Jacksonville Jaguars middle linebacker Myles Jack has a lot to prove after being one of the top-billed players in the 2016 NFL Draft and then doing little in his rookie season.
It isn’t Myles Jack’s fault that he didn’t do much during his rookie season. During a rennaissance year for Paul Posluszny at middle linebacker and Telvin Smith‘s stellar play at weakside linebacker, Jack was the odd man out for his rookie season.
For those unfamiliar with the Jags, this may have seemed odd. Jack was a top-five talent in the 2016 NFL Draft who only fell to the second round due to injury and some last-minute scares about his knee. But despite his talent, he was still just the third best linebacker on the team.
Now, entering his second season, the Jags are going to transition him to middle linebacker. It’s the role he was brought to Jacksonville to play and he will have to do it superbly. Filling Poz’s shoes after he held the role for the last six seasons will be no easy task.
The Jaguars decided to transition Poz to strongside linebacker, a role he has never played, in order to make Jack the Mike. Posluszny was professional about it but the transition could derail his stellar career as a thumper, classic linebacker. Jack’s upside is simply too good to be ignored, though.
But that means Jack will have to be stellar immediately. He is taking on a huge amount of responsibility and will be the leader of the defense, making all of the calls.
The transition has been going well per reports. Even Posluszny thinks he is going to be a great middle linebacker, saying, “He’s going to be a great middle linebacker for us. He has done a great job of taking command of the huddle and leading the defense from a communication perspective. We all know physically he has all the gifts. He has all the talents to make the plays on the field.”
But until Jack delivers in game situations, it is all a big bet. The Jags are betting on Jack being able to deliver at one of the most underrated – and yet most crucial – positions on defense. There is more to the middle linebacker position than simply being athletic. Jack also needs to be a leader and play the game on a cerebral level as the general of the defense.
More from Black and Teal
- Jacksonville Jaguars should welcome Derrick Henry into the kingdom
- Jaguars Rumors: Trent Baalke seems to be getting respect now
- Bold trade proposal has Jacksonville Jaguars shipping LT Cam Robinson
- Jaguars News: This division rival might be making a big move
- Former Jacksonville Jaguars S Johnathan Cyprien: “New Profession, Same Standards”
There’s no doubt that the upside is there. There’s no doubt that the Jags have to make a transition at some point, especially with the faster NFL game and Posluszny’s struggles in coverage. But that transition has to be perfect. Jack will have some growing pains, undoubtedly, but he has to be every bit as good as he was billed coming into the 2016 NFL Draft in order for the defense to not miss a beat.
And if he isn’t, Posluszny will be right next to him. While Poz is a professional and has been extremely supportive through the transition, there is an added pressure there that if Jack slips up, the Jags’ stud linebacker for the last half decade is right next to him and his shadow is not far away.
With a rebuilt defense from the secondary to the defensive line, whoever is calling the shots on defense will be responsible for a lot of the unit’s future success. Jack has to prove himself as capable of meeting that responsibility.