The Jacksonville Jaguars have compiled plenty of talent on the defensive side of the ball, but will it all come together to make up a top 10 unit?
We’ve heard it before about them, but this is the year the Jacksonville Jaguars will finally not be terrible.
At least that’s what you would be led to believe if you are following the immense amount of hype building around the Jaguars defense.
It’s understandable if you look at the defensive roster on paper and envision the collection of players together. For two straight offseasons, the Jaguars got arguably the two most coveted defensive free agents (Malik Jackson and A.J. Bouye), they added the best defensive prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft (Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack), and they are seeing some of their other draft picks starting to emerge (Telvin Smith, Aaron Colvin).
Elliot Harrison of NFL Network recently went out on a limb with several bold predictions for the upcoming season, and he’s seemingly been sucked it by the Jaguars hype again.
"Jacksonville Jaguars: They finish with a top-10 scoring defense for the first time in 10 years.Contrary to what you might think, the Jaguars can’t suck forever. There is too much talent on this team for them to go 3-13 again in 2017. That includes an excellent mix of youth and experience, with a no-nonsense head coach (Doug Marrone) and an even more no-nonsense EVP (Tom Coughlin). Veteran free-agent signee Calais Campbell should add as much to the locker room as he does to the defensive line. Fellow signee A.J. Bouye played like one of the best corners in the league last year with the Texans … because he was one of the best cornerbacks in the league last year. Newcomer Barry Church has been a steady performer in Dallas for several seasons. Jalen Ramsey enters Year 2. Myles Jack is the wild card here. If he plays to Ramsey’s level last year, look out. Drafting Leonard Fournette means a healthier running game and a less-winded defense. We’ll all take 8-8 this year."
Going through the list of starters on defense, it’s hard too be extremely worried about any of the spots. Paul Posluszny is still going to have a role, but he’s going to be a subpackage player and have significantly less snaps. Dante Fowler Jr. is still a question mark, but Yannick Ngakoue was a solid edge rusher last year and Calais Campbell should help the pass rush. Myles Jack barely played during his rookie season and he should be educated enough at this point to take over at middle linebacker and be effective and Jalen Ramsey might already be one of the best cornerbacks in the game.
Sure the Jaguars could use a good option for their fourth cornerback and we all want to see Tashaun Gipson play up to his contract level at free safety, but those are nitpicks. The Jaguars have no excuse to be a poor defense in 2017.
Top 10? Maybe not, but top half of the league should be a lock.