A decidedly defensive draft for the Jacksonville Jaguars
By David Levin
While most experts are touting offensive help for the Jacksonville Jaguars, FanSided’s Rucker Haringey gives another take from the defensive perspective.
I’m still of the opinion that the Jacksonville Jaguars could shock everyone and take one of the best pass rushers on the board should one of them fall to the seventh pick in the NFL Draft next month. Evidently, I am not the only one who has this same belief.
Fansided’s Rucker Haringey gives his own take on the top five potential draft picks for this franchise, four of them being from the defensive side of the ball. This might not be a sexy pick that the fans here in Jacksonville will get behind given the team took Taven Bryan with the 29th pick last season out of Florida when quarterback Lamar Jackson and offensive lineman Will Hernandez were still on the board, but it does make some sense.
While the franchise has one of the best pass-rushing duos in the NFL, the lack of depth behind them is frightening.
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"“The biggest question the Jaguars front office needs to answer is what sort of pass rusher they really want to acquire,” he writes. “Interestingly, the team is pretty set at defensive end with Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue. The group can improve at defensive tackle and linebacker, though.”"
Of the five players Haringey talks about only one if on offense – tight end T.J. Hockenson from Iowa. He does not talk about another tackle to strengthen the offensive line of a big-play wide receiver like D.K. Metcalf from Ole Miss. He recognizes while it is not discussed, pass rush and depth at both defensive tackle and linebacker could be an issue if players go down with an injury.
The “I” word is something no one in Jacksonville wants to discuss after last season.
Quinnen Williams is the name I would look for closely, should the first few picks in the Draft are affected by the selection of quarterbacks. The former Alabama interior lineman is also a potential sack artist from the inside, racking up 18.5 tackles for loss last season.
"“Remember, the Jaguars cut Malik Jackson earlier this offseason and Marcell Dareus restructured his deal to allow him to extend his stay with the team one additional season,” Haringey wrote. “Unless the organization really believes in Abry Jones to step in and be a long-term starter at defensive tackle, they need to find a quality option in the draft.”"
Others on his short list include Rashan Gary of Michigan, who could wind up playing on the end instead of inside as he did from his days at Michigan. Because he can play both inside and outside is something the Jaguars may have to look at closely.
If the Jaguars are looking for another outside linebacker with size and speed, Josh Allen of Kentucky would be a “dream” pick as Haringey explained. There is very little chance of him falling that far to No. 7. The other intriguing possibility if Houston’s Ed Oliver, who at the beginning of the college football season was being touted as a potential top-5 pick.
There are some character issues, but he could be a real find for the team if they made this kind of move.
"“On the field, he’s someone who could solve the Jaguars’ issues at defensive tackle. He’s got excellent size and athleticism for the position,” Haringey wrote. “He’ll need to put on weight to hold up against the run in a 3-4, but his frame can easily hold additional pounds.”"