Jaguars 2019 OTAs: Three players to watch on defense
By David Levin
There are less than three weeks until the Jaguars begin OTAs at the practice fields of TIAA Bank Field. Here are three players to watch on defense.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are in the second phase of their voluntary offseason workout program with more players in the mix now that the team has gone through the NFL Draft, selecting seven players and signing 21 undrafted free agents to the roster.
The team is still adding depth in free agency and looking to get better in preparation for erasing what happened in 2018, a season full of promise yet lacked any kind of success. As the offense learns the new playbook and veterans and rookies alike transition from the offseason to getting ready for OTAs and minicamp, here are three players to pay close attention to in the next few weeks.
Taven Bryan – No player on defense is under the microscope more than Taven Bryan.
After a rookie season that was less than impressive in terms of productivity, Bryan must prove he is worthy of a starting position on the inside of the defensive line.
The Jaguars have Bryan and Abry Jones as part of their interior tackle rotation with Marcell Dareus. With the selection of Josh Allen, we could see Calais Campbell move inside more this season. Bryan’s development from Year 1 to Year 2 should be like night and day.
The jury is still out on whether he can play at a high level in the NFL.
Jake Ryan – Jake Ryan signed a free-agent contract with the Jaguars because of his connection to form a Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers. If Ryan is completely healed from an ACL injury he suffered in training camp last season in Green Bay which forced him to miss all of last year, then his signing might be one of the more underrated moves for the Jaguars this offseason.
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It also means that Ryan, who plays inside as a middle linebacker, could push Myles Jack back outside to his natural position.
Jaguars haven’t had solid play in the middle since Paul Posluszny retired. Even though this unit is still considered weak by some pundits because of a lack of depth, it is hoped that Ryan who is 27 years old, still has the ability to help stuff the run and cover running backs and tight ends across the middle.
Jarrod Wilson – Jarrod Wilson is currently one of the Jaguars starting safeties. The team will start two new players in the secondary for the first time in three seasons. Wilson earned a contract extension based on his play in 2018. Hopefully, it will carry over into 2019, where he will be tested early in the season.
The Jaguars did not address the position during the draft after Tom Coughlin stated it was and area the team might need to add it to last weekend.
Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye and Ronnie Harrison are the other three starters. They more than capable of playing at a high level for 16 weeks. If Person can come in and give the same kind of production that he did when called upon last year, the Jaguar should have one of the better secondaries in the NFL.