How will the Jacksonville Jaguars defense look in 2020 and which players will have a breakout season?
Can they do it? As players on the Jacksonville Jaguars roster grow more eager to get back on the field instead of dealing with a virtual game plan, which players will step forward?
In terms of depth, Jacksonville has done a solid job of finding players this off-season through free agency and the NFL draft who make less team faster and younger. That doesn’t always mean it’s a winning formula, but based on the work done by the team’s front office, it would appear the game plan of changing the culture of this roster is almost complete.
That means several players may wind up fighting for a roster spot because there are so many new faces in camp.
Here are three players who are candidates for the breakout season, which would mean they keep their roster spot for the 2020 season.
This prediction should make my colleague Kathy Clark very happy. What if the former first-round pick and Florida Gator defensive lineman Taven Bryan puts it all together and has the best season of his career?
Bryan, who has been labeled a bust after only two years in the league, will get more reps inside this year at defensive tackle.
With the Jacksonville Jaguars moving part of the scheme to a 3-4 defense, does it mean Bryan will spend more time over the nose of the football?
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He did show signs of improvement in the second half of 2019 which makes me believe that he should have his best year in the Jaguars uniform. Whether that means he finally sheds the “bust” label is really up to him. Defensive coordinator Todd Wash is going to give him every opportunity to prove he is worthy of the lofty first-round status.
Once the Jaguars decided to trade A.J. Bouye to the Denver Broncos, the secondary became the property of Ronnie Harrison.
How will the third-year safety take the next step forward, and prove he is a Pro Bowl-caliber player on this defense? There is no doubt Harrison is one of the hardest hitting safeties in the league in the mold of Donovan Darius.
Harrison must learn to take a step forward and remain injury-free if he’s going to make a trip to Orlando this year. The Jacksonville Jaguars need him to continue to play with aggression.
Harrison is another in a long line of University of Alabama defensive backs who have the size and ability to change a game with a hit or an interception. Now in addition to his playmaking ability, he must take on more of a leadership role.
Will he be able to do that and maintain a higher level of excellence? The door is open for him to walk through to become the next in line of solid Jacksonville Jaguars defensive backs in team history.
Leon Jacobs appears to be the forgotten man when we talk about linebackers on this roster. A seventh-round pick out of Wisconsin two years ago he won the starting job in camp in 2018 but has suffered injuries the past two seasons which have halted his progress.
Jacob has the body of a Greek God it looks like he could run through a wall without any effect. He needs to learn to tackle better and be more aggressive in his coverage assignments. Because the Jacksonville Jaguars revamped the linebacking units in 2019 and 2020, I believe Jacob’s comes to training camp with a chip on his shoulder, knowing that he could be part of a numbers game.
It will be up to him to adjust to the new defensive scheme and play above what the coaching staff will ask of him. If he does that, it’s quite possible he will be able to push other players off the roster for this season.