Is the Jaguars pass rush still a concern after the Draft?
By David Levin
The Jacksonville Jaguars added Josh Allen to their defensive line last months. Is it enough to add a pass rush that lacks depth?
Even with the addition of rookie first-round pick Josh Allen, is there still a concern about the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive line in terms of its pass rush heading into the 2019 season?
Jacksonville got a gift when the Kentucky standout fell in their lap with the seventh pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. His speed and athleticism should have defensive coordinator Todd Wash salivating. But are he, Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue enough to not only keep opposing quarterbacks on the run but to give Jacksonville the kind of dominance on the edge the team enjoyed in 2017?
Allen gives Jacksonville an added dimension they lacked last season. But as you look at the roster on the defensive end position, after those three what else is left?
"“The Jaguars stayed relatively status quo here, with the major early offseason move working Campbell’s contract to ensure he will stay with the Jaguars at least another season,” John Oehser of Jaguars.com wrote."
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There is depth behind them, but not enough to strike fear in offensive coordinators should one of the trio suffers an injury or takes a play or two off. Lerentee McCray, Dawuane Smoot, Shane Bowman, and Lyndon Johnson are on the roster. McCray is a solid reserve and special teams player. Smoot is a third-round pick in 2017 who still has not shown much to talk about. Bowman and Johnson are just guys for now.
"“How important is pass rush and being strong up front to the Jaguars’ defense?,” Oehser added. “Pressure off the edge might be the biggest key to the team’s success or failure, and the Jaguars left no doubt about that when they selected Allen in the recent ’19 draft.”"
Jacksonville drafted Taven Bryan in the first round in 2018, but he was miscast as a pass rusher in a defensive tackle’s body. Once the team moved him inside from the big end position, he showed signs of improved play.
There will be plenty of eyes on Bryan this coming season now that the interior of the defensive line has changed. Without Malik Jackson and a rotation that also features Abry Jones and Marcell Dareus, Bryan does not figure to play in place of Campbell as once was hoped.
Also factored into the equation is how the Jaguars plan to use Allen, if at all, from the outside linebacker position. Now that Telvin Smith has decided he will not play this coming season, would the coaching staff move him around to play with his hand on the ground and standing up as a linebacker on certain passing downs?
"“Allen was ecstatic regarding his selection with the Jaguars, talking the next day of helping bring ‘Sacksonville 2.0’ to Jacksonville – and his 17 sacks as a senior indicate he could so just that,” Oehser wrote. “A concern at end before the draft was depth because the position looked relatively thin in terms of impact pass rusher after Ngakoue/Campbell.”"