Can rookie defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton crack the starting lineup this season for the Jacksonville Jaguars?
Many local media members challenged what the Jacksonville Jaguars did during free agency and the NFL Draft with a lack of attention paid to the offensive line. I personally voiced my displeasure over the fact the team did not do enough to the middle of the defensive line to help stop the pass rush.
The result of the offseason and the way the front office added missing pieces to the team’s fractured puzzle is the move to a 3-4 defense to help stop the run this season. It also means general manager David Caldwell and the front office will use a rotation of bigger bodies in the middle and more speed off the edge to help the pass rush this coming season.
It also means DaVon Hamilton, the Jacksonville Jaguars third-round draft pick in April, has a solid chance to make an impact immediately in the middle of all this change. A pure nose tackle who played football at Ohio State and was a nice grab on Day 2 will help defensive coordinator Todd Wash fix a major issue that plagued the team last season.
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Hamilton, who at 6-foot-4 and 320 pounds is an ideal space eater for the Jaguars. Veteran Abry Jones did not play well compared to seasons past. Taven Bryan is still searching for his place in the rotation. The Jaguars added Rodney Gunter and Al Woods in free agency. There are plenty of bodies to fill gaps in the rotation. It will take one or more players to step forward and seal the dam from leaking once again this season.
Randy Gurzi of NFL Spin Zone believes, as do I, that Hamilton will make an immediate impact on the team. While the Jaguars bypasses Javon Kinlaw in the first round, getting Hamilton, who was a solid performer in Columbus in the Big Ten is an under the radar move by Caldwell and his staff.
“Hamilton looks the part of the traditional one-technique tackle, a position that often gets overlooked. The reason for that is their lack of presence in the pass-rushing department, and Hamilton is no exception there,” Gurzi writes. “Considered a powerful player in run defense, Hamilton likely won’t provide many sacks, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be a star for the Jags.”
He doesn’t need to be a sack artist, just a player who knows his role on the team, applying pressure up the middle and stopping the run, which destroyed the defense last season.
The Jaguars made a concerted effort through the Draft to select defensive players who could potentially start from Day 1. C.J. Henderson of Florida, K’Lavon Chaisson of LSU, and Hamilton could do that if they have the kind of camp this summer that supplants veterans on the roster.
“With other players on the roster capable of getting after the passer, including Josh Allen and [K’Lavon] Chaisson, Hamilton will be asked to do what he does best — shut down the running lanes,” Gurzi adds. “He might not be a player who garners national attention but the Jaguars faithful will grow to love him quickly for what he brings to the table.”