By adding defensive tackle Datone Jones on Tuesday, the Jacksonville Jaguars added depth along the defensive line. Can Jones be part of the team’s rotation?
Jones has a chance to make the roster to provide depth on the interior line. Jones is a former first-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2013 and has bounced around the league, making stops in Minnesota, Detroit, San Francisco, and Dallas. He spent the first four years of his NFL career with the Packers.
He played at UCLA before being drafted.
The Jaguars interior defensive line does look different this season after the team parted ways with Malik Jackson because of financial reasons. Jacksonville drafted Taven Bryan 29th overall last season out of Florida. The second-year pro spent time at both right defensive end and inside, sharing time with Jackson and Abry Jones as part of the rotation. Bryan is competing for the starting spot with Jones this season next to Marcell Dareus.
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"Per the story on Jaguars.com, “He tallied a career-high in tackles (27) during his second season in Green Bay in 2014, while combining for 9.0 sacks during his four-year stint with the team.”"
I’m curious to see how this unit works this coming season, give the changes we spoke of. Will the team also use defensive end Calais Campbell at the three-technique, which will allow rookie edge rusher, Josh Allen, to see more time on the field. How do rookie seventh-round pick Dontavius Russell and veteran Eli Ankou factor in the rotation this season?
In his offseason analysis, Jaguars.com senior writer John Oehser wrote this is a unit that bears watching during OTA and training camp.
"“This is a critical position to watch this offseason – and that has little to do with newcomers and everything to do with what already ready on the roster,” he added. “An area of strength two seasons ago, defensive tackle dropped off in terms of production because 2017 Pro Bowl selection Malik Jackson went from 8.0 sacks that season to 3.5 last season.”"
Bryan did show more promise working inside than he did at the end position and continued to show progress in the second half of 2018. Jones is the most-tenured player on the roster and figures to be a big part of what defensive coordinator Todd Wash has planned for this coming season. Dareus is the team’s best run defender.
"“The key for this season: the development of Bryan, who must take a Year 2 step up in production and reliability,” Oehser wrote. “The Jaguars’ first-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, Bryan played 16 games as a rookie with one start and improved in the second half of the season after struggling to acclimate to the NFL early in the season.”"