Marks. Bennett fell in the draft solely because his size limits his positional versatility, but that doesn’t matter for the Jaguars since he is a perfect fit at a position of need.
2015 Defensive Tackle depth chart
- Sen’Derrick Marks
- Roy Miller
- Michael Bennett
- Ziggy Hood
- Abry Jones
Next: Bennett Putting Draft Behind Him
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