Before the season, there was real talk that Dawaune Smoot may not even make the Jaguars 53-man roster. The third-year pass rusher out of Illinois was searching for his place in the rotation and may have been one of the last players to make the team out of the preseason.
Smoot looked like a different player in 2019, collecting six sacks and showing more speed in the pass rush to chase down quarterbacks or disrupt plays. It was a big help given the Jaguars finished seventh in the league with 47 sacks.
Not bad for a defense that surrendered 24.8 points a game.
Smoot’s improvement from his first two seasons in the league should also mean he gets an increase in playing time next season as well. The Jaguars do not know if they will be able to retain Yannick Ngakoue, who just completed his rookie deal. If the former Maryland star walks in free agency, it opens the door for Smoot to step in and prove he can handle a more substantial role on defense.