Re-signing DE Dawuane Smoot was an underrated move by the Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars made an underrated move during the first wave of free agency when they decided to re-sign defensive end Dawuane Smoot. The Jaguars made a smart move by bringing back Smoot on a two-year deal. Over the past two seasons, Smoot has become increasingly valuable for the Jaguar’s defensive line. He was the team leader in sacks in 2020 and consistently put pressure on the opposing quarterbacks.
The Jaguars drafted Dawuane Smoot in the third round (68th overall) in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Illinois. Smoot made a huge impact for the Illini’s defense. He finished his college football career with 136 total tackles, 15.5 sacks, and 38.5 tackles for loss. He had the chance to declare for the 2016 NFL Draft but decided to stay in school. Ultimately, he became a third-round draft pick the following year.
Smoot’s first two seasons in the league were slow with minimal on-field production but he certainly took the learning experience to heart and has become a big part of the Jaguar’s defense.
Aside from his talent on the field, Smoot’s character is another leading example as to why a two-year deal was good for both sides. Despite the amount of adversity the Jaguars faced last season, Smoot kept a positive attitude.
In a press conference before the start of the season, Smoot discussed how despite losing men on the defense consistently over the last few years, they’ve always had the “next man up” mentality, are hungry hard-workers, and reload every day.
During the Jaguars week 10 match-up at Green Bay, despite coming off of their seventh consecutive loss, Smoot remained positive and continued to hype up his teammates. This kind of motivation is crucial when teams are struggling. The Jaguars had three very narrow losses against the Packers, Cleveland Browns, and Minnesota Vikings. It’s the kind of impact that Smoot’s leadership has that keeps the momentum going. Although the Jaguars suffered a disappointing 15-loss season, their effort never waned.