Jacksonville Jaguars Free Agency: A stopgap defensive end?


Despite putting up a fairly impressive looking sack total in 2014 (45 total, good for 6th in the NFL), acquiring a legitimate edge rusher was a priority for the Jacksonville Jaguars this offseason. Chris Clemons was signed in free agency, but he’s much closer to the end of his career than his prime, and former 2nd round pick Andre Branch has been underwhelming since being drafted in 2012.

The Jaguars were hoping they found at least a part of the solution when they drafted Dante Fowler Jr. with the third overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, but they won’t get a chance to see what Fowler can do until 2016 thanks to a devastating knee injury in the first practice of rookie minicamp. We’ve talked about how the Jaguars can try to make up for the potential production lost due to Fowler’s injury, but there really isn’t much hope for the Jaguars to make a big leap in production with what they have on the roster. Outside of Ryan Davis, there isn’t a player that has the chance to breakout and become a pass rushing force.

What about in free agency? The dust has settled and all the big names have signed, but are there any “hail mary” guys out there who could potentially contribute? Marc Sessler over at NFL.com highlighted the top remaining defensive free agents, and one guy in particular caught my eye – former Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2nd round pick Da’Quan Bowers:

"Da’Quan Bowers, end/tackle: The former Bucs mega-bust tried out for the Saints in May but left without a deal. Injuries, poor conditioning and mediocrity discolored his four seasons in Tampa, with the former second-round pick tallying just seven sacks. Around The NFL’s Gregg Rosenthal arguably offers more to an NFL defense than Bowers, unless the 25-year-old shows a fire we’ve never seen during his 10 league starts."

If you look back at some of the mock drafts back in 2011, Bowers was initially thought of as a top 5 pick before his knee injury slid him down the board. Peter King had him slotted at number 4 in his mock draft, and Todd McShay and Mel Kiper both had Bowers as the number one overall pick early in the pre-draft process.

Fears about Bower’s injury history have come to fruition in his career so far, as he has essentially done nothing in his 4 years since coming into the league. While it might be worth a shot to sign Bowers to a “prove-it” deal, the fact that such a high-pedigree 2nd-round pick is still looking for a job is quite alarming. I don’t expect the Jaguars to bring in Bowers, but the move wouldn’t be completely shocking.

Next: Sanders out, who's next?

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