Jacksonville Jaguars position-by-position breakdown: Defensive line

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 17: Calais Campbell /

Part eight of breaking down each positional group for the Jacksonville Jaguars heading into 2018.

Perhaps the strongest unit on the team is up in the analysis of the Jacksonville Jaguars roster: the defensive line. The line itself produced three pro bowlers and a first-team All-Pro.

Let’s examine the group for the Jaguars: how it looks right now, and what it could look like for 2018:

As it stands right now

Edge: Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Dante Fowler Jr., Dawuane Smoot, Carroll Phillips

Interior: Malik Jackson, Abry Jones, Marcell Dareus, Eli Ankou

On the ends, you would be hard-pressed to find a better duo than Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue. In his first season with the Jaguars, all Campbell did was rack up 14.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and garner first-team All-Pro honors. Ngakoue, proving to be a third-round gem, didn’t let Campbell destroy quarterbacks alone, and had 12 sacks and forced 6 fumbles. Also, not to be forgotten in a rotational role, Dante Fowler Jr. sacked the QB eight times in 2017.

More from Jacksonville Jaguars News

On the interior, the Jaguars showed their teeth as well. Malik Jackson also had eight sacks, and combined for 55 tackles along with Abry Jones.

Despite its strength, the weak link of the Jaguars defense halfway through the season was stopping the run. That was until the team traded for Marcell Dareus. Dareus plugged up running lanes, and took the defensive line to the next level.

What could happen for 2018

The defensive line produced massively in 2017, and the group, in almost its entirety, will have the chance to duplicate the success next season.

The starting four will return, as should Marcell Dareus. Dawuane Smoot will be back, and should see his role increase next season.

The Jaguars have the opportunity to pick up the fifth-year option on Dante Fowler this offseason, but the team may elect to just let Fowler play out the fourth-year on his contract.

The back-end of the group is where some guys could be trimmed. Eli Ankou showed some promise early in the season in 2017, but he and Carroll Phillips will have to fight for roster spots in training camp.

Previous Breakdowns


Running Back

Wide Receiver

Tight End

Offensive Line